My friend the Triple Crème Queen offered to throw a party. She knew I was devoting the month of March to blue cheese, so she offered to host a brunch. No one timid was invited.
She made a beautiful blue cheesecake.
It looked like a moonscape. Picture a smooth surface with tiny blue craters. I wanted to put a flag in it, claim it as unchartered territory, but turns out recipes for blue cheesecake abound on the Internet. Come out, come out, blue-cheesecake lovers, wherever you are.
Triple Crème baked up a recipe from her favorite chefs, Eric Patterson and Jennifer Blakeslee, at Cook's House in Traverse City, Michigan. The recipe called for two pounds of cream cheese and 8 ounces of creamy blue (she used Saint Agur). Alongside: vanilla pear compote.
I think this cake is the perfect vehicle for conversion. By that I mean: conversion experience. Say you are a Blue Cheese Skeptic, or say you live among the Uncertain. I meet them all the time – people at the cheese counter who won’t let anything blue pass their lips, although they think nothing of eating a hotdog. Okay. Hmm.
The texture of this cake is dense and crumble-moist.
As you eat it, you taste a winged sweetness, so faint. Then Saint Agur flutterkicks – a bold but gentle move. The pairing of blue cheese with pears is classic, so the compote fits like a habit on this nun.
I had to take a picture – really, I was moved to – after I ate the first bite. Just so I could relive the experience on lonely lettuce nights.
If you can’t find Saint Agur, try a creamy blue like Maytag, Cashel, or Black Castello.
Blue Cheese Cheesecake with Pear Compote
from The Cook's House
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces blue cheese, broken into small pieces
6 firm, ripe pears
2 cups Riesling wine
½ cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
zest of ½ orange
juice of ½ lemon
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
Put 1 cup sugar, flour, eggs, and cream cheese in a bowl. Combine using an electric mixer, mixing until smooth. Carefully fold in blue cheese. Don’t over-mix or you’ll end up with a grey cake. Pour into springform pan. Bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before unmolding.
For the pear compote:
Cube the pears – no need to peel them. Combine the wine and ½ cup sugar in a 4-qyart pot. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add vanilla bean, pears, and orange zest. Coook for 5 minutes – the pears will get tender and the sauce will thicken – then pour into a bowl. Add the lemon juice, mix well and cool.
Serve compote alongside slices of cheesecake, along with glasses of Ice Wine, Champagne, or Sauternes.
For dessert: Triple Creme served the most sensuous brownies, dotted with sea salt and pistachios. She is a Charlie's Angel, this girl. You must meet her. Her brownie recipe is over at her blog, Aesthetically. Be sure to dilly-dally.