Monday, February 27, 2012

Savory Cheesecake with Chèvre and Gremolata for #baketogether

Savory Cheesecake with Chève and Gremolata

When an idea won’t go away, it’s time to preheat the oven. This Savory Cheesecake with Chévre and Gremolata is a recipe I could not get out of my head.

A ripple of gremolata (lemon, parsley, garlic) runs through the lemony filling, making a fine choice for first course or as a party appetizer.

A ripple runs through it: preserved lemon, sautéed garlic, parsley, and capers.

It’s my second cheesecake for Abby Dodge’s February #baketogether, the first being sweet, with pumpkin and blackberry flavors.

As I considered ways to adapt Abby’s original recipe, I wanted to use ingredients that I keep on hand so the recipe would become one that I could turn to without much effort. I kept thinking of that jar of preserved Meyer lemon and its lively citrus flavor and how nicely it would complement the tangy goat cheese.

And I thought of parsley for color and flavor. If we don’t have parsley on hand, things get ugly. It’s the primary component of a happy and healthy house rabbit’s diet. We go through a lot of parsley here.

With lemon and parsley in place, garlic arrived. While a traditional gremolata uses raw garlic, I knew that wouldn’t do for this application. I gave the garlic a short sauté to tame its bite and soften the slices. Finally I added a few crushed capers for more salty brightness.

The crust met with less success. I used a combination of matzo meal and cornmeal, which resulted in a too-tender crust that crumbled all over the place. I’ll do a little research for next time.

Here’s a summary of my adaptations to the original recipe:
• omitted sugar and vanilla
• added soft goat cheese
• adjusted quantities of cream cheese
• added the gremolata ingredients of lemon, parsley, garlic and capers
• omitted the sweet crust

Thanks again, Abby, for organizing #baketogether. It’s creative problem-solving with tasty rewards.

Savory Cheesecake with Chèvre and Gremolata
Adapted from Abby Dodge
For the filling:
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
8 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Good pinch of table salt
3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons preserved lemon, finely chopped

For the gremolata:
1 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/3 cup preserved lemon, finely chopped
3 to 4 (or more) garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon capers, drained and crushed

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

For the garnish:
zest from one lemon
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil

One 9-inch savory cheesecake crust, made using your own favorite recipe

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.
To make the gremolata:
Gently sauté the garlic in olive oil over medium heat until it becomes fragrant and slightly tender. Remove from heat. Add crushed capers, preserved lemon, salt and black pepper. Then add the parsley. Give everything a stir and set aside.

To make the filling:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, goat cheese, flour and salt until very smooth with no lumps. Stop and scrape the beater and sides of the bowl frequently throughout this process to make sure the filling has no lumps. Add the sour cream and beat until well blended and smooth. Add the chopped preserved lemon. Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until just blended, (Don’t over beat the filling once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much.) Tap the bowl several times on the counter to release some of the air bubbles. Pour half of the filling into the crust. Then spoon the gremolata (including the olive oil) evenly over the top of the filling. Pour the remainder of the filling over the gremolata. Use a knife tip or a toothpick to pop any air bubbles on the surface.

Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like jello when nudged, 63 to 68 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours or overnight or up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen up to 1 month.

To serve:
Have a flat serving plate ready and close by. Unclasp the pan’s ring, remove it, and using the excess foil, gently nudge and lift the cake to be sure it’s released. Using the foil, carefully lift the cheesecake and slide it onto the serving plate and center it. Tear off one side of the foil close to the cheese cake. On the opposite side of the cake, gently pull the remaining foil out from the cheesecake.
To place the finishing garnish, brush the surface of the cake with olive oil. Then toss a shower of chopped parsley and lemon zest over the top.


  1. What a cool idea. I can totally see that working as an appetizer or even for dessert with some fruit and a nice dessert wine. Like a cheese course. Nice outside the box thinking.

  2. Hello, Amanda! Thank you for your nice comment. The garlic might be a bit much for dessert wine, but you could skip the garlic and parlsy and keep the lemon confit.


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