Almost a quiche, not quite a mousse, this cheesecake is somewhere in between, silky and smooth yet divinely light. The zucchini topping brings added taste, texture, and a burst of bright lemon flavor. Perhaps best of all, the finished dish feels special, but it’s not hard to make. Try it for brunch, lunch, or a light dinner, accompanied by a big salad, a hunk of good bread, and of course, a glass of Grgich Fumé Blanc.
For the Crust
1 cup plain breadcrumbs
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
For the Filling
1 1/2 cups chèvre (spreadable goat cheese) (about 12 ounces), room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, cut into 4 to 6 pieces, room temperature
1 cup sour cream, room temperature
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper, ideally freshly ground
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
For the Topping
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
12 ounces zucchini (2 to 3 medium), shredded (you should have about 2 3/4 cups)
1/2 onion, halved lengthwise (into quarters) and thinly sliced
1 lemon, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced (peel and all)
2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt, or more to taste
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Pairs Well With
Special equipment: 9-inch springform pan
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wrap a 9-inch springform pan with foil, covering the bottom and up the sides, so that it’s watertight. Set aside.
To make the crust: In a medium bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, butter, and Parmesan, mixing to thoroughly combine. Press the mix¬ture into the bottom and 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the sides of the prepared springform pan. Set aside in the refrigerator.
To make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the goat cheese and eggs on medium speed until combined. Gradually add the cream cheese, beating until com¬bined. Add the sour cream, cornstarch, salt, and pepper, beating just until smooth. Stir in the chives. Pour the filling into the crust, spreading it evenly, and place the springform pan in a larger baking pan. Pour enough hot water into the larger pan so that the water is 1 inch deep. Bake until the middle of the cheesecake is set, about an hour.
Remove the cheesecake from the water and immediately run a knife around the edges to release it from the pan. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the topping: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add the zucchini and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the lemon, salt, and 1/3 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the lemon peel is very tender and the liquid is almost entirely absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and chives. Taste, ideally with your wine, and add more salt if you like. (You can prepare the cheesecake and the topping up to 2 days in advance. Cool both thoroughly, then store them covered in the refrigerator. Return them to room temperature, or slightly rewarm the topping, before serving.)
Spread the topping mixture evenly over the cheesecake. Unmold the cheesecake from the pan. Slice and serve warm or room tem¬perature.
Copyright Jill Silverman Hough. All rights reserved. www.jillhough.com.