Berry Chèvre Cheesecake Squares with Gluten-Free Pistachio Crust, and 5 years of Bojon

Fresh goat cheese and cream cheese make up these cheesecake bars studded with fresh raspberries and blueberries, all perched atop a gluten-free pistachio shortbread crust.

Today is the fifth blogiversary of The Bojon Gourmet! I can’t believe how the time has flown by. Five years ago, I wanted to share a recipe I’d developed for sourdough crackers made with spelt flour, and Jay encouraged me to put the recipe up on a blog. (Thanks, hon!) I loved creating and sharing recipes so much that I’m still at it five years later, just as obsessively as ever.

I’m most grateful for all of the amazing people I’ve met, virtually and in the flesh, through writing this blog. A huge thanks to everyone who reads, makes, comments, and shares! It is your support that keeps me thinking up recipes, making them 20 times until I get them just right, taking pictures of my dinner until it’s cold, and (sometimes) forgoing watching Arrested Development in favor of writing late-night posts. I could do it without you… but I probably wouldn’t – that would be no fun at all.

This is an extra-fun month for me not only due to reaching the five year mark, but also because recipes of mine are featured in print for the first time since I won a recipe contest eight years ago. (And then they didn’t even print my actual recipe. More on that here.) Along with a host of scrumptious Fall recipes, Go Gluten-Free‘s September/October issue boasts two of my favorite Fall libations (Pomegranate Margaritas and Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur) in a spread called In Good Spirits.

Additionally, my first cookbook review was published in Blikki magazine yesterday. Turn to page 30 to read about my most-loved book of the year, Vibrant Food by Kimberly Hasslebrink.

To celebrate the blogiversary last weekend, we made some of our favorite late-summer dishes and invited a few friends over to help us eat them. There was Melon with Feta, Mint and Lime,

One for the Money Cocktails,

Toasted Pan Bagnat,

and a few local cheeses, pickles, olives, and crackers. (In fact, altogether we had nine different types of cheese, including the two in the dessert. Fitting.) Amelia, my dear friend and biggest fan, brought a Farmer’s Market Cornbread

and a batch of Gluten-Free+ Vegan Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Cookies.

(And noting that the fifth anniversary is known as the “wooden anniversary,” she also brought me a beautiful teak board that I can’t wait to shoot food on.) Other friends showered me with flowers, champagne, and about 20 pounds of home-grown concord grapes (recipe coming soon), proving that blogiversaries are way better than regular birthdays.

For dessert I made a version of the Huckleberry Chèvre Cheesecake Squares that I developed four years ago to celebrate my site’s first birthday. Huckleberries are in season from now until late November, but we haven’t yet had time to forage for them, so I used raspberries and blueberries instead, which are still in season here and work beautifully. I upped the goat cheese, and traded the all-purpose flour in the crust for a neutral-tasting blend of millet, sweet rice flour, and cornstarch.

The protein in the nuts joins forces with the sticky rice flour to help the crust hold together, and it bakes into a buttery-salty shortbread that is the perfect foil for tangy cheese topping and sweet-tart berries. Vanilla bean and lemon zest give these tiny sweets a big, bold cheesecake flavor.

Many thanks to all of the loving and supportive readers in my life, and especially Jay, who not only wins the artisan bread and brings home the pasture-raised bacon, but also does the dishes.

Thanks for reading! For more Bojon Gourmet in your life, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Bloglovin’, or Twitter, subscribe to receive new posts via email, or make a donation.

One year ago:
Blackberry Balsamic Crisps with Rye Oat Crumble
Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

Two years ago:
Super-Moist Pink Pearl Apple Cake
Fresh Fig and Goat Cheese Flatbread with Arugula and Balsamic Reduction
Roasted Eggplant Tomato Tart

Three years ago:
Sweet Corn Grits with Berries and Honey
Ginger Plum Crumble
Roasted Eggplant Pizza with Fontina and Olives

Four years ago:
Smoky Baba Ganouj
Vanilla Brown Butter Peach Buckle
Pink Pearl Apple Custard Tart

Five years ago:
Spelty Sourdough Crackers

Berry Chèvre Cheesecake Squares with Gluten-Free Pistachio Crust

Adapted from my Huckleberry Chèvre Cheesecake Squares which were adapted from Williams Sonoma Baking

These bars take about 1 1/2 hours total to assemble and bake, plus an additional 4 hours to cool and chill. They are excellent the day of and after baking, when the crust is still crisp, but keep well for up to 4 or 5 days in the fridge.These will be extra delicious if made with high-quality cream cheese and fresh goat’s cheese; I prefer Sierra Nevada cheeses, which are free from gums and stabilizers. To quickly warm your cheeses and eggs to room temperature (essential to achieving non-lumpy cheesecake), place a towel on top of your preheating oven. Scoop the cheeses into a metal bowl, and the eggs (cracked or not) in another bowl. Place the bowls on the towel while you make your crust. Rotate occasionally, and remove when they reach room temperature to the touch.The bars are easily made in a food processor. Lacking one, you can chop the nuts finely by hand, and mix both the crust and filling in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or by hand in a large bowl. For a more pronounced goat cheesy flavor, substitute another 2 – 4 ounces of chevre for an equal amount of cream cheese.For thicker bars, bake the cake in a 9″ square pan and increase the baking time by about 10 minutes.

Makes 24 medium-sized bars

For the Crust:
3/4 cup shelled pistachios (I used raw ones, but toasted ones are fine, too), plus extra for decorating (optional)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons millet flour
1/2 cup sweet white rice flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup organic blonde cane sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 3/4″ chunks

For the Filling:
6 ounces fresh goat cheese, room temperature
10 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup organic blonde cane sugar
2 tablespoons sweet white rice flour
seeds from 1 vanilla bean, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
zest of 1 small lemon
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries (plus extra for decorating)
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (plus extra for decorating)

Prepare things:
Position a rack in the bottom-center of your oven and preheat to 350º. Line a 9 x 12″ rimmed baking pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil cut to fit width-wise, leaving an overhang on each side. (This will help you lift the cake out of the pan after baking, making cutting easier.)

Make the crust:
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pistachios, millet flour, rice flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture begins to form large, coarse crumbs, and holds together when squeezed, about 30 seconds. Dump the mixture into the lined pan, and press firmly and evenly with your hands.

Bake the crust until golden and puffed, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and gently press the crust down with the back of a spoon, or the bottom of a flat measuring cup; this will help it hold together when sliced.

Make the filling:
Meanwhile, wipe out the food processor. Combine the cheeses, sugar, flour, vanilla bean seeds, lemon zest and salt and blend just until smooth, about 5-10 seconds. Add the eggs, process until smooth, then scrape down the bowl. Add the cream and process until smooth. Scrape once more, and blend again if at all lumpy.

Scatter the berries evenly over the cooled crust, and pour the filling over, distributing it evenly. Bake the cheesecake until the center is set, 15-25 minutes. It should wobble like jell-o when you shake it gently, but not be watery or liquid. Remove to a cooling rack and let cool 1 hour, then cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight, until firm and cold.

To slice the bars, use the parchment paper handles to carefully lift the cheesecake out of the pan (it may crack a little bit, but this is not the end of the world.) Place on a large cutting board. Fill a pitcher with hot tap water and have some paper towels handy, or an old (but clean!) dish towel that you don’t mind getting stained. With a large, sharp chef’s knife dipped in the hot water and wiped completely dry between each cut, cut the cheesecake into 24 squares (or whatever size you like).

Place each square in a standard paper muffin liner if you like, and top with a pistachio, halved raspberry, and a blueberry.

Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four or five days.

47 thoughts on “Berry Chèvre Cheesecake Squares with Gluten-Free Pistachio Crust, and 5 years of Bojon”

  1. Happy Birthday ! I absolutely love your writing and your recipes and I'm grateful for the inspiration ever since I made those delicious beetroot burgers with their honey buns a few years ago. I must try those spelt crackers they look delicious, I make sourdough wraps regularly, freeze them and use them as emergency pizza bases. All the best for the future and hope to see your own cookbook in print in the near future ! M-A Djeribi

    1. Thank you so much for the sweet comment! I love those burgers and I'm so glad you did too. Sourdough wraps sound divine! And the crackers are still a favorite around here, too.

  2. What a great cause for celebration! You've managed to turn your blog into something pretty remarkable over the past 5 years.

    These cheesecake squares are just everything – I'm obsessed with the gluten-free pistachio crust.

  3. Congrats! Five years: wow! I'm doing 3,5 years and counting and I love your idea of a party and recap. Definitely thinking about that for myself next time.

    Please go on with creating so many delicious recipes and gorgeous pictures. At least 5 more years, I say:) Thanks for always inspiring me and so many others.

  4. Happy fifth blogiversary!

    I have gone back to read your first posts. You probably wonder if I'm some freakish stalker who will someday lurk on your doorstep but no worries – I admire you from afar and ablog.

    Everything has developed beautifully – writing, recipes and photography. I don't ever skim down to the recipe itself because the story is so much fun and a great part of the final result.

    For next week I need a recipe that includes several pounds of red mustard greens, kale, endive, escarole, chard and spinach while the garden goes wild during my one week trip to Boston. Preferably freezable.

    That's not too much to ask, is it?

    1. Hi Katherine, Thank you so much for the kind words! I put a lot of time into writing my posts and very much appreciate knowing they are read by someone other than my mom. If you showed up on my doorstep I'd drag you inside and force feed you pastries, so stalk at your own risk. ;) Your garden sounds serious! My favorite recipe for greens is Deborah Madison's bright lights chard gratin from her book Local Flavors. (I found a copy of the recipe here: http://springwind.org/sites/default/files/Bright%20Lights%20Chard%20Gratin.pdf) You can use any greens in it that you like. Thanks again for the kind note!

    2. I will make sure never to show up on your doorstep. Force feeding pastries (shiver). That's just awful. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      Thanks for the greens recipe I will definitely give that a try. I knew you would come through for me!

      In the meantime you must have known what was coming next. Five pounds yellow brandywine tomatoes (which equates to 5 tomatoes). It's been a neighborhood effort to keep my tomato plant, which is affectionately referred to as the tomato tree, upright.

      So, off to roast some tomatoes for your perfectly timed Roasted Yellow Tomato Soup recipe.

  5. What a feast you put together!! I am officially craving each and every dish you whipped up–especially those berry chevre cheesecake squares. They're gorgeous and that crust sounds amazing!! Congrats on your five year blogiversary!!

  6. I love that you had an actual party to celebrate, and not just a virtual one! My own 5 year blogiversary is in a few months and maybe I'll take a page out of your book. Congrats!

    1. Happy almost blogiversary, Katie! My real birthday is near Christmas, which sucks, and I've tried to celebrate it at other times of year but it just felt fake. So having a blogiversary (that happens to be exactly three months before my real birthday) is a perfect way to celebrate. Even without the birthday drama, though, blogiversary parties are highly recommended!

  7. Those Berry Chèvre Cheesecake Squares look like everything I dream of a party dessert being! They are so beautiful and Chevre is my favorite cheese by far. I can't wait to try this recipe.

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