Lemon (Goat Cheese) Cheesecake

I hope you’re not too disappointed to see me post a dessert.  Let's admit it, life wouldn’t be fun without the a little indulgence.  For most of my adult life I avoided baking.  Don’t misunderstand, I would still partake in the occasional dessert, either store-bought or lovingly prepare by a family member.  However, as I became more health-conscious I wanted to ensure that the desserts I and my family ate were made of the best quality ingredients possible, without partially hydrogenated oils, processed sugars, and artificial colors or flavors, which are commonly found in commercially-prepared desserts.  Even though I still don’t bake on a regular basis, I have learned to make a handful of (relatively healthy and most importantly) delicious desserts.  Normally I try to avoid using wheat and/or flour.  On the rare occasion that I do, I opt for organic spelt flour.  Spelt is an ancient grain which, unlike modern wheat, remains pure of cross-breeding, hybridization and genetic modification.

You will soon notice that some of my favorite desserts are made with some type of cheese.  My only hesitation with the majority of the cheese-based recipes I encounter is that they call for cream cheese, which I am not a fan of.  I do happen to love goat cheese, so when I came across this recipe I had to try it.

This wonderful recipe is adapted from Paris to Provence.  I modified the recipe to meet my personal preferences.  I cut the sugar in half, made my own gluten-free crust and separated the eggs in order to produce a more delicate texture.  If you have a trusted crust recipe of your own, use it instead.  You can even omit the crust altogether.  Also if you prefer a denser cake, do not separate the eggs.

Crust
1 cup almond flour or almond meal
1 cup cashew meal
2 Tbsp. butter (room temperature)
1 egg

Filling
15 oz. soft goat cheese
16 oz. mascarpone
3 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
4 large eggs (separated)
½ cup sugar (organic, unrefined)
½ tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F. 

To make the crust, combine the almond flour, cashew meal, butter and egg in large bowl and mix well.  Place the crust dough in the center of a 9 or 10 inch spring-form pan.  Using your fingertips, gently press the dough evenly over the bottom and two-thirds up the sides of the pan.  Bake the crust for about 15 minutes. 

In the meantime, process the goat cheese, mascarpone, lemon zest, 4 yolks, sugar, and salt in a food processor (or with a hand mixer) until smooth and creamy.  Whisk 4 eggs whites with a mixer until they form peaks, then fold into the cheese mixture. 

Pour the filling into the crust and bake until the top springs back when lightly pressed with a fingertip, about 1 hour.  Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature or transfer to the refrigerator to cool for at least 1 hour.  When completely cool, release the sides of the spring-form pan and transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate.  Cut into slices and serve chilled or at room temperature.