When I was asked by Miele to attend The World's 50 Best Restaurant awards, I didn't really know what I was in for. Being in what I call 'the niche diet' category, and being a Luddite, unsure how to download Netflix, I didn't run in circles that discussed the esteemed restaurants at length, nor did I watch Chef's Table.
I got some sense of what I was in for a few days prior to the event, when an excitable buzz descended on the Melbourne food scene, both for Melbourne Food and Wine week, and for the awards. It was an extremely prestigious event to be invited to, I was told. Always something a socially awkward person luvs to hear.
The awards were, despite any social awkwardness/stress rash, truly an experience. To be in a room filled with such talented, passionate and innovative people was nothing short of inspiring, despite the fact I was probably the most clueless person in attendance. It was undoubtedly a highlight of my Insta gal career, and, as such, I've created a recipe, supported by Miele.
Given that I was late after stressing about my outfit for hours ('Heston will be there, you need to look like you're important too') I sweatily and hurriedly sashayed down the red carpet, and was greeted by a waiter serving the simplest of dishes: Goats cheese drizzled with honey. The simplicity of it struck me, because while I'd always known it was a stellar combo, I'd never had it served in such a basic but bewdiful fashion. Naturally, I decided to base a recipe inspired by it, except I, naturally, went in the complete opposite direction and added all the faff possible.
Seriously though, this cheesecake is so super easy to make, and not scary at all. You can omit the rosewater if you like (I mainly included it for a legitimate reason to add rose petals, which is so unlike me) but it gives a lovely perfume to it. Don't be scared by the goat's cheese - it lends a subtle tang and doesn't detract from the cheesecake whatsoever. It's gluten free, grain free and refined sugar free, but I promise it doesn't taste like it is. You can make mini varieties or a single large one too, just for fun.
FOR THE CHEESECAKE
500g cream cheese
100g log goats cheese
4 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons honey, plus extra to serve
2 teaspoons rosewater
Juice of 1/2-1 lemon
4 eggs (3 if large)
FOR THE PISTACHIO BASE
1 cup almond meal
3/4 pistachios, plus extra for decoration
1-2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
METHOD - makes 5 mini cheesecakes or one regular one
You'll need mini springform tins (available at House) or one single 20cm springform tin
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. In your food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are almost flour like, and then add the remaining ingredients for the base. Pulse until a dough forms.
2. Using a greased a springform tin(s) (plural if you're making mini ones) press the dough (divided into 5 if doing the mini thang) into the tin, making sure it's smooth and even. Poke lots of fork holes in the bottom to allow air to escape, and cook for 5 minutes if mini, or 10 if regular.
3. While the base is cooking, combine the cream cheese, goat's cheese, maple syrup, honey and eggs in a bowl. A stand alone mixer is ideal for this job, but a hand held one does suffice, as I discovered. Mix mix mix until all the cream cheese lumps are gone, and then add the lemon juice and rosewater, if you're using it. If you're not, I'd suggest a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste instead. Or as well, if you're feeling fancy.
4. Once the base(s) is/are cooked and cooled a little, pour the cheesecake mixture on top, and return to the oven. the small cheesecakes take 20-25 minutes, oven dependent, and the large one takes 40-45.
5. Once cooked and cooled, top the cheesecake with extra pistachios, a drizzle of honey, and rose petals if you're a dud like I am.