Food52 is one of the Internet’s most popular destinations for home cooks and bakers. But with so many yummy-looking recipes, it can be hard for bakers to decide where to begin. That’s where Kristen Miglore comes in. She had the enviable task of curating recipes from great bakers like Alice Medrich, Yotam Ottolenghi, and even Dorie Greenspan (whose “World Peace Cookies” remains one of Food52’s all-time most popular recipes). For the new book, “Genius Desserts,” Miglore made and sorted through superstar sweets to build a canon of confection.
This recipe comes from Louisa Shafia’s “The New Persian Kitchen.” Miglore calls Shafia’s no-bake cheesecake a “cheery dessert,” because there’s no need to heat up the house with an oven or worry about cracks in the cake. The funky, salty goat cheese is a counterpoint to the refreshing tartness of the fruit flavors. Can’t find Hachiya persimmons? Substitute in ripe peaches or mangoes, pending their availability.
Yield: One 9 or 10-inch cheesecake
1 1⁄2 cups shelled pistachios
1⁄2 cup heavy cream, very cold
1 cup finely crushed graham crackers (from just over 5 whole crackers)
3⁄4 cup plus 3 tablespoons melted unrefined coconut oil, slightly cooled
1⁄2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1⁄2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup plus 2 tsp sugar
Fine sea salt
5 very ripe Hachiya persimmons or other fruit
1 lb fresh goat cheese, at room temperature, crumbled
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
Prepare the nuts: Toast the pistachios in a large skillet over low heat, tossing occasionally, until they turn golden and smell nutty, about 5 minutes. Let cool. Lightly oil a 9-or 10-inch (23 or 25cm) springform pan with coconut oil.
Mix whipped cream: In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer or by hand, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Scrape the whipped cream into a small bowl to refrigerate briefly, but don’t wash the mixer and bowl.
Combine dry ingredients: In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios, graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil, the cinnamon, cardamom, 2 tablespoons of the sugar, and a pinch of salt until the mixture clumps easily when pinched with your fingers. Scrape the crumb mixture into the springform pan and spread evenly over the bottom, pressing it down with your hands. Use the bottom of a juice glass to pack it down well.
Purée the fruit: Halve the persimmons, scoop the pulp into a blender, and puree at high speed until smooth. If you want an even smoother purée, you can pass it through a fine-mesh strainer. Set aside 1⁄2 cup of the purée and store the rest airtight in the refrigerator.
Finish the cheesecake: With the still-messy mixer and bowl, whip the goat cheese, the remaining 3⁄4 cup (150g) coconut oil, and the remaining 1 cup (200g) sugar until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes. Fold in the 1⁄2 cup (120ml) persimmon purée, the lime juice, and a pinch of salt, then fold in the whipped cream. Scrape the creamy mixture into the crust and smooth the top. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate until firm, at least 4 hours.
Serve and enjoy: To serve, run a thin knife around the inside edge of the pan, remove the sides of the pan, and cut the cheesecake into wedges. Garnish each slice with a generous spoonful of the remaining persimmon purée and pass the rest of the purée at the table. Store leftovers in the refrigerator airtight.