I first met Anne Saxelby in 2008 after I was 23 and dealing part-time promoting cheese at Brooklyn’s Greene Grape Provisions. I used to be selecting up shifts on my days off from cooking at The Good Fork, the place I had simply gotten an internship that rapidly grew to become a job. I wanted to pay my hire, however furthermore, I wanted to feed my insatiable urge for food for all issues culinary. Cheese was at all times one thing I adored, so the Greene Grape gig was a pleasure. My coworkers and I commonly geeked out about new arrivals and Anne’s title got here up every day. Her younger cheese stall in Essex Market could have been small, however—identical to Anne—it was mighty, and even then I might inform she was unstoppable.
Nearly everybody within the cheese world appeared to know Anne. She was disrupting the American dairy business in the easiest way, by showcasing home cheeses that might maintain their very own among the many European stalwarts. Anne was bigger than life, heat, charismatic, and naturally, so excited to speak about cheese. She gave me my first style of Harbison. She launched me to Jasper Hill, and her beloved Cato Nook Farm. She taught me all about clothbound cheddars, washed rinds, and triple lotions. She confirmed me the right way to make mozzarella with cultured curds from Pennsylvania, after which, even higher, the right way to flip that mozzarella into stracciatella the subsequent day. In case you liked cheese even an iota as a lot as Anne did, you had been an immediate pal. She welcomed me on a number of events—beaming with pleasure—into her little cheese collapse Purple Hook, feeding me slivers of no matter wheels her workforce was portioning for wholesale that day.
However Anne wasn’t only a educated cheesemonger and affineur. She led a cheese revolution. Her ardour gave a platform and a highlight to dairy farmers doing unbelievable work. She educated her prospects and a brand new era of cheese makers and mongers and, steadily, she modified the way in which the world regarded American farmstead cheeses. She mentored and liked so many, and championed the little guys on the market, going out of her manner for everybody in her orbit.
When Anne handed away final fall, she left behind a legacy of training and sustainable agriculture. Nobody had integrity fairly like Anne, and I can’t consider a extra becoming solution to honor her life and work than to proceed celebrating her mission and passions.
I’ve put iterations of my chèvre cheesecake on menus since 2012, and it’s develop into one in every of my signature desserts. I used to be honored that Anne got here to style this dish through the years in varied institutions—most not too long ago at Gage & Tollner, the place the tangy goat cheese serves as a seasonal canvas and a creamy endnote to dinner. This cake pairs with something that’s lucious and in season: Jammy late-season plums for early autumn; roasted pears and maple later within the season; candied citrus within the doldrums of winter; and macerated berries, cherries, and peaches as spring turns to summer time. I hope you’ll make this magnificence at dwelling, with a good-quality goat cheese that Anne would approve of. Anne, this cheesecake is perpetually for you.
Yield: makes One 9-in. cheesecake
Time: 8 hours
For the filling:
- 20 oz. contemporary goat cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 1 vanilla bean, break up lengthwise, seeds scraped and pod reserved, or 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 4 massive eggs
For the crust:
- Nonstick baking spray
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup entire wheat flour
- ⅓ cup mild brown sugar
- ½ cup coarsely floor hazelnuts
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the roasted plum compote:
- 1 heaping pint ripe plums (about 1 lb.; select a mix of types and colours)
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. contemporary lemon juice
- 4 thyme sprigs
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- To a meals processor, add the chèvre, sugar, lemon zest, vanilla bean seeds, and salt, and pulse a couple of instances to interrupt up any lumps. Drizzle within the heavy cream, pulsing and infrequently utilizing a silicone spatula to scrape down the perimeters and backside of the bowl as wanted, till no lumps stay (don’t overmix). One by one, add the eggs by means of the processor’s feed tube, pulsing till every egg is totally integrated earlier than including the subsequent.
- Place a fantastic mesh sieve over a big, resealable container, then scrape the custard into it. Utilizing a silicone spatula, press the custard by means of the strainer, discarding any solids that stay. Cowl tightly and refrigerate for at the very least 1 hour or as much as 48 hours.
- In the meantime, make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Frivolously spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, line the underside with a circle of parchment paper, and put aside.
- In a big bowl, stir collectively the all-purpose flour, entire wheat flour, brown sugar, hazelnuts, and salt. Pour within the melted butter, then use a silicone spatula to stir till the combination resembles moist sand. Gently press the crust into the ready pan in a good layer, permitting it to return up the perimeters for a skinny crust. Refrigerate till agency, at the very least 20 minutes or as much as 12 hours.
- Bake the crust till it’s golden brown, aromatic, and barely crisp to the contact, 20–25 minutes. Put aside to chill utterly to room temperature earlier than filling.
- Once you’re able to bake the cheesecake, preheat the oven to 300°F. Wrap the underside of the springform pan tightly with aluminum foil and place it in a baking dish that’s at the very least 2 inches deep. Pour the filling into the crust, then place the baking dish within the oven. Pour scorching water into the baking dish to a depth of 1 inch, then bake till the cheesecake is ready across the edges however nonetheless barely jiggly within the heart, about 1 hour.
- Take away the baking dish from the oven and funky the cheesecake, nonetheless in its water bathtub, utterly to room temperature. Take away the cooled cheesecake from the water bathtub, cowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at the very least 6 and as much as 12 hours.
- Make the plum compote: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Pit the plums and lower into halves or quarters, relying on their dimension. In a 9- by 13-inch baking dish, toss the plums with the olive oil, then stir within the sugar, lemon juice, thyme, salt, and the reserved vanilla bean pod. Switch to the oven and roast, stirring as soon as midway by means of cooking, till the plums are jammy, vibrant, and effervescent, 20–25 minutes. Take away from the oven and put aside to chill to room temperature. Take away and discard the thyme stems and vanilla pod, then scrape the cooled compote into an hermetic container and refrigerate.
- To unmold the cheesecake, run a skinny knife across the edge, then rigorously take away the outer ring of the springform pan. Slide the cake onto a serving platter and prime with the plum compote. Lower into wedges and serve chilled.