I first met Anne Saxelby in 2008 once 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 shortly turned a job. I wanted to pay my lease, however furthermore, I wanted to feed my insatiable urge for food for all issues culinary. Cheese was all the time 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 identify got here up day by day. Her younger cheese stall in Essex Market could have been small, however—similar to Anne—it was mighty, and even then I may inform she was unstoppable.
Nearly everybody within the cheese world appeared to know Anne. She was disrupting the American dairy business in one of the best ways, by showcasing home cheeses that would 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 way to make mozzarella with cultured curds from Pennsylvania, after which, even higher, the way to flip that mozzarella into stracciatella the following day. Should you liked cheese even an iota as a lot as Anne did, you have been an immediate buddy. She welcomed me on a number of events—beaming with delight—into her little cheese collapse Purple Hook, feeding me slivers of no matter wheels her staff 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 unimaginable work. She educated her prospects and a brand new era of cheese makers and mongers and, step by step, she modified the best way 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 schooling and sustainable agriculture. Nobody had integrity fairly like Anne, and I can’t consider a extra becoming approach 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 turn out to be certainly one of my signature desserts. I used to be honored that Anne got here to style this dish over time in numerous institutions—most just lately 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 season. I hope you’ll make this magnificence at residence, 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. recent goat cheese, softened at room temperature
- 1¼ cup sugar
- 1 Tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
- 1 vanilla bean, cut 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 complete wheat flour
- ⅓ cup gentle 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 sorts and colours)
- 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp. recent 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 just a few occasions to interrupt up any lumps. Drizzle within the heavy cream, pulsing and infrequently utilizing a silicone spatula to scrape down the edges and backside of the bowl as wanted, till no lumps stay (don’t overmix). Separately, add the eggs by means of the processor’s feed tube, pulsing till every egg is totally integrated earlier than including the following.
- Place a tremendous 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 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, complete 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 an excellent layer, permitting it to come back up the edges for a skinny crust. Refrigerate till agency, at the 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.
- Whenever 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 least 2 inches deep. Pour the filling into the crust, then place the baking dish within the oven. Pour sizzling 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 middle, about 1 hour.
- Take away the baking dish from the oven and funky the cheesecake, nonetheless in its water tub, utterly to room temperature. Take away the cooled cheesecake from the water tub, cowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at the 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 fastidiously take away the outer ring of the springform pan. Slide the cake onto a serving platter and prime with the plum compote. Minimize into wedges and serve chilled.