If you've been to Foreign Cinema (and of course you have), there's a sweet chance you've at least tasted the famous chèvre cheesecake.
The restaurant's best-selling dessert is unlike any cheesecake you've had elsewhere, airy and cloudlike as compared to the ubiquitous New York style. It's deliciously rich and mildly tart, and acts as a canvas to showcase the bounty of each new season: In autumn, the chefs accent the dish with sliced persimmons, figs and pomegranate seeds; in winter you'll find macerated pineapple pieces and diced fresh mango. But there's nothing to rival summer berries, so we suggest making this seasonal twist with this season's excellent strawberries or sliced stone fruit—or both!
Foreign Cinema's Chèvre Cheesecake With Seasonal Fruit and Oat Crumble
Serves 8 to 10
Graham Cracker Crust:
Yields 2 cups
1 ¾ cups graham cracker crumbs, about 12 crackers
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 cups cream cheese
1 cup goat cheese
½ cup crème fraiche (or substitute sour cream)
2 large eggs
2 cups sugar
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
1/2 cup Oat Crumble (see recipe below)
2 cups of fresh fruit sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F and position a rack in the center. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with foil. (This will prevent the crust from getting soggy when it bakes in the water bath.)
2. Make the graham cracker crust. In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers with the sugar and salt until finely ground. Add the melted butter and pulse again until the crumbs are evenly coated and the texture of coarse wet sand.
3. Press the crumbs into an even layer into the bottom and up the sides of the pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup to pack it down and smooth out the surface. (Make sure the crust is tight and compact to prevent from crumbling.)
4. Place the springform pan on top of a cookie sheet and bake until the crust is lightly golden brown around the edges, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool in the pan slightly.
5. While the crust is baking, make the cheesecake filling. In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, blend the cream cheese, goat cheese, crème fraiche, eggs, sugar, salt, and lemon juice on medium speed, occasionally scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, just until smooth, about four minutes. (Be careful not to over mix or the filling will be too airy and have a greater risk of cracking on top).
6. To bake the cheesecake, place the foiled-lined springform pan in a roasting pan large enough to hold it. Grease the bottom and edges of the pan liberally with a few tablespoons of butter. Pour the filling into the crust, spreading evenly with a spatula. Pour enough hot tap water into the roasting pan to reach halfway up the side of the springform (this will help the cake to cook evenly and prevent cracking on top). Bake until the edges are set and the center is almost set (it will still be a little wiggly only in the center), about 90 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath and let cool for one hour at room temperature, then refrigerate for at least four hours.
7. When you're ready to serve, run a paring knife around the perimeter and release the sides to remove the cake from pan. Place the cake on a serving plate and slice into individual servings. Garnish with seasonal fruit of your choosing and a sprinkle of the oat crumble, or go naked.
Make ahead: For easier assembly, make some or all of the components ahead. The graham cracker mixture can be refrigerated up to a week in advance; bring to room temperature before pressing it into the pan. The filling can be made three to five days ahead and refrigerated in an airtight container; let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before filling and baking the cheesecake.
This recipe yields more than you'll need to garnish the cheesecake, but the surplus can be used as a topping to make a quick dessert crumble needed in a pinch. Simply top macerated fruit in a casserole dish with the raw crumble, bake at 350˚F until bubbly, and serve with ice cream.
(Yields 1 ½ cups)
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats (not instant)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch of kosher salt
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small cubes
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F and position the rack in the center.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, oats, brown and granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt and stir together briefly with your hands until combined.
3. Spread out evenly on a parchment-lined rimmed cookie sheet. Evenly place the cubes of butter over the crumbs and bake for 10 minutes.
4. Remove from the oven, stir the crumble with a rubber spatula to ensure even browning and distribution of butter, and then bake for another 10 minutes.
5. Repeat this process one more time, for a total of 30 minutes. The crumble should be golden brown and smell nutty and of caramel.