Ben the Baker

Just a guy trying to get his kids to eat

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Lemon-Chevre Cheescake

Posted by osakaben41 on March 1, 2010

(Updated below)

One of the first ‘high end’ restaurants my wife and I tried in Boston, Rialto, stood out for two reasons.  It was her introduction to how good a well built martini could taste, and I discovered goat-cheese cheesecake.  Many years then pass before Helen at Tartelette casually throws one out there, bringing me right back to that night.  The other night some friends – for us, they happened to be big fans of all things lemon, so really what choice did I actually have?  What a perfect thank you gift.To put my own spin on it though I wanted to get away from the standard graham cracker crust.    Some time ago I made a quince crumble from Charlie Trotter’s Desserts, that called for a really interesting cornmeal-thyme topping.  With a little more sugar this time, I made the topping and used it in place of the crushed graham crackers called for.  The base brought something much more than just sweetness.  The toasted corn with thyme works great with apples and quince, and could overpower the plate here, if it weren’t just a thin crust.

At the same time, while shopping this afternoon I found kumquats, which had been unobtainable in Boston  just a few weeks ago.  As these things often work out, a fellow daring baker put together an amazing candied kumquat tiramisu.  With all deference to “Baking Obsession” and to take place of Helen’s blood orange sauce, I borrowed her Kumquat recipe for a garnish.

The chevre I used may have been a bit mild, but it still comes through as an extremely creamy cake, with just a hint of a bite sneaking up on you.  Perhaps next time I’d use something a bit stronger, maybe add some chopped pistachios either to the crust or pressed to the sides.

Lastly, just to play around, I need soon to try out a different plating style that seems to be all the rage these days.  (seriously, click through some of those links to be blown away).  LemonPi suggested starting with the masters at El Bulli, which means more books to buy (oh drats).  This just seems like a departure from a symmetrical, singular focus with supporting elements approach.  So much is going on with these plates, it’s just so much more exciting.  To do it right though, you seem to need multiple multiple components.  Check out this video at Playing with fire and water for an example of a gloriously extreme example.


Had some extra cake reserved in a hemisphere mold that I wanted to play with.  Call it a baby-step in this new direction, but here’s an attempt at something less symmetrical.

…and one taken just for scale.

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