Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sean's Cheesecake

I'm very lucky to have a husband that can cook, and one of his recent specialties is cheesecake.  I requested it for my birthday and of course he couldn't refuse.  :)  Sean uses a combination of cream cheese and goat cheese which adds a depth of flavor to the creamy filling.  This time, he also snuck in a dash of cayenne pepper to the graham-cracker crust which adds a subtle layer of heat and complements the rich sweet cheesecake filling.  It is delicious warm out of the oven, and even better chilled.  Thank you, Sean!  (It's not the best way to start the new year out if you are trying to be healthy, so just eat it in moderation!) 
15 cinnamon graham crackers
2 T butter, melted
a dash (or more!) of cayenne pepper - optional
24 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
8 oz creamy goat cheese, at room temperature (recommend Trader Joe's for the goat cheese.  It's wayyyy cheaper there than at other stores) 
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 T vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 inch springform pan in preparation.  You don't have to use a springform pan, but it makes it much easier for clean serving.  In a food processor, blend the graham crackers until they are fine crumbs.  This is where Sean added the cayenne pepper.  He swears he added two teaspoons, but I think it was more like 1/2 a teaspoon.  At any rate, add a few dashes, stir, and taste to see if you want to add more.  Mix the crumbs with the melted sugar in a bowl until evenly coated, and press the mixture evenly down into the bottom of the greased pan.

In a stand mixer (or by hand), combine the cream cheese, goat cheese and sugar. Blend until smooth. Next, add the milk and continue blending until it is well combined.  

One at a time, add the eggs, mixing after each egg.  Finally, add the yogurt, vanilla, and flour.  Continue to blend until very smooth.  Pour the mixture into the pan on top of the crust. 

Bake for one hour, and then turn the heat off, leaving the cheesecake in the oven with the door closed to sit for 3 more hours.  Finally, take the cheesecake out of the oven and refrigerate until ready to serve.  I always like to take a slice while it is still warm and fresh out of the oven if we aren't saving it for a special occasion.  So rich and creamy, without being too sweet.  It was a perfect cake to celebrate my birthday!

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