Yield: One 10-inch (25 cm) cheesecake
To make the crust: Preheat the oven top 350°F (180°C, or gas mark 4). Follow the instructions on page 23 for the Parmesan and Herb Crust. Cool completely before adding the cheesecake batter.
To make the cheesecake: Lower the oven to 325°F (170oC, or gas mark 3). In an 8- to 10-inch (20 to 25 cm) saute pan, heat the grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add the shallot, season with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the spinach and toss to combine; remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the goat cheese on low speed until softened, scraping down the sides of the bowl, underneath the paddle, and the paddle frequently with a rubber spatula, about 2 minutes. With the mixer on low, slowly pour in the heavy cream. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined, about 10 seconds after each egg. By hand, stir in the remaining 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the spinach mixture.
Prepare the springform pan for a water bath (see page 30). Place the springform pan in a large cake pan or a roasting pan (one that is around the same height or lower than your springform pan). Pour the batter over the crust and level it with a small offset spatula. Place in the oven and pour almost boiling water into the roasting pan (it should come up halfway around the sides of the pan). Bake for about 1 hour 10 minutes, or until the cheesecake is firm around the edges but is still jiggly in the center (the jiggly part should be about the size of a quarter).
Remove from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the foil from the sides of the pan. Gently run a sharp knife or spatula around the edges to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. Allow to cool at room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (this will help the cheesecake set completely).
To unmold the cheesecake, gently run a sharp knife or spatula around the edges. Release the latch on the side of the pan and then lift the ring straight up. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Parmesan and Herb Crust
This savory pastry crust is so versatile, you can substitute other hard cheeses and any kind or herbs.
1 1/4 cups (156 g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (13 g) finely grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons (6 g) finely chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup (112 g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons (30 ml) cold water
Preheat the oven to 350oF (180oC, or gas mark 4). In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, Parmesan, chives, and salt. Pulse once or twice to mix completely. Pulse the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture resembles a coarse ground cornmeal and no pieces of butter remain visible. Whisk the egg yolks and water together in a small bowl and add to the flour and butter mixture. Pulse just until the mixture is uniform in color and comes together (if you pinch a small piece of dough, it will easily hold together).
Remove from the food processor. Using your fingers, pinch off small pieces of dough and place them all over the bottom of a 10-inch (25 cm) springform or cake pan. Using the palm of your hand or the bottom of a glass, press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pan. Place the pan in the oven and bake the crust for 18 to 20 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm, but not hard to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.