Tag Archives: cheesecake

Primal Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake

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I have been wanting to create a primal cheesecake for months and my brother’s Birthday provided the perfect opportunity, as he is also primal and LOVES cheesecake! I’m also completely obsessed with rhubarb and don’t let a Spring go by without making some perfectly balanced sweet and tart baked good with this bright red seasonal stalk, usually paired with strawberries or raspberries. If you are in the Santa Monica, Malibu or Topanga Canyon area, I am now selling individually sized versions of this cheesecake and new york style at Topanga FRESH Market, an organic and natural foods market and cafe in Topanga Canyon!! Come by and give it a taste. Its debut at the Birthday party went over quite nicely–I’m pretty sure everyone went in for seconds.

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Primal Strawberry Rhubarb Cheesecake  (Difficulty: Intermediate; Serves 12-14)

For the Crust:

  • 1 c. almond meal
  • 1 c. toasted pecans, finely ground in food processor
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp. raw honey
  • pinch of Kosher salt

For the Filling:

  • 24 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 8 oz. mascarpone cheese, at room temp.
  • 2/3 c. raw honey (**this can vary depending on type of honey–add gradually and taste for sweetness)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice (next time I want to experiment with some zest for an even brighter lemon flavor)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 organic cage-free eggs, at room temp.

Strawberry Rhubarb Compote:

  • 2 c. rhubarb, sliced (organic if possible)
  • 2 c. diced organic strawberries
  • 1/3 c. raw honey
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. arrow root powder

Make the crust: Preheat oven to 350° and wrap a 9″ springform pan with two layers of heavy duty tin foil. Toast pecans in a toaster oven or tradition oven on 300° for 5-7 minutes. Let cool and finely chop in a food processor. Combine almond meal, ground pecans, honey, melted butter and a pinch of salt in a bowl. With a stand or handheld mixer, beat on medium speed until well combined. The crust should be moist enough to slightly clump together when mixed. Pour the crust mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer on the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool.

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Make the filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325° and put a large pot of water to boil on the stove. When the water is boiling, fill a large roasting pan with boiling water to serve as a water bath for more even baking. This will help prevent the cheesecake from cracking on the surface.

Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese, and honey in a large bowl until smooth, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Taste for sweetness and add more honey if necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition.

Pour the cheese mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in the roasting pan prepared with boiling water. Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center of the cheesecake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour (the cake will become firm when it is cold). Transfer the cake to a rack; cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.

Make the compote:

Combine rhubarb, strawberries, honey, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice in a heavy large saucepan. Stir over medium heat until the honey is well incorporated. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until rhubarb is tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Add the arrow root powder to the remaining 1 tablespoon lemon juice and add to the fruit mixture. Simmer on low until the compote has thickened, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer rhubarb mixture to bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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Remove cheesecake from springform pan and serve topped with compote.

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Goat Cheese and Lemon Cheesecake with Hazelnut Crust

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Mark Sisson says the best dessert you could cheat with on a primal diet would be cheesecake since it is high in fat and low in sugar relative to other desserts like cake, cookies, etc. But I won’t fool you-this cheesecake definitely has a good amount of sugar in it. Yet it is so delicious I just had to share! It may be the best cheesecake I’ve made yet. The combination of goat cheese, lemon curd, and the subtle hazelnut crust remind me of a great cheese plate! If you haven’t tried lemon curd poured over goat cheese with some nuts crushed over the top, you are truly missing out. And this cheesecake just takes that flavor profile to an entirely new and glorious level. My next project is to top this with a primal cheesecake-no grains in the crust and no refined sugar. Stay tuned!

I found this gem in the Science of Good Cooking-another amazing cook’s illustrated book thanks to my wonderful bro! I also have to admit I cheated and used pre-made lemon curd from Trader Joes but nobody would ever know the difference. If you are feeling extra energetic in the kitchen, go ahead and try their homemade lemon curd recipe below-I’m sure it is wonderful.

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Goat Cheese and Lemon Cheesecake with Hazelnut Crust (Courtesy of Cook’s Illustrated) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Serves 12-14)

For the Crust:

  • 5 oz. animals crackers
  • 1/3 c. hazelnuts, toasted and cooled
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  •  3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

For the Filling:

  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. grated zest plus 1/4 cup juice from about 2 lemons
  • 16 oz. cream cheese, cut into rough 1-inch chunks and left to stand at room temperature 30 to 45 minutes
  • 8 oz. goat cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

For the Lemon Curd: 

  • 1/3 c.  juice from 2 lemons
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled
  • 1 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Pinch salt

Make the crust: Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Process hazelnuts in food processor with sugar until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add animal crackers until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add melted butter while pulsing. Pulse until mixture is evenly moistened and resembles wet sand. Empty crumbs into a 9-in. springform pan, and using the bottom of a ramekin or measuring cup, press the crumbs firmly and evenly into the pan, keeping the sides as clean as possible. Bake crust until fragrant and golden brown, 14-17 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack at room temperature, about 30 minutes. When cool, wrap the outside of the pan with 2 18-in. square pieces of heavy duty aluminum foil and set in a large roasting pan. Bring a pot of water to boil.

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Make the Filling: Process 1/4 cup sugar and lemon zest in food processor until sugar is yellow and the zest is broken down. Transfer mixture to small bowl and stir in remaining cup of sugar. Using a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and goat cheese on low speed until softened. With the mixer running, add lemon-sugar mixture in a slow, steady stream. increase the speed to medium and beat until creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and beat in eggs, 2 at a time, until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add lemon juice and vanilla and mix well. Mix in cream until well incorporated.

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Brush the sides of the pan with melted butter. Pour the filling into the pan and smooth with a rubber spatula. Set roasting pan on oven rack and pour enough boiling water in to come halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake cake until center jiggles slightly, 55 minutes to 1 hour. Turn off the oven and prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the water in the oven for 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack. Remove the foil and run a paring knife around the cake. Let cake cool completely for wire rack, about 2 hours.

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Make the Lemon Curd: While cheesecake bakes, heat lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium until hot, but not boiling. Whisk eggs and yolk together in a bowl, then gradually add the sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour hot lemon juice into the eggs, then return the mixture to saucepan and cook over medium, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to cling to the spoon and registers 170 degrees, about 3 minutes. Immediately remove from heat and stir in cold butter. Stir in cream, vanilla, and salt, then pour curd through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Cover with plastic directly on the surface of the curd and refrigerate.

When cheesecake is cool, spread curd evenly over the top of the cheesecake with an offset spatula. Cover tightly with plastic and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 1 day. To unmold cheesecake, wrap a hot kitchen towel around pan and let stand for 1 minute. Remove sides of pan. Slide a thin metal spatula between crust and pan bottom and transfer the cake onto a serving patter.

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