This dessert was absolutely fabulous. As a parfait. As a cheesecake, well it was very runny. And when life hands you a fabulous tasting but flawed cheesecake, you make parfait.
Not really sure what happened, I am no cheesecake expert. I have a theory as to why it cracked (see note in recipe re: not overbeating the eggs) but I have no idea why it did not bake through. But here’s the thing, it really does not matter. This recipe is a win-win situation. If it comes out baked through served it sliced with a dollop of whipped cream. If you have trouble getting it to bake through, as I did, turn it into a parfait, layering it with whipped cream.
Either way you will not be sorry.
This has the smooth, creamy richness of cheesecake meshed with the tart, refreshing zing of key lime pie or lemon meringue pie. It is seriously lemon, which is why layering it with the whipped cream works so well.
I recommend being prepared to bake an extra crust for layering in the parfait because the crust is outstanding. And speaking of the crust, while I always love a graham cracker crust and would never argue against one, if you have kids you might try what I did and make the crust out of animal crackers. Absolutely freakin’ fantastic.
Lemon Goat-Cheese Cheesecake… Parfait?
Adapted from Luscious Lemon Desserts, Lori Longbotham
1 1/2 cups animal cracker crumbs (or graham cracker)
6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup finely grated lemon zest
1 1/2 lbs mild goat cheese
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
8 large eggs, room temperature
Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Butter the bottom and side of a 9 inch springform pan. Have a roasting pan ready and put a kettle of water on to boil.
Stir the crumbs and the butter together with a fork until well combined. Press into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake until golden and set, 8-10 minutes. Let cool on a cooling rack and reduce the oven to 325 F.
Process the sugar and the lemon zest until the zest is finely ground. Set aside.
Beat the goat cheese and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and completely combined, and then beat until light and fluffy on medium high speed. Reduce the speed to medium and add the sugar mixture and lemon juice and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs one at a time; mix on low to medium low after each addition but do not overbeat.
Wrap the outside of the springform pan with heavy duty aluminum foil. Pour the filling into the pan and place the pan in the roasting pan. place the roasting pan in the oven. Cover the oven window with a towel (if there is one) and carefully pour the boiling water into the roasting pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake for 90-100 minutes, until the center is almost set but still slightly jiggly. When the cheesecake is done, turn off the oven and leave the door ajar to cool down. After 20 minutes, remove the cheesecake to a cooling rack. Cool completely and then cover loosely and chill for at least 8 hours.
Run a table knife around the inside edge of the pan and remove the sides of the pan. Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. Slice into a wedge and discover if you have cheesecake… or cheesecake parfait!
If you have cheesecake parfait, get individual glasses and layer the dessert, starting with cheesecake and alternating with slightly sweetened whipped cream. Be sure to insert some layers of that delectable crust!
One other piece of advice: my mom suggested turning this into 2 smaller cheesecakes to ensure baking through.