Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quick and Easy Chevre Cheesecake

Things are finally starting to wind down on ye olde farm for the season. Our does are nearly dried off - hallelujah! - but in the mean time, we're still getting a few quarts of milk each week. Between the milk, and eggs that we're getting from our hens (who are all in ultra-high gear and laying like maniacs), I've been desperate to find ways to use my abundance of dairy and eggs. What luck, then, that I should have stumbled upon a recipe for a Fresh Goat Cheese Cake that, in addition to using more than an half-pound of chèvre, also calls for a half-dozen eggs per cake. Bingo!

You can absolutely use store-bought goat cheese for this recipe, but in the event that you, too, are swimming in goat milk, and want to go full-on Martha Stewart about it and make your own goat cheese for your cake, it just so happens that I wrote up a homemade chèvre how-to for just last week. Crazy how these things come together... ;)

Either way - try this cake! It is so much simpler than any other cheesecake that I've ever made and would work equally well as a sweet or savory dish. I'm working on figuring out a spinach, artichoke, tomato version and will post it here if I ever get it hammered out to my liking.

Anyway - get cooking and enjoy!

Fresh Chèvre Cheesecake-

Adapted from Goat Cheese Cake with Mixed Berries by Emily Luchetti

•11 ounces chèvre (or other mild, fresh goat cheese), allowed to come to room temperature
•¾ cup granulated sugar
•1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
•1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
•1 teaspoon real vanilla extract (or as is my preference, vanilla infused bourbon)
•6 large eggs, separated*
•3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter a 9-inch cake pan, then dust with granulated sugar.

In a medium bowl, combine the goat cheese with the granulated sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla extract, and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the egg yolks, 2 at a time, incorporating them completely before adding the next two. Lastly, add the flour, beating it into the cheese mixture at low speed.

In another bowl, and with clean beaters, whip the 6 egg whites until firm, but not dry (firm peaks that are smooth, not lumpy).

Fold 1/3 of the beaten whites into the cheese mixture at a time, taking time to incorporate the eggs well before adding additional whites.

Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for about 40 minutes. (I began checking mine at 3-4 minute intervals after the 32nd minute, just to avoid overcooking.)

Remove after 40 minutes, or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool, dress with a topping of your choosing and serve. Enjoy!

Instead of the berry topping suggested in the original recipe, I used what I had an abundance of on hand at the time – apples. I peeled, cored and sliced three apples into eighths and stewed them with brown sugar, butter, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and still more of that lovely vanilla infused bourbon. The resulting topping was a little soggier than I’d aimed for, but the taste was pure Autumn apple goodness.

*If you are using homegrown eggs like I do, you may opt to measure your eggs by weight rather than by number. Since they are not cookie-cutter factory farm produced eggs that all look and weigh the same, there will be more variance in size and weight. You should aim for about 2 ounces (in-shell weight) per large egg called for in your recipe.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Pictures of a Passel of Peeping Peepers

This is what they look like 80% of the time. Spazzes.

One of our 3 naked neck frizzles (in the middle of the pack).

A Frizzled Polish/Turken and a Polish/Americauna, giving me the eye.

Liza Minnelli and Sir Fluffernutter :)

Twenty-six babies. Twenty-six babies who have just learned that pecking the side of the metal trough that is their home makes an interesting noise. Two and three a.m. are apparently prime time for these contagious experiments, which makes for strange dreams filled with pings and tweets that swell and fall silent in near-perfect unison every 20 minutes to half an hour. Mama bird can't wait until these babies leave her nest.