Goat Cheese Beehive
Few cookbooks have revolutionized the dairy realm like Chester Hastings’s The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen (Chronicle Books, 2012). When my copy arrived in the mail this summer, I spent an afternoon leafing through it on my stoop, agog.
Hastings, who works as a cheesemonger and chef at Joan’s on Third, a beloved gourmet shop in Los Angeles, is to cheese what Jacques Cousteau is to the sea: an explorer, an innovator.
He moulds fresh goat cheese into pear shapes and dredges them in pistachio dust, fries the loaf-shaped Monte Enebro in olive oil and coils raspberry blossom honey over it. He bakes Petit Basque into savory cupcakes studded with dark cherries. Need I go on?
The Cheesemonger’s Kitchen is a caseophile’s dream.
My most breathless moment: staring at a richly dark photograph of Hastings’s goat cheese “beehive” (a term he credits to his mentor, the San Francisco chef Carlo Middione). It’s presented like a tiered mousse with layers of chèvre alternating with mashed roasted garlic – the whole thing liberally bathed in warm honey.
Over the weekend, I made a mini beehive for a friend celebrating his birthday. Because the original recipe serves 15 to 20 and calls for five pounds of garlic, I scaled it back, as Hastings suggests in his head note. I also added some toasted almonds, to look like bees.
The dish was a great success – and a lovely way to celebrate the birthday of a lactose-intolerant friend. Instead of giving him candles to blow out, we gave him a jar of honey to pour, ceremonially, over his birthday hive, while everyone buzzed around him.
For the recipe, please visit the Di Bruno Blog.
Disclosure: This is part of a series I write for Di Bruno Bros., one of my favorite cheese haunts in Philadelphia. I choose the topics and am paid, which is how I support my cheese habit.