Mini cheesecakes au chèvre et cerises

Mini cherry cheesecakes with goat cheese

This simple recipe combines creamy goat cheese and fresh cherries to make mini crustless cheesecakes with an unusual and delicate edge. The batter is baked in little soufflé cups in the French bain-marie style — set in a recipient of hot water before going into the oven.

For best results, use a young, smooth goat cheese. In France, I’d recommend Chavroux or an equivalent. If you’re not in France and cannot find chevre frais, then use the softest goat cheese available, cut off the rind, mash with a fork and add an extra tablespoon of cream. And of course choose the ripest, juiciest cherries on the market.

The quantities below will serve 5 people.

1/2 pound (250 g) cherries
5 ounces (150 g) fresh goat cheese
pinch of salt (optional, see below)
1 egg
1/4 cup (60 g) sugar, preferably cassonnade or demerara
2 tbsp. crème fraîche or sour cream
1 tsp. butter

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (350 F, 180 C).

Rinse, de-stem and pit the cherries. Set aside.

Spoon the goat cheese into a mixing bowl. Taste it. If it’s a bit salty, fine. If not, add a pinch of salt. Beat or whisk until smooth.

Add the egg, sugar and cream and mix until well blended.

Lightly butter five small soufflé cups. Distribute the cherries, then ladle on the cream.

Bring a pot of water to the boil. Find a cake or pie tin large enough to accommodate the five cups. When the water boils, fill the tin to a depth of about 1/2 inch (1.5 cm).

Now carefully place the cups in the tin.

Transfer to the oven, turn the heat down to gas mark 5 (300 F, 150 C) and bake for about 20 minutes, until the cakes have set and the top is turning golden.

Turn off the heat, but leave the cakes in the oven for another half hour or so, then remove from the oven, cool on a rack and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serves 5.

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