Monday, July 2, 2012

Raspberry-Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache Topping

Raspberry-Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache Topping
Hey y'all, whacha doing? Getting ready for the 4th of July (aka the best holiday ever, besides Christmas, Thanksgiving, St. Patty's Day, and well okay, all holidays are amazing). But the Fourth goes down in my book as my absolute favorite. I don't know what it is about it, maybe the combination of grillin' out, banana pudding, peach cobbler, caloric Southern food, fireworks + sparklers, those firecracker popsicles that I was obsessed with as a child, block parties, shrimp boils, beach bummin', going to the lake, loud country music, getting drunk having fun with my best friends, red-white-and-blue colored desserts, ice cold arnold palmers, dancin' the night away, baseball games... well, as you can see the list goes on & on. Now, onto the recipe. Remember that time I made those goat cheese brownies and they were absolutely delicious. Well, I made another goat cheese dessert. This time it was a cheesecake. I saw this recipe on last week's "The Best Thing I Ever Made" on the Food Network. It was all about cheese and Anne Burrell was raving about this goat cheese cheesecake she had made. So, I happened to have a bunch of goat cheese around and ended up making her cheesecake. I decided to use a chocolate cookie crust instead of the traditional graham cracker crust, add some fresh raspberries, and spread on a thick layer of dark chocolate ganache as a topping. It is an odd & quirky combination, but it totally works. Given, I have a mild obsession with goat cheese, so if you are not a goat cheese fan, then definitely don't make this. You will absolutely hate it. This cheesecake is light yet creamy, tangy but sweet, and rich but refreshing. It's a truly decadent dessert that I know we will make again & again!! Enjoy :)
A Slice of Raspberry-Goat Cheese Cheesecake with Chocolate Ganache Topping 
Look at them raspberries :)
yummy chocolate crust + chocolate ganache topping
Always top with some fresh raspberries!!
For the Chocolate Cookie Crust:
6T Unsalted Butter, Melted
2C Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
¼C Sugar
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Espresso Powder

For the Raspberry-Goat Cheese Cheesecake:
2 8oz Packages of Cream Cheese, Room Temperature
12oz Goat Cheese
1 ½C Sour Cream
4 Large Eggs
1 ½C Sugar
2t Vanilla
1-2C Fresh Raspberries

For the Chocolate Ganache Topping:
1C Dark Chocolate Chunks
½C Heavy Cream

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9inch springform pan with Pam. Set it aside.
2. For the Chocolate Cookie Crust: Place the cookie crumbs, sugar, salt, and espresso powder in a mixing bowl. Stir in the melted butter until well combined. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, packing it tightly and evenly. Bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Cool on a rack, and then wrap the outside of the spring form pan with foil and place in a roasting pan.  Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Meanwhile, make the goat cheese cheesecake filling.
3. For the Raspberry-Goat Cheese Cheesecake Filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese together until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream and continue beating until combined. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in each until thoroughly mixed before adding the next one. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and push the raspberries down into the cheesecake. Gently place the cheesecake into the roasting pan that is in the oven and pour the boiling water into the roasting pans until it comes about halfway up the side of the spring form pan. Bake for 30 minutes, and then rotate the baking sheet and bake until the filling is set, another 25 to 30 minutes. If the filling starts to color, tent the pan with aluminum foil. Remove the cake from the oven and run a knife along the outside edges to loosen cheesecake from sides of pan. Let the cheesecake cool at room temperature for at least 3-4 hours. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight.
4. For the Chocolate Ganache Topping: In a small saucepan, bring the heavy cream just to a boil.  Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until smooth.  Pour the ganache over the top of the cooled cheesecake, smoothing with a spoon and allowing some of the ganache to drip over the sides of the cheesecake.  Return to the fridge to chill an additional 3 hours or until the ganache is shiny and set.

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