It’s raspberry season here in the Cowichan Valley. What’s your favourite way to serve them (besides eating them in the car on the way home from the farm . . .)?
My ambitious plans to have my own raspberry crop in my garden didn’t materialize this year. The canes I planted last year easily survived our very mild winter, but they developed root rot this spring and they all died. Today I asked Jim, my master gardener friend, about possible causes, as I thought my well-drained raised beds would have prevented problems. His suggestion: watch where you purchase your plants. Buy only from a reputable nursery that sells certified planting stock, like Dinter Nursery. In my case, I been seeking Willamette canes, bought the last two available at Dinter’s but purchased another two at another nursery north of town. These may have been the “infected culprits”. However, every cloud has a silver lining. Because I couldn’t harvest anything from my own garden, I discovered a fabulous raspberry farm just minutes from my home and have picked and frozen several pounds for next winter’s smoothies and desserts. Summer time here makes being a locavore a piece of cake, or in this case, a piece of cheesecake. With goat cheese, fresh eggs, and raspberries all available from farms within a mile or so, I made this cheesecake in my attempt to replicate one we had at Amuse on the Vineyard on the weekend. It is crustless, simple to prepare, and delish!
Makes one 9-inch cheesecake (about 1 inch high)
- Unsalted butter (to grease the pan)
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 12 ounces fresh soft goat cheese at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest (use a microplane to grate it finely)
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 pints mixed berries (raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, and/or blueberries)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 1/4 cup berry puree, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and dust with sugar, tapping out any excess.
- Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat goat cheese, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and 3/4 cup sugar in a large bowl until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg yolks two at a time, beating to blend and scraping down sides of bowl between additions. Reduce speed to low, add flour, and mix just until blended.
- Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Fold 1/4 of egg whites into goat cheese mixture just until blended; fold in remaining egg whites just until blended. Scrape into prepared pan and tap pan very gently to level batter.
- Wrap base of pan in foil and place the pan on a baking sheet. Bake cheesecake until top is set but still jiggles slightly in the center, and edges are beginning to brown lightly, 35–40 minutes. Turn off the oven heat and let it sit on the open oven door for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool in pan.
- Run a thin knife around sides of pan; unmold cake. Serve topped with whatever berries are in season. I used raspberries and black raspberries and served it with a raspberry puree and chopped toasted pecans (but local hazelnuts, if I had some on hand, would have been much better).
Adapted from Bon Appetit
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