The high days of summer have brought the rains at last, the grey and sandy days broken by the tropical sun. Nothing is gentle here in summer.
The rolling thunder and pounding rain, the blinding sun and baking heat all work an alchemy and draw the green and the sweetness out of the earth for busy hands to gather.
The trees, the grass and even the light is vivid green, the vines curl and dance like the wild hair of the maenads, and all day and all night the cicadas and crickets sing like the everlasting pipes of Pan.
In winter you can taste the frost, but now in all things gleams the golden light of the sun – in butter and egg yolks and honey, and in the sweetness of the fruits and the ripening grain.
These are the days ruled by sun and thunder, the days of milk and butter when the whey of straining cheeses taps out time drop by drop in the background of the kitchen.
There has been always some drama with the goats this week. The mamas slip away and one of the babies is left behind to bleat and cry while the other goats forage callously.
Flicka, while a very pretty and productive goat, is also not very bright, and her little buckling unfortunately seems to have inherited her brains. They are always on the wrong sides of fences from each other, and gates are a concept they can’t seem to grasp.
I am always trying to find new and wonderful ways to use goat cheese these days, as i make it by the two-gallons, and as a fresh cheese can go funky after awhile in the fridge. It is best eaten up quickly.
I’ve tried other goat cheesecake recipes and didn’t like the texture. I combined the goat cheese with a fair amount of creme fraiche, or sour cream to make it less like a ricotta cake and more like a regular cheese cake.
I’ve found that adding 1 tablespoon per quart of the whey from making the Chevre to cold-from-the-fridge cream (because it is so hot during the summer) and leaving it out until it is just set the next morning makes the most wonderful sour cream. There is also more on creme fraiche and homemade Chevre here and here.
The small amount of rennet in the whey makes it curdle nicely and get very thick and creamy while the mesophilic cheese culture gives it a very mild and delicious flavor.
CHOCOLATE CHEVRE CHEESECAKE
(I use a mixer to blend the ingredients, as they don’t get blended well enough stirring by hand. You can use hand beaters or a food processor though)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
(Beat all these ingredients together then add…)
3 cups homemade chevre
1 1/2 cup cream fraiche (see above)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
Mix until smooth and creamy.
For the crust:
(Mix all ingredients together until a dough forms)
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup almond flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
1. Press crust into cake or pie pans (the only spring form pan i have makes the crust taste funny, so i use glass or ceramic pie or tart dishes). This makes two 9-inch cakes.
2. Pour filling in and bake gently at 300F for about 40 minutes or until set. Let the cakes cool gently and then transfer to the fridge to chill for several hours.