Mini cheesecakes are easy, impressive, gluten-free
Looking for an extraordinary dessert recipe that also happens to be gluten free? These individual goat cheese and honey cheesecakes with Meyer lemon cream are sure to be the piece de resistance of any special occasion when they are served.
This recipe isn't overly complicated per se — most of the work can be done in the food processor, and the various components can be made ahead. Each and every component offers a specific flavor or textural element, which together will rival any cheesecake at a fancy dinner out. The salted-pistachio crust provides a crisp, nutty contrast to the just-sweet-enough creamy filling. Goat cheese gives the cheesecake layer a soft and mellow tang, while a wisp of honey lingers through each and every bite. A dollop of Meyer lemon cream provides a bright and barely tart glaze to gussy up the sweets even more. And, don't skip on the candied pistachios — they take this dessert from merely homemade to James Beard Award-worthy.
And, a bonus for gluten-free eaters: These are, indeed, gluten-free, provided all of the nuts and other ingredients are certified gluten-free, of course.
Nealey Dozier is a writer for TheKitchn.com, a blog for people who love food.
Goat Cheese, Honey and Pistachio Mini Cheesecakes with Meyer Lemon Cream
If you can find only unsalted pistachios, add 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt to the pistachios when grinding.
If you can't find Meyer lemons, use regular lemons and add an extra tablespoon or two of sugar.
For the pistachio crust:
1 heaping cup shelled, roasted, nd salted pistachios (see headnotes)
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
1 log (11 ounces) mild goat cheese, room temperature
1⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 cup (4 ounces) creme fraiche or full-fat sour cream, room temperature
2 tablespoons good-quality honey
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
Pinch of fine sea salt
3 large eggs
For the Meyer lemon cream:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
1⁄2 cup Meyer lemon juice, from 3 to 4 lemons (see head notes)
1⁄4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
Pinch of kosher salt
For the candied pistachios:
1⁄2 cup shelled, roasted and salted pistachios, finely chopped
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon hot water
To prepare the pistachio crust: Combine the pistachios and the sugar in a food processor or mini chopper and process until it becomes a fine meal. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the melted butter; the mixture should resemble wet sand. Divide the dough evenly among 12 wells of an individual cheesecake pan (or a mini-muffin pan filled with cupcake liners) and press firmly into the bottom.
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. While the oven is heating, refrigerate the crusts until chilled. Bake the crusts for 10 to 12 minutes until set. Cool completely before filling.
To prepare the filling: Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Combine the goat cheese and the sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process for 1 minute. Add the creme fraiche, honey, vanilla and salt and process for another 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, if needed. With the food processor running, add the eggs through the feeding tube one at a time, and mix until just combined; do not over mix. (If you do not have a food processor, you can whisk the ingredients by hand in the same order.)
Transfer the filling to a measuring cup with a pour spout and fill each cheesecake well almost to the top. Place the cheesecake pan on a sheet pan and bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the cheesecakes are just barely set. Remove from the oven and allow them to cool to room temperature. Transfer the pan to the refrigerator and chill the cheesecakes for a minimum of 4 hours.
To prepare the Meyer lemon cream: Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy, for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the eggs and yolks and beat for 1 minute, until well combined. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and salt, and continue mixing until incorporated. (The mixture will become curdled and lumpy upon adding the lemon juice, but it will smooth quickly upon heating.)
Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 165 degrees on an instant-read thermometer; the mixture should be just thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Transfer to another bowl and press plastic wrap directly on the surface. Let the mixture cool at room temperature until ready to serve. (Lemon cream will keep in the refrigerator for one week. The texture thickens as it chills; you can whisk in a tablespoon or two of heavy cream to thin, if needed.)
To prepare the candied pistachios: Spread the chopped pistachios on a baking sheet lined with a Silpat or a sheet of parchment paper. Whisk the brown sugar and hot water to dissolve. Pour the mixture over the pistachios and toss to combine. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the nuts are golden and toasted, for 8 to 10 minutes. When they are cool, crumble the pistachios for serving.
To assemble: Remove the cheesecakes from the pan and remove metal rounds from the bottom. Bring them to room temperature before serving. Drizzle with the Meyer lemon creme and a sprinkle of candied pistachios.
Makes 12 bite-sized cheesecakes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Penguins notebook: Winning home games crucial for Penguins
- Heart stent implanted, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg goes home
- Icy roads, bridges trigger minor accidents in Western Pennsylvania
- Penguins GM prepares for emotional series against Carolina
- Nonprofit plans to keep Blairsville WyoTech campus open as part of $24 million purchase
- Pryor’s 22 points lead Robert Morris past Louisiana-Monroe
- Police identify driver in North Side crash that killed pregnant woman
- Pipeline project could bring thousands of construction jobs to Burrell Township
- Lack of money may crush ISIS
- Four of five Blairsville-Saltsburg schools improve state performance scores
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’