When weather is hot and humid as it's been lately on the East Coast, last thing you want to do is turn the oven no.
No-Bake Persimmon and Goat Cheese Cheesecake
Whenever I bring home persimmons, I always imagine that I’ll work them into an artful, sophisticated dish. But their coral color and honeysuckle flavor are so alluring that as soon as they ripen, I invariably tear into one raw, scooping out the flesh in sheer, uninhibited delight. Perhaps that’s why I’ve created a dessert that leaves the pure flavor of persimmons intact. This airy cheesecake requires no cooking, and the sauce is simply pureed persimmons.
Make the cheesecake at least 4 hours before serving, or even the day before, so it’s firm and easy to slice. Try substituting ripe mangoes or peaches for the persimmons; because both of these fruits hold their shape, you can puree enough to go inside the cake and dice the rest to use as a topping.
Makes one 10-inch cake
1/2 cup heavy cream
11/2 cups pistachios, toasted
1 cup crushed graham crackers
3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil, melted and cooled
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
11/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons organic cane sugar
5 very ripe hachiya persimmons
1 pound fresh goat cheese, at room temperature, crumbled
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
Lightly oil a 10-inch springform pan with coconut oil.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream into stiff peaks. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside in the refrigerator. Replace the mixer bowl without washing.
In a food processor, combine the pistachios and graham crackers with 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil, the cinnamon, the cardamom, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Add a pinch of salt and pulse until the mixture clumps easily. Transfer to the springform pan and spread evenly over the bottom. Press down with the bottom of a juice glass to pack it down evenly.
Scoop the flesh from the persimmons and puree in a blender until smooth. Set aside 1/2 cup of the puree, and store the rest in the refrigerator.
Combine the goat cheese, the remaining 3/4 cup coconut oil, and the remaining 1 cup sugar in the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat for 2 to 3 minutes, until smooth. Fold in the 1/2 cup persimmon puree, the lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Fold in the whipped cream. Pour the mixture into the springform pan and smooth the top. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, until firm.
To serve, remove the pan sides and cut the cheesecake into wedges. Garnish each serving with a generous spoonful of the persimmon puree. The cheesecake will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
(* Excerpted from 'The New Persian Kitchen' by Louisa Shafia-published by Ten Speed Press, Spring 2013- Photography by Sara Remington)