Lemon-Goat Cheese Cheesecake and Basil-Pine Nut Ice Cream with Port Wine and Balsamic Reduction with Fresh Figs
Delicious, tangy cheesecakes made with lemon and goat cheese contrast with dark glazed figs and port wine sauce. The combination of flavors — goat cheese, balsamic vinegar, lemon, figs — is fabulous. You could make one large cheesecake instead of individual servings if you wish.
- Pine Nut-Basil Ice Cream
- Whole Milk - 1 quart + 1/3 cup
- Non-fat Milk Powder - 3 tablespoons
- Basil leaf - 1
- Sugar - 1-1/4 cups
- Egg Yolks - 2 extra-large
- Confectioner’s Sugar - 1/4 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1/4 cup
- Pine nuts - 1-1/2 cup, roughly chopped
- Pine Nut Crust
- Pine nuts - 6 ounces
- Sugar - 2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon
- Unsalted Butter - 3 tablespoons
- Goat Cheese Cheesecake
- Goat Cheese - 22 ounces
- Sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Lime Zest - 2 teaspoons
- Lime Juice - 2 teaspoons
- Eggs - 12, separated
- All-Purpose Flour - 6 tablespoons
- Wine and Balsamic Reduction
- Port wine - 1-1/2 pints
- Corn Syrup - 1 cup
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Thyme Sprigs - 1
- Szechuan peppercorns - 8
- Vanilla bean - 1
- Balsamic Vinegar - 3 tablespoons
- Fresh Figs - 8, quartered
- Basil Sprigs - 8, fresh
To make the ice cream: Put the milk and milk powder in a heavy saucepan and whisk together. Add the basil. Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat. Whisk the sugar, confectioner’s sugar, and egg yolks until the sugar has dissolved. Add a large spoonful of the hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk to temper the eggs, then whisk the egg mixture into the hot milk. Put the developing ice cream base back on the stove and stir in the cream. Bring to a simmering boil over medium heat and cook for 2 minutes. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Put into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Just before the mixture freezes hard, add the pine nuts, then finish freezing. Store in an airtight container in the freezer.
To make the crust: Wrap 4-inch ring or square molds with foil to create closed molds. Place in a baking pan. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Put the pine nuts and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and grind the nuts to small bits. Add the butter and blend. Press into the bottoms of the molds and bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until set and browned. Remove from the oven and let cool. Leave the oven set at 350 F.
To make the filling: Put the cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the cheese; save the pods for another use. Add the lime zest and juice and mix well. Scrape down the sides. Add the egg yolks, four at a time, and beat well, scraping the sides between additions. In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold a large spoonful of egg whites into the cheesecake filling to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites in two additions. Spoon the filling into the crusts in the molds, filling nearly to the tops of the molds. Place the baking pan with the molds on the oven rack. Pour in boiling water to cover half way up the sides of the molds. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until set. The moisture from the water bath (bain marie) will help prevent cracks from forming in the cheesecakes. Carefully remove the molds and let cool, then place in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours, until chilled.
To make the wine reduction: Put the wine in a heavy non-aluminum saucepan and bring to a simmering boil over medium heat. Add the glucose, zest, thyme, peppercorns, and vinegar. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the mixture; drop in the pods. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until reduced to a syrupy consistency. Add the figs and simmer 5 more minutes. Set aside off the heat.
To serve: Unmold the cheesecakes and place one on each dessert plate. Place four fig quarters around each of the cheesecakes and drizzle a little of the wine reduction over the figs. Top each cheesecake with a quenelle or scoop of basil-pine nut ice cream and a sprig of basil.