I lowkey love making unusual food with things I’ve grown or foraged. Recipes are a nice guideline, but (as with everything I do) in the end it needs my own spin on it. Sure cheesecake is good, but what if it were chanterelle cheesecake? That was the conclusion I arrived at after brainstorming what to do with all of the chanterelle mushrooms that have been coming up in full force.
I decided to go sweet with them knowing how well they pair with apricots. The flavor profile needed something more though. That’s when I noticed how huge my mom’s bronze fennel had grown this year.
I’ve made this particular cheesecake base recipe before, always tweaking it to suit my needs. Sometimes it leans more sweet, other times more sour. It’s extremely simple and consists of a whopping 2 ingredients- cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk.
You can add more or less of either ingredient to adjust the consistency and sweetness. To change the flavor you can add pretty much anything. For this particular recipe I added a little bottled lime juice to pull back the richness a bit and avoid it becoming too sweet.
The chanterelles and bronze fennel I already had on hand. You could probably use regular fennel too, I just went with the bronze since it was on hand. The other ingredients are things I keep stocked.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like to make things from scratch. But what I don’t like doing is washing dishes. If there is a cheat route I can take to avoid doing more dishes, I shamelessly take it. In this case an 89 cent graham cracker pie crust from Aldi was my savior.
Initially I didn’t tell my family they were being served mushroom cheesecake because that sounds nasty and unfortunate. It was a “light herbal apricot” cheesecake, which sounds so much more approachable. After seconds were had I admitted to the mushrooms. After a bit of disbelief and confusion the consensus was I needed to make it more often.
First I chopped up about a quarter of the apricots, all of the chanterelles, and 4 sprigs of the fennel. Everything was tossed into a pan simmering with a 1/4 cup of water and a 1/4 stick of butter. I let it cook down, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes.
While that was cooking down I chopped up 3 apricots and 3 more sprigs of fennel to add to the filling later.
Next I added a little more water when it looked like it needed it to avoid anything sticking and burning. After turning off the heat, I stirred in 2 tablespoons of the sweetened condensed milk.
Then I mixed together a pack and a half of cream cheese, and about 3 tablespoons of sweetened condensed milk (I’m not a fan of super sweet things, so you may want to add a little more if you want it to be sweeter).
After folding in the mixture I cooked down earlier, and the fresh fennel and apricots, I tasted it to get an idea of where I was at. To me it leaned a little sweet and perhaps too rich so I added about 8 drops of bottled lime juice.
Acidity can help pull little details out of flavors and I found that was the case here. After adding it the flavors had more clarity and weren’t tasting overpowered by the sweetened condensed milk.
Lastly I spread the filling into the pie crust and popped it in the freezer. Usually I just let it sit overnight but it should be solid in 6 hours. Let it thaw about 15 minutes before serving.
1 pack and a half cream cheese (room temperature)
About 1/3 sweetened condensed milk
1 small bag of dried apricots
About 15 medium chanterelles
A 1/4 stick of butter
Graham cracker pie crust
About 8 drops bottled lime juice