The combination of cream cheese, goat cheese, and crème fraîche yields an impossibly light cheesecake (and a stage for any seasonal fruit you want to use). Apples and cardamom work especially well as a complement to the cake's creaminess and tang. Adapted slightly from Melissa Clark's Crème Fraîche Cheesecake. —Samantha Weiss Hills
one 9-inch round cheesecake
1 1/2 cups
fresh goat cheese
sugar, plus 3 tablespoons
1 1/2 cups
large, red-skinned apples, chopped
ground cardamom, plus more to taste
To make the cheesecake, heat the oven to 325°F. Wrap the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and place on a baking sheet.
Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and goat cheese until very smooth. Add the 1/2 cup of sugar and continue beating until no lumps remain. Beat in the crème fraîche, vanilla, and pepper. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions, and beat until combined.
Pour the mixture into the pan and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 250°F and bake until the cake is just set (it will still wobble a little in the middle), 45 to 60 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
While the cheesecake is cooling, make the apple cardamom compote. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, add the apples, cardamom, and sugar, and then cover three-quarters of the apples with water. Cook the liquid in the pan until the compote reduces by half and comes together, about 45 minutes. Set aside until the cheesecake is ready to serve.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake from the pan before removing and serving with the apple compote.