Greek Cheesecake w/ Shiraz Drenched Berries
DISCLAIMER: This is by no means a traditional Greek cheesecake. I have no idea if they even DO cheesecakes, it’s just a cheesecake in honour of the awesome ingredients used, some of which are traditionally Greek. (Take that, trolls!)
I love to experiment with different ingredients and cheeses in my cheesecakes, to bring out different flavours, and to see what pairs well. Some are a bit too sweet for my palette, some aren’t tart enough, etc. Today, we experimented with Feta Cheese! The result was a grittier, earthier cheesecake, which I felt was perfectly complimented by the wine, and both still allowed the flavour of the honey to shine through.
- 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tbsp butter
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
For cheesecake filling
- 1.5 8oz packages cream cheese (always full fat with cheesecake), room temp
- 225 g Feta
- 1 tbsp sour cream
- 1/2 cup greek yogurt (full fat always, just like the cream cheese)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1/4 cup thickened cream
- 3 whole eggs, 1 yolk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 a lemon, you’ll use both the juice and the rind
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1 cup Shiraz
- 1.5 cup berries (frozen or fresh)
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1/3 cup thickened cream (whipping cream)
Place rack in centre of oven and preheat to 350F (176C).
Grease springform pan. You can use whichever size you’d like, just take into account: the bigger the pan, the thinner the cake, the shorter the cooking time 🙂.
Using a food processor or a bag and rolling pin, make fine crumbs out of your cookies. Melt the butter in pan over medium heat. Combine the two in a large bowl, add salt. Press into pan bottom, and slightly up the sides. Bake 10 min.
Remove from oven and reduce heat to 320F (150C). Allow crust to cool.
In a medium sized bowl, whisk together wine, powdered sugar, and cream. Add berries. Cover and refrigerate.
Cream feta with handmixer until smooth and creamy (no lumps). Add cream cheese and do the same.
Add sugar, blend 2 min. Scrape sides of bowl and blend for another 2 min. Salt, blend, scape. Vanilla, blend, scrape. Greek yogurt, blend, scrape. Sour cream, cream, blend, scrape. Now for the weird part: shave a tsp of the lemon rind off and set aside using a grater. Peel the lemon, throw the meaty bit into the mixture and blend. Beat in eggs and yolk, one at a time. Throw in the shaved lemon rind and continue to mix for another 3 minutes. Remove lemon remains (the chunk of lemon you initially threw in should have had most of its juice beat out of it).
Wrap springform pan containing crust in tin foil. Pour cheesecake batter on top of crust. Drizzle 1 tbsp of honey overtop.
Bake at 320F (150C) for 45 min, or until the top is golden, and most of the cake is firm when you move it (only the very middle jiggles a tiny bit). After the 45 min, shut the oven off, open the door, but leave the cake in. Cheesecake doesn’t like quick temperature changes (makes it crack). After a few minutes, pull it out of the oven and onto a cooling rack. Run a knife between the cake and the side of the pan to further prevent cracking (cake contracts when cooling). Allow to cool at room temp for 30 mins.
Place in freezer for a minimum 2 hours, but, honestly, it’s best refrigerate overnight.
Before serving, drizzle remaining honey over entire cake.
I would recommend only adding the wine/berry mixture as each piece is served, versus over the entire cake as it is absorbed by the dessert quite quickly.