Food & wine

Goat's cheese and soft herb savoury cheesecake

Proof that cheesecakes aren't just for dessert, this creamy savoury version is a lighter alternative to quiches or tarts, perfect for a spring lunch or supper. It has the great benefit of being able to be prepared well ahead of time without you so much as having to turn the oven on, making it ideal for entertaining too.

Felicity Cloake's Goat's Cheese And Soft Herb Savoury Cheesecake

Recipes for Sauvignon Blanc

Goat's cheese is classically paired with sauvignon blanc, particularly unoaked versions whose fresh acidity acts as a foil to its richness, while the grape's characteristic zesty, grassy notes work well with the herbs here. If you're not keen on goat's cheese however, feel free to substitute a thick cream cheese instead (I like the Breton stuff now stocked in several supermarkets, though others will do; as with the ricotta in the recipe, drain it before use).

The flavourings are similarly versatile, so think of this as a base recipe, which would be good with asparagus, tomatoes and other seasonal veg and soft herbs as the year rolls on or even with the addition of a few spoonfuls of honey and perhaps some vanilla seeds instead of the lemon zest, as a vehicle for summer fruits. Note that if you'd like to make it gluten-free, be sure to check the packaging of the oatcakes, as not all brands qualify.

Felicity Cloake's Goat's Cheese and Soft Herb Savoury Cheesecake

Serves 6-8

  • 125g butter, plus extra to grease
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 250g plain oatcakes
  • 50g walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 500g ricotta
  • 475g creamy goat's cheese
  • 1 lemon, zest only
  • 15g chives
  • 25g mint
  • 200g shelled peas (frozen are fine)

1. Start by making the base. Melt the butter and honey together. Break the oatcakes up roughly and put them in a food processor with the walnuts. Whizz to a chunky crumb. (You can also do this by putting them in a sealed plastic bag and bashing them with a rolling pin.) Drizzle in the melted butter and honey and a pinch of salt and stir to combine.

2. Grease a springform tin about 23cm wide with butter and spread the oatcake mixture out evenly across the base using a glass or similar to press it down firmly. Chill while you make the topping.

3. Drain the ricotta and goat's cheese in a sieve, then whizz the two together using a blender or beat firmly with a wooden spoon or electric beaters until smooth and well combined.

4. Grate in the lemon zest and roughly chop the herbs, stripping the mint leaves from their stalks and discarding the latter. Fold these into the cheese mixture and season to taste.

5. Spoon this on top of the base, smooth the top then put back in the fridge for at least an hour and up to a couple of days.

6. Shortly before you want to serve, cook the peas in boiling water for a minute, then tip into a bowl of iced water and allow to cool before draining well.

7. Run a palette knife round the edge of the cake then spread the peas out on top in an even layer before unmoulding.

Felicity Cloake

Guest Writer

Felicity Cloake

Felicity Cloake is an award-winning writer specialising in food and drink and has a regular column with The Guardian.

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