I give to you the grand finale of basil week – cheesecake with goat cheese and peaches roasted in basil itself! After covering the three main meals of the day, I knew I had to figure out something with basil for dessert. But basil doesn’t strike me as something I would really want in a dessert. So here is how this recipe came to be:
I wonder if there is anything dessert-like with basil saved in my recipe folder – search for “basil”.
Hmm Annie’s Eats has a strawberry bruschetta that looks amazing. Goat cheese, basil and strawberries? I think I can work with that. What about a cheesecake with goat cheese? Then the strawberries and basil on top? Hmm, let’s search for goat cheese recipes.
Ooo this recipe from Whole Foods has roasted pears on top with rosemary to go with the goat cheese cheesecake. Maybe I could swap the rosemary for basil? Does basil go with pears? Or maybe peaches? Yea peaches are stupid amazingly good right now, I can totally do that. But where on earth will I ever find peach juice? Let’s improvise…
From there I followed the recipe from Whole Foods pretty close for the cheesecake itself (I made minis instead of a big full cake), then using the recipe as inspiration I did my own thing for the roasted peaches and sauce. And you know what? It rocks. The slight tang from the goat cheese works beautifully with the sweetness of the peaches. And the basil, although not the main focus, adds that little bit of extra.
GOAT CHEESE CHEESECAKE WITH BASIL ROASTED PEACHES
Makes 24 mini cheesecakes
GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbsp sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 (8- oz) packages reduced fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
3 (4-oz packages fresh goat cheese, crumbled
2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 ripe but firm peaches
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp grade A dark amber maple syrup, divided
3 Tbsp agave syrup, divided
2 basil leaves, plus more for garnish (optional)
1 Tbsp water
- For the crust, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place crumbs in a medium-sized mixing bowl and pour in butter. Stir until crumbs are thoroughly moistened.
- Press crumb mixture into the bottoms of 1-12 lined cupcake pans. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and firm, about 6-8 minutes.
- For the cheesecake, reduce oven heat to 325 degrees. Place cream cheese, goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla in a large mixing bowl. With an electric hand mixer, beat until just smooth, scraping down sides of the bowl as needed. In two or three additions, beat in sugar until mixture is creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating and scraping down sides of the bowl after each addition. Continue to beat until mixture is very smooth.
- Pour batter into prepared crusts. Bake until edges of cheesecake look set and the center is still soft and slightly jiggly, 20 to 25 minutes. Place pan on a rack to cool completely in the pan. Then cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees. For the roasted peaches, halve them and remove pits. Put butter, lemon juice, a tablespoon of maple syrup and 2 tablespoons agave in a medium baking dish. Bake for a minute or two, just until butter melts. Swirl to mix ingredients, then place peaches, cut side down, in dish along with basil leaves. Bake for 15 minutes, basting with cooking liquid, until tender. Transfer peaches to a plate to cool. Cut each half into 6 slices (24 total).
- Place remaining agave and maple syrup in a small bowl with water. Strain juices from baking dish into bowl and stir to combine.
- When cheesecake has thoroughly chilled, remove from pan. Stir cooled sauce and drizzle sauce on the top with a peach slice and a basil leaf.
Source: Adapted from Whole Foods