I would love to romanticise this cheesecake with tales of long ago. It could have been first documented as the celebration cake for the Greeks when they conquered Troy or perhaps it could have been the favourite dessert of Aphrodite, the beautiful Greek Goddess of Love. However, they would be stories for a stories sake because sadly, none of it is true.
This is a Greek inspired cheesecake. It has a base that is vaguely similar to kourabiedes, the famous Greek almond shortbread, the filling is a heavenly blend cream cheese and goats cheese and it is finished off (exceptionally well) with a topping of slivered figs, pistachios and a good trickle of honey. So all in all the total effect is very ‘Greek’.
So Greek myths aside, I have no doubt in my mind that if this cheesecake was around when Aphrodite resided on Mount Olympus it would have been one of her favourites. I imagine she would have had her pretty fingers in it at every chance she got – something we will never know. What I can tell you though, is that if you are a fan of cheesecakes – this lovely Greek rendition with its drizzled honey, pistachio’s and figs will become a favourite of yours.
452 grams /16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
300 grams/11 ounces soft fresh goats cheese, at room temperature
75 grams/2.6 ounces softened butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 lemon, finely grated
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 – 6 black figs, cut into thin wedges
To serve: honey and chopped pistachios
240 grams/8.5 ounces plain flour
200 grams/7 ounces butter, coarsely chopped
80 grams/2.8 ounces ground almonds
¼ cup pure icing sugar/confectioners sugar
For base, work the flour, butter, almonds and icing sugar until fine crumbs form (I used a fork but a food processor is good too). Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until the dough comes together (If the dough is a little dry and does not come together easily, add a tiny amount of water). Press into the lined base of a 9″ springform pan and chill for 2 hours. Preheat your oven to 175c/350f and bake until light golden and cooked through (around 30 minutes).
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, goats cheese, butter, eggs, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and rind in an electric mixer until combined and smooth. Lightly grease the sides of the cake tin above the base and pour in the cream cheese filling. Bake until set (30-40 minutes) and cool to room temperature (2 – 3 hours). Top with slivers of figs and pistachios and serve drizzled with honey.
Notes: You can make thius cheesecake the day prior to serving but do not make the topping until just before serving.
Source: inspired by Lisa Featherby
© 2010 – 2011, Michelle. All rights reserved.