Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two pie? Aye!

A potluck at a friend's apartment and a gift sent from Florida provided an excellent opportunity for not one, but two desserts.

The goat cheese cheesecake is something I've been wanting to make for a long time. In its original incarnation, it involved a peach and thyme filling, but peach season has given way to apple season while I was trying to find an opportunity to make it. I also wanted to sweeten this with honey, but I wanted to go by the original recipe first until I had a better idea of what the viscosity would be. This was rather runny as-is, so if it had been sweetened with honey instead of sugar, I'm sure the baking time would have had to be significantly increased. But oh, boy, would that have been delicious.

Turning from autumn to summer, we have a key lime meringue pie, thanks to the parents of a dear friend from high school. They sent us a wedding gift of miniature ceramic pie plates, key limes, condensed milk, and a recipe for key lime meringue pie. How could I resist?

Apple nutmeg goat cheesecake for those without a springform pan, adapted from Food and Wine
Double the recipe (except for the goat cheese; the original called for 11 oz) if you have a springform pan.

1 prebaked crust of your choice in a pie pan (I used graham cracker, but I bet a flaky, buttery pastry crust would be amazing)
6 oz goat cheese, the good stuff
3 eggs, separated
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon juice plus 1/4 tsp lemon juice
1/4 to 1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar (or honey, if you're brave)
1 1/2 tablespoons flour
1 large, tart baking apple, of the sort that mostly breaks down when cooked
2 tsp butter

Peel the apple and slice it thinly. Melt the butter in a pan and add the apple, a pinch of salt, nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat until a chunky paste is formed. Set aside to cool, and set the oven to preheat at 350 F. Beat the goat cheese with the egg yolks, vanilla, lemon juice and zest, and sugar until it's very smooth. Stir in the flour until just incorporated. With clean beaters, beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry. Stir a third of the egg whites into the goat cheese mixture, then gently fold in the rest. Pour about half the filling into the pie crust. Layer the apple paste on top as evenly as you can, and pour the rest of the filling on top. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes (I know, it's a big span of time, but my oven is weird and should not be trusted), until the filling is set and a knife inserted into the middle of the cheesecake comes out clean but moist. Cool to at least room temperature before serving sprinkled with nutmeg.

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