Goat Cheese, Honey and Pistachio Mini Cheesecakes with Meyer Lemon Cream. (Nealey Dozier / March 6, 2014)


Looking for an extraordinary dessert recipe that also happens to be gluten free? These individual goat cheese and honey cheesecakes with Meyer lemon cream are sure to be the pièce de résistance of any special occasion when they are served.

This recipe isn't overly complicated per se -- most of the work can be done in the food processor, and the various components can be made ahead. Each and every component offers a specific flavor or textural element, which together will rival any cheesecake at a fancy dinner out. The salted pistachio crust provides a crisp, nutty contrast to the just-sweet-enough creamy filling. Goat cheese gives the cheesecake layer a soft and mellow tang, while a wisp of honey lingers through each and every bite. A dollop of Meyer lemon cream provides a bright and barely tart glaze to gussy up the sweets even more. And don't skip on the candied pistachios -- they take this dessert from merely homemade to James Beard Award-worthy.

And a bonus for gluten-free eaters: These are indeed gluten-free, provided all your nuts and other ingredients are certified gluten-free, of course.

Goat Cheese, Honey and Pistachio Mini Cheesecakes with Meyer Lemon Cream

Makes 12 bite-sized cheesecakes.

For the pistachio crust:

1 heaping cup shelled, roasted, and salted pistachios (see recipe notes)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

1 (11-ounce) log mild goat cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup (4 ounces) crème fraîche or full-fat sour cream, room temperature

2 tablespoons good-quality honey

1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

Pinch of fine sea salt

3 large eggs

For the Meyer lemon cream: