Savory Cheesecake —-Really!
When I lived in Rhode Island, I knew a wonderful young chef Mark Garofalo who was a good friend of my sister.
He used to make an absolutely spectacular savory cheesecake, and if you are ever in RI, and need a caterer, you should contact him at Fire Works Catering.
Thanks, Chef Garofolo for the inspiration to attempt my own version. This savory cheesecake finds its home as an appetizer not a dessert, and pairs beautifully with the sweet onion chutney, which I love. The chutney is a little time consuming, but oh so worth it!! The recipe will make enough for leftovers that can be served on a charcuterie plate (Hmmm, another blog post idea just came to me) or paired with any blue cheese, goat cheese or even aged cheddar.
People are often intimidated by the idea of making cheesecake, BE BRAVE, it is really surprisingly simple. Here are some tips for making cheesecake
- Use room temperature ingredients – especially the cheeses so that you get a nice smooth cake that isn’t lumpy
- Invest in the spring-form pan – it is essential since cheesecakes are light and will easily fall apart if you try to invert them onto a plate or cooling rack. Don’t forget to grease the bottom and sides of the pan, and for best results, use parchment paper on the bottom of the pan and grease that also.
- Let it cool gradually – resist the urge to just put it in the refrigerator right away as this will make the cheesecake develop condensation on the top making it heavier. The quick temperature changes can also create cracks.
- Slice with dental floss (unflavored please!), by holding a piece long enough to go over the entire cake taut and using a sawing motion to draw it down through the cake. It will give you nice clean edges to your slices.
Every time I make this cheesecake, it is the hit of the party – even with people who claim they don’t like blue cheeses. I doubt you’ll have any leftovers, but if you do, just wrap them up in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese, softened
1 (8oz) package of blue cheese, chopped
8 oz sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
½ cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped (optional)
1 ½ cup Sweet onion Chutney (see recipe below)
Preheat oven to 325F degrees
Beat the cream cheese, blue cheese, and sour cream together till light and fluffy
Add in the chopped chives and parsley
Add eggs, one at a time, beating just until the yellow disappears after each addition.
Fold in the flour
Lightly grease a 7-inch springform pan (For best results, line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the paper). Spoon the mixture into the pan
Bake at 325F degrees for one hour or until set. Run a knife around outer edge of cheesecake to loosen from pan. Cool on a rack for an hour, then chill for 8 hours
Remove sides of the pan, remove cheesecake to a serving platter. Spoon the onion chutney over the top. Sprinkle with the toasted nuts (if using). Serve with crackers, crostini, grapes, celery and sliced apples or pears.
Sweet Onion Chutney
¼ cup Single Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)**
3 large sweet onions, diced
1 Bouquet Garni of thyme and bay leaf (See Tips below)
1 cup sugar
¾ cup White Balsamic vinegar*
Salt & Pepper to taste
Heat the EVOO in a pan. Add the onions and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes stirring occasionally. Add Bouquet Garnier and cook over low heat for 3-4 more minutes.
Sprinkle sugar over the top, and cook without stirring until the sugar melts. Turn the heat to high until an amber caramel forms.
Stir in the White Balsamic and simmer over low heat. Remove Bouquet Garni, season with salt and pepper. Cool and serve.
Use leftover chutney over roasted pork tenderloin or grilled chicken
**I particularly love using Oil & Vinegar’s Bonsecco EVOO and White Balsamic Vinegar— the EVOO has a nice rich fruity flavor and is high in antioxidants as well; while the soft and delicate flavor of the white balsamic from Modena pairs well with the sweetness of this chutney. Substitute any really good quality oil and white balsamic if you wish.
To create a Bouquet Garni, tie 3 bay leaves and 8-10 stalks of thyme together with kitchen twine for easy removal at the end of the cooking process. You can also put the herbs in a sachet made of cheesecloth.