So often, the very best things I come up with are not what I intended to make at all. They’re usually offshoots of things that didn’t quite work, or I didn’t like, or were in some other way terribly misguided. Kind of like my life. This cheesecake evolved in much the same way. I’ll spare you the backstory. Suffice it to say that I had a lot of soft cheese that I needed to figure out something to do with.
These little cheesecakes make use of two of my favorite local ingredients: goat cheese from Westfield Farm in Hubbardston and Bonnie’s Jams out of Cambridge. They’re more reminiscent of thick, New York-style cheesecakes than creamy, custardy cheesepies. Dense, sturdy, and rich, the same way I like my men. Just kidding. The tangy goat cheese gives them lots of character. Don’t you just love the way the fruit spills over and stains the exposed walls? (If you reject this one, Tastespotting, you’re dead to me.)
This is a good occasion to show off any of your own preserved berries you may have hiding away, preferably something on the tart side. But, if you don’t know your gelatin from your pectin, fear not. Bonnie’s fruit preserves are pretty much better than anything I could ever make. I don’t really even understand how anything out of jar can taste that good, but I’m very glad it’s possible. What you see up there are blackberry preserves, although the blueberry and lemon would also be nice. I’ve always felt her jars were a little too pricey just to spread on toast. They’re more like dessert fare. In fact, if I do say so myself, this may be the perfect use for them.
Little Goat Cheesecakes with Blackberry Compote
I get the impression that cheesecake is considered passé, but I will never tire of it. NEVER.
1 cup graham cracker crumbs or 9 graham crackers, pulverized
5 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 8-oz. packages cream cheese
10 oz. goat cheese
½ cup sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
Blackberry preserves (or whatever else you fancy)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix butter with graham cracker crumbs until well moistened. Grease one of those mini-cheesecake pans and press crumb mixture into the bottoms only. You could also use muffin tins. Or, if you don’t have the former and you don’t feel like washing the latter, you could use a set of biscuit cutters of varying sizes set on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Your call. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool.
Cut cream cheese into chunks and nuke them until they soften (maybe 3-4 minutes on medium). Crumble in goat cheese and add sugar, honey, and eggs. Whip until smooth. You can use a mixer or, if the cream cheese is warm enough, just do it with a whisk. Spoon into forms and bake about 20 minutes or until centers are set and just starting to crack. Let cool and refrigerate. Carefully remove from forms and serve with Bonnie’s blackberry preserves. Makes 9 to 12 depending on size.