- 1 package graham crackers (there should be 9)
- 3 tablespoons organic cane sugar
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅓ cup butter, melted
- 1 ½ cups muscadine grapes, rinsed, halved, seeds removed (Concord grapes are equally good)
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed
- lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon organic cane sugar
- 32 ounces fresh goat cheese, softened
- 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 ¼ cups organic cane sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 eggs plus 1 egg yolk from pastured chickens (they impart a more satiny flavor and body)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
Place graham crackers into a resealable plastic bag. Lean a rolling pin onto the bag and roll back and forth to crush the crackers into crumbs. I like the quality of a rustic crust, but if you prefer a finer crust, just go over it enough times with the rolling pin until you’ve achieved a texture you like.
In a medium bowl mix crumbs, sugar, kosher salt, and cinnamon together. Pour in melted butter and stir to combine. Use a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon to spread and press the mixture evenly into a 9-inch springform pan. Moving from center outward, compress thicker areas thinner, pressing to compact the crust. Press up the sides of the tin, ensuring the crust is even at its base and thin towards at the top edge. Chill to set. (This can be done a day in advance.)
Place lemon juice, 1 tablespoon sugar, and grapes in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar, mash grapes with the back of a fork, and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat after 5-7 minutes and allow to cool. Puree mixture in a blender or food processor. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve, pressing puree through into a bowl beneath. Discard or compost remaining skins and set puree aside.
Preheat oven to 500°. In a large bowl, beat cheeses with a hand or stand mixer until silky and fluffy. Add vanilla and zest, and mix to combine. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar, flour, and salt. Gradually blend this into the cheese. One at a time, add eggs and additional yolk, whipping to combine. Gently incorporate cream.
Pour mixture into pan and drizzle muscadine puree on top. Using a thin skewer, drag grape puree through the cheesecake in a swirling motion, shaping a design of your liking. Place onto a baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes. Lower temperature to 200° and bake for about 45-55 minutes, until edges are golden and center still jiggles. Turn oven off, and with door ajar, allow to cool inside for about an hour. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, up to overnight. Use a small kitchen torch run lightly around the periphery of the springform to release the cake from the collar, open springform clasp, transfer cake to a serving platter or stand, and serve at once.