This month I teamed up with my friend Elizabeth to share another sweet treat for our One Last Bite series. As usual, she hit it out of the park–this is exactly why I eat healthy so I can enjoy decadent, seasonally inspired desserts like this without guilt. Keep reading for her inspiration and the recipe for one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had!
There’s no denying it—knee-high socks weather has arrived and you can’t go anywhere without seeing a billion pumpkin-flavored foods. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin cream cheese, pumpkin soup, and even pumpkin beer. Since when did pumpkin become the be-all and end-all of fall cuisine? Has everyone forgotten about the many other wonderful flavors of the season? When I feel the first hint of chill in the air, I want the spice of ginger snaps. I want cinnamon toast with a thin smear of goat cheese and pear jam. I want warm roasted spiced nuts wrapped in a paper cone.
This recipe brings together all of my favorite fall flavors—along with a surprise or two. The creamy goat cheese in this cheesecake provides the slightest tang, which balances well with the sweetness of the pears and the hint of burnt-sugar from the agave nectar drizzle. For the crust, I highly recommend Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps, which contain bits of spicy candied ginger. And the pistachio crumble adds depth of flavor and a pleasant crunch. Step aside pumpkin-flavored everything. This is how fall is supposed to taste. Enjoy!
Goat Cheese and Gingersnap Cheesecake with Pistachio Crumble
Adapted from Spoon Fork Bacon
1.5 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (recommended: Trader Joe’s Triple Ginger Snaps)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
20 ounces goat cheese, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup sugar
8 ounces Greek yogurt (any fat content is fine)
1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
Anjou pear, sliced thin (drizzled with lemon juice to prevent browning)
Pistachio crumble (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350˚ F. In a mixing bowl, combine crumbs and butter and stir until fully incorporated. Line an 8” cake pan with parchment paper and very lightly grease pan. Add crust mixture and press evenly into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Place goat cheese, cream cheese and sugar into a mixing bowl and beat with an electric or stand mixer until well combined. Scrape down sides of bowl an add yogurt until just combined. With beaters running add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla and beat until no lumps remain. Pour filling over crust and smooth the top with a rubber or angled spatula.
Place the cake pan in the middle of an empty roasting pan and place on the center rack of the oven. Slowly pour warm/hot water into the bottom of the roasting pan, being careful to avoid allowing any splashes or drips into the cake pan, until the water reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan. Bake cheesecake for 45 to 55 minutes or until center is still slightly wobbly.
Carefully remove the cake pan from the oven and the water bath and allow cheesecake to cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Run a knife along the edge of the pan to ensure cheesecake doesn’t stick to the sides. Allow cheesecake to cool for an hour. Place cheesecake in the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 6 hours.
Once cheesecake has completely chilled, run a knife along the edge again. With a platter ready, place a clean plate or cake board over the top of the cheesecake and pan and quickly invert it. Tap the bottom of the cake pan to ensure nothing is sticking. Remove pan and replace with a platter before quickly and carefully turning the cheesecake onto the platter and removing the plate or cake board from the surface (the removal process should take no more than 30 seconds). Garnish with sliced pears, a drizzle of agave nectar, and pistachio crumble.
1/2 cup salted, roasted pistachios
1 cup flour
1/2 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup brown sugar
Preheat oven to 400˚ F. Place the pistachios in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the food processor until the pistachios are coarsely chopped. Place the chopped pistachios in a bowl and set aside. Add flour, butter and brown sugar to the processor and pulse until it forms a crumble mixture that sticks together in large clumps. Add the chopped pistachios to the mixture and pulse the processor just until mixed.
Spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes or until it has browned, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t burn. If the crumble near the outside edges of the pan seem to be baking more quickly than in the center, use a spatula to redistribute the crumble over the pan after it has baked for 5 minutes. Allow to cool on the pan. The crumble will become more crunchy once it has cooled completely.
Recipe by Elizabeth Ansfield / Photos by Lauren Craig