Fromage Blanc Cheesecake
If you have limited time, you can skip making your own graham crackers for the crust—but a homemade graham cracker crust takes this over the top! Besides, any extra crackers make for a delicious snack. This is exceptional cheesecake by Chef Helena Root of Irving Street Kitchen served with a good-quality jam or compote on top. Root prefers to use Cypress Grove fromage blanc in this recipe.
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GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) butter, softened
- 3½ tablespoons granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
- 1 tablespoon clover honey
- ½ tablespoon molasses
- 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup whole wheat flour
- Pinch salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 pound fromage blanc
- 1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ cup cream
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- THE GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST: Heat the oven to 325°F. Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, cream butter, 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and the brown sugar, honey, and molasses until smooth and shiny. Be careful not to incorporate too much air. Scrape the bowl down frequently with a spatula.
- Sift together all the dry ingredients, and add to the mixer all at once. Mix until the dough just comes together (it will be pretty dry but not crumbly). Divide dough into two portions. Roll out half of the dough between two sheets of parchment to ¼-inch thickness.
- Remove the top parchment sheet, and transfer both dough sheets (with bottom parchment) to a sheet pan. Bake until the sheets of dough are a light golden brown, about 20 minutes, rotating once. The dough should not leave an indentation when you press gently with your finger. When cool, grind in a food processor or pulverize by hand.
- Add 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar to dry crumbs. Stir melted butter into mixture with a fork.
- Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Double-wrap a springform pan with aluminum foil so it can be set into a water bath without water getting into the pan. Pour the crumbs into the pan, and press into the bottom and up the sides. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, just until lightly browned. Set aside.
- THE CHEESECAKE: Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Place the fromage blanc and cream cheese in a food processor, and blend until smooth. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula to dislodge clumps.
- Add the sugar and cornstarch and blend until smooth, then scrape the bowl again. Add the cream and vanilla, and blend; add the eggs last, and blend again. Scrape the bowl, and blend one last time to make sure the mixture is smooth.
- Pour the batter into the crumb crust. Set the springform pan in a roasting pan, and add warm water to the pan to a depth that comes halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake until the internal temperature of the cheesecake reaches 155°F, about an hour. If the top is browning, carefully tent with foil.
- Let cool in the water bath for 5 to 10 minutes, then refrigerate until firm. It will be easier to unmold the cheesecake if you chill it overnight.
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