I can’t believe the Tourteau de Chèvre (soufflé goat cheese cheesecake) I made looks exactly the same as the photograph in the cookbook down to every little detail. Burnished crackly top? Check. Flaky crust that beautifully fuses to the filling up the side of the cake? Check. Smooth and airy filling in custardy yellow? Check. If there is a device to materialize items in photographs to reality, my cheesecake would be the perfect example for this recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Check out the picture here and see for yourself.
I love this cheesecake so much I don’t even know where to begin. As much as I enjoy a slice of creamy and dense cheesecake (hello Junior’s!), my heart belongs to the soufflé style that is closer to cake than custard. When the Japanese soufflé cheesecake fad swept Hong Kong years ago, I ate so many that I eventually came up with a recipe of my own so I could have it anytime. The texture is like sponge cake, except there’s an underlying richness and mildly tangy taste from cheese. How absolutely amazing. The filling of this tourteau de chèvre is exactly the same except for a slightly more tangy taste from the unripened goat cheese. Such delicate flavour needs a light hand to complement. I flavoured my cheesecake with orange zest and orange flower water for a bit of citrus brightness.
The cheesecake filling is encased in classic tart dough (pâte brisée). Making tart dough is not exactly one of my favourite activities but this recipe from Greenspan is tops in terms of ease and reliability. It is flaky, tender, and buttery like tart dough ought to be. But I am happiest to report that the dough is extremely well-behaved. It clumped together effortlessly into a disk. When I rolled it out, it was pliable and easily stretched to the desired thickness. I cannot wait to make this again next week for quiche. It required a little fitness to fit the dough nicely inside the springform pan but nothing that a bit of patience cannot achieve.
I served mine with a few candied kumquats to echo the citrus flavour of the cake. Although being only barely sweetened, I think this tourteau would pair well with something more along the sweet and savoury side. Just in time for spring, how about strawberries balsamic vinegar compote? If you want an even heavier savoury leaning, how does fig chutney sound? I think that would make a fantastic cheese course. As for me, my absolute favourite way to enjoy this is the simplest. Just take a knife and serve myself a thin (or not-so-thin) wedge to snack out of hand. No plate or cutlery necessary!
Alas, I love this tourteau de chèvre just a little too much. In fact, if I keep it around, I am certain that I will finish the whole cake all by myself. Therefore it is in my best interest to live by the famous quote “if you love it, set it free”. Farewell little cheesecake, make my friends happy the same way you made me!