Gastronomixs

Goat’s cheese cheesecake and strawberries

This month’s guest chef is Emma Bengtsson, who grew up in a small town on the west coast of Sweden. She became interested in the culinary arts at a very young age thanks to her grandmother who was an avid home cook. The baking and cooking of Emma’s youth grew into a professional aspiration when she enrolled in Stockholm’s Hotel and Restaurant School, where she trained in every restaurant role, from savoury cooking and pastry creation to waiting tables and working as a hostess. 

Emma's experience spans many of Sweden's acclaimed restaurants such as Edsbacka Krog**, the only two-Michelin-starred restaurant in Sweden at that time, Restaurant Prinsen, and Operakällaren* in Stockholm’s Opera House where she worked for nearly five years. 

Emma joined Aquavit** as Executive Pastry Chef in 2010, and quickly became known for her creative interpretations of classic Scandinavian desserts. Her style was reflective of the region’s penchant for local products, progressive techniques, and continuing traditions. And it was well received, as Aquavit was recognized with one star in the New York City Michelin Guide in 2013 and 2014. In 2014 she became executive chef and Aquavit earned its second Michelin star. Emma is the second female chef in the U.S. to run a two-star kitchen and the first ever Swedish female chef to do so.

Emma’s kitchen is built on Nordic cuisine, the cornerstone of Sweden’s 500-year-old culinary tradition. The country is surrounded by water, providing an abundance of seafood, and the land is covered by forests rich in game, berries, mushrooms, and other wild foods. Short seasons inspired the custom of pickling and preserving, and the signature Nordic flavour profile is a balance of sweet and salt. Emma shares three of her beautiful Nordic Cuisine dishes with us.

Creation by Emma Bengtsson, Aquavit**, New York, United States of America.
Photography by Signe Brick.

Goat’s cheese cheesecake and strawberries

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Ingredients

1200

g

Graham crumbs

26

g

salt

6

g

black pepper

500

g

butter, melted

As needed:

 

cooking spray

400

g

Bucheron (rind removed)

175

g

goat’s cheese

320

g

cream cheese

230

g

Greek yogurt

11

g

salt

760

g

goat’s milk

140

g

sugar

24

g

gelatin

450

g

Mara de bois purée

50

g

strawberry vinegar

50

g

sugar

14

g

apple pectin

500

g

sugar

50

g

glucose

50

g

trimoline

8

g

citric acid

As needed:

 

cooking spray

260

g

butter

200

g

oil

460

g

brown sugar

600

g

honey

15

g

salt

8

g

baking powder

550

g

milk

1670

g

whole wheat

280

g

wheat bran

50

g

wheat germ

As Needed:

 

honeycomb

As Needed:

 

strawberries, fresh

As Needed:

 

florals and herbs

Preparation method: Graham crust
  • Mix all the ingredients.
  • Line two  flat ½ sheet trays with cooking spray and parchment.
  • Place 575g of the mixture onto each tray and cover loosely with plastic.
  • Flatten with a marble rolling pin and bake at 160°C for three minutes.
  • Pack the rest into pints and refrigerate.
 Preparation method: goat’s cheese cheesecake
  • Bloom the gelatin and set aside.
  • Heat the bucheron, goat’s cheese, cream cheese, Greek yoghurt, and salt in a bain-marie.
  • Heat the goat’s milk and sugar until scalding and then add the gelatin (do not boil).
  • Pour this over the cheeses and emulsify with a hand-held blender.
  • Cool in an ice bath until cold to the touch. Be careful not to let the sides set.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture into one crust. Leave to set for at least six hours.
Preparation method: wild strawberry pâte de fruit
  • Line two flat ½ sheet trays with Silpats and lightly spray with the cooking spray.
  • In a pot, combine the purée, vinegar, glucose, and trimoline.
  • Whisk together the 50g of sugar and apple pectin and whisk into the liquid. Be careful not to let it clump. Bring to a rolling boil.
  • Add the sugar in three additions, returning to a rolling boil each time.
  • Add the citric acid and place 500g of the mixture onto each tray and level. Leave to set and then cut into strips.
Preparation method: Graham dough
  • Mix the whole wheat, wheat bran and wheat germ. Use 1500g total, save the rest.
  • Cream the butter, sugar, honey, and salt until pale and fluffy. Mix in the oil.
  • Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients and then 1/3 of the milk, and repeat alternating between the dry ingredients and the milk.
  • Roll out the dough between two sheets of parchment. Chill and bake 20 minutes at 150°C then grind in a Robot-Coupe.
Finishing and presentation
  • Place the cheesecake at the 10:00 position off-center on the plate.
  • Place thin strips of the pâte de fruit and honeycomb on top of and alongside the cake.
  • Spoon additional graham dough crumble alongside.
  • Garnish with thin slices of strawberries and local florals and herbs.

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