Celebrate with Cheesecake


On the first night of Chanukah, the family always gets together at our home for a special evening. We enjoy lighting the Chanukah candles, eating traditional foods and exchanging gifts.

Dessert is always a highlight of the evening, and this year for Chanukah, I am going to surprise everybody with a special cheesecake. I discovered the recipe on a recent trip to the wine country when we visited the Redwood Hill Goat Farm near Sonoma. After touring the goat farm, we attended a cooking class where the focus was cooking with goat cheese.

The dessert that was prepared for the class was a cheesecake using goat cheese in place of the usual cream cheese. Not overly sweet, the texture was cake-like, rather than the traditional creamy version I usually make. Although the original recipe did not have a crust, I chose to create one using finely ground granola.

Before serving, sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with an orange juice syrup. It is the perfect dessert for a dairy dinner, great as a breakfast treat, or to serve friends that visit during the eight days of Chanukah.

Goat Cheese Cake with Granola Crumb Crust

  • 3/4 pound (soft) goat cheese (room temperature)
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Orange Juice Syrup

Prepare the Granola Crumble Crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend the goat cheese with 3/4 cup of sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, incorporating each one completely before adding the next.

Turn the mixer to low and beat in the flour.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until firm. Fold one-third of the egg whites into the cheese mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake is deep golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes. (Do not underbake.) Cool for 15 minutes on a rack.

Remove cake from the pan and cool completely. Serves 8 to 10.

Granola Crumb Crust

  • 1 1/2 cups granola
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the granola and sugar in a food processor and blend until fine crumbs. Add butter and blend until mixture comes away from the sides of the bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom of a lightly greased 9-inch spring form mold.

Bake for about six minutes, or until crust is golden brown. Cool before filling.

Orange Juice Syrup

  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup sugar

In a saucepan, combine the orange juice, lemon juice, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves, and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until thick. Cool.

The New Year Giving Tree


Lady Apple Cordials (serves 18)

18 Lady Apples (or other variety of small apple)
18 cubes of brown sugar, or more Scrub each apple until clean and residue-free. With the small end of a melon scoop,
remove the stem and seeds of the apple, being careful not to scoop through the bottom of the fruit.

If you like, with a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, peel away a narrow border of skin around
the round opening. Insert a cube or two of brown sugar into the hollow of each apple. Place the
apples into a shallow casserole dish and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. The apples
should be soft to the touch, yet still retain their form.
Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Apple Kuchen (serves 12)

1 prebaked 9-inch pie crust, or 10-inch tart crust
1 pound cored, sliced apples

Filling:
1 jumbo egg
1/3 cup sour cream or Tofutti sour cream
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar