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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Triple Cheese Savory Cheesecake with Fire Roasted Tomato, Basil and Sesame Cracker Crust

Savory cheesecake. . . you're skeptical right?  I admit, I was at first. . . but let me tell you, it was salty, creamy, tangy and the perfect bite spread on crackers.   I don't think i'll go back to crackers and sliced cheese for awhile! 

Bake this off the night before as a timesaver - it holds well in the fridge overnight. . . just remember to keep it at room temperature for 45-60 minutes before serving so it is not super cold and spreads easily.

I adapted this recipe from Pillbury's site and served it at an appetizer and dessert party we had for Aditya's Birthday last month.  There wasn't much left. . . that's always a good sign!

Recipe adapated from Pillsbury's site.  My additions in orange!

  • 1 cup crushed sesame crackers (crush in a food processor or ziplock bag and rolling pin)
  • 3 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (I used part-skim to save a few calories!)
  • 4 oz. feta cheese, finely crumbled (1 cup)
  • 1  8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened (I used reduced fat cream cheese)
  • 2 eggs (give the cage - free, vegetarian fed, organic variety a try!)
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted red bell peppers (use the fire roasted type for a little extra flavor!)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream (you guessed it, I used light sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (+2-3 tablespoons for garnish)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Heat oven to 350°F. In medium bowl, combine crushed crackers and margarine; mix well. Press in bottom and 1 1/2 inches up sides of ungreased 9-inch springform pan.
  • In large bowl, combine ricotta, feta and cream cheese; beat until creamy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in all remaining ingredients. Pour mixture into crust-lined pan.
  • Bake at 350°F. for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is just about set. Cool 30 minutes.
  • Loosen edges of cheesecake with small metal spatula or knife; cool 30 minutes or until completely cooled. Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.  (Thara's tip: leave it in the springform pan until you are ready to serve. . . this will give it extra stability while setting up in the fridge)
  • To serve, carefully remove sides of pan; place base of pan and cheesecake on serving plate. Cut into thin wedges. Serve with assorted crackers. Store in refrigerator.

Happy Cooking and Happy Styling!

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