Fresh goats-cheese cake
- 200g fresh goats curd or substitute ricotta or cottage cheese
- 1 lemon
- 50g sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 eggs, lightly beaten
- 75g unsalted butter, softened but not melted
- pinch salt
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup self raising flour
- 1 teaspoon orange blossom water, optional
- 3 tablespoons ground almonds, optional
- 2 - 3 sheets puff pastry, optional
- whipped cream or thick yoghurt, to serve
This recipe is based on cheesecake recipes from the early 1800s, but is inspired by William Howitt, who wasn't to be deterred by conditions in the goldfields in 1853: if he couldn't find ingredients that English cookbooks called for, he'd improvise. Many colonists kept a she-goat for a ready supply of milk, so cheesecakes were one dessert that could be whipped up as needed.
The original cheesecake recipes ask you to make your own curd or ricotta-like cheese but you might prefer to buy ready-made goats' curd from good delicatessens or farmers' markets. You can use this mixture to make individual cheesecakes in pastry, or in one dish, like a pie.
|Place cheese in a fine sieve over a bowl and allow excess liquid to to drain away.
Boil whole lemon in a small saucepan with enough water to just cover. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered with a lid, for 20 minutes or until the lemon is soft and the skin becomes opaque. Remove lemon from pot and set aside to cool. Once cooled, cut lemon in half, trim ends, squeeze out and discard the pulpy flesh and seeds. If the lemon was thick-skinned, scrape away excess pith.
|Preheat oven to 180°C. Place lemon skin in a food processor with sugar, yolks, beaten egg, butter, salt and orange flower water if using. Process until smooth and well combined. Add goats cheese and nutmeg and pulse through until just combined. Transfer to a mixing bowl and gently fold flour through.
|Butter a ceramic pie or baking dish, pour or spoon the batter into the dish. Cooking time will vary depending on the size and depth of your dish, but check after 30-40 minutes for full size. The cheesecake will have puffed up and the surface should bounce back when pressed lightly in the centre. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the dish, then refrigerate to set fully.
Serve cold, sliced as you would a pie or cake, with a dollop of whipped cream or thick yoghurt.
For individual pies, butter a mini muffin pan or line with puff pastry leaving a 2-mm 'collar' around the edges, spoon mixture into cavities and bake for 15 minutes until pastry is puffed and golden and cheesecakes are golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool before refrigerating.
Keep in fridge, covered with cling film for up to 4 days.
|COOK'S TIP: use the 3 remaining egg whites to make meringues or apple snow.