Note: this recipe was part of a book I wrote called Eat Like A Maisel.
Yield: 2–4 servings
Why does everything have to be so sweet all the time?
I want bitter. Give me bitter. And sour. Maybe a little salty in there for good measure. I’m done with all the sweet.
Where did we go wrong?
America loves sugar. Ohhh boy, do we love sugar. And can you blame us? It’s the sweet white powder. Our Cromag brains go bonkers when we taste sugar.
Enter this dessert. This is a dessert for people who don’t like things too sweet. It looks sweet. Sounds sweet. But it’s not too sweet. A lot like Midge. She looks like a nice, normal 1950s housewife but when she gets on stage, there’s a whole other side of her.
4 ounces (114 g) cream cheese
1⁄4 cup (100 g) crème fraîche
11⁄2 tablespoons (40 g) sugar
1⁄4 cup (60 g) heavy cream
1⁄2 vanilla bean
For the Graham Cracker Topping:
8 (60 g) graham crackers
1⁄2 cup (60 g) pistachios
1 stick (113 g) butter
Salt, to taste
For the cheesecake
Use an electric hand mixer to beat the cream cheese and crème fraîche in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and cream and beat to mix until smooth again. Use a paring knife to cut a vanilla bean in half and reserve the other half for another use. Slice down the vanilla bean half to open the bean and expose the seeds inside. Take care not to cut all the way through the vanilla bean. Open the pod by folding the sides back and slide the knife down the length of the bean to scrape out all the seeds. Add them to the bowl along with the egg and beat to combine.
Preheat the oven to 325 ̊F. Put the mix in a 4-inch by 13⁄4-inch springform pan, place it on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet, and put it in the oven. Bake until the cake is set, about 25 to 30 minutes. It should still wobble a bit in the center.
For the topping
Add graham crackers and pistachios to a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Process until it’s a fine meal.
Add butter to a small skillet over medium heat. It’ll melt, then bubble, then bubble smaller bubbles. When it smells nutty, remove from heat and pour into the graham cracker mixture.
Stir. It’ll look like wet sand. After it cools a moment, taste it and add salt to taste. I usually add 1⁄2 teaspoon, but add as much or as little as you like. Refrigerate until ready to serve, at least 2 hours.