A glass of wine, a plate of assorted cheeses, salamis and crackers... good for my psyche but nightly, not so good for my waistline. The holidays, though, make those calories invisible until January (in my own mind anyway...) and these days are often filled with additional gatherings where I grab the chance to prep and enjoy some of my favorite beloved appetizers.
Always on the lookout for something that avoids last minute preparation, this make-ahead "cheesecake" works like a charm. Filled with ricotta, a touch of garlic and pesto, the savory cheeses work wonderfully with crackers and are a delightful pairing with a glass of wine before dinner.
Pretty on a plate, this savory indulgence will be welcomed at all of your holiday festivities, and is sure to bring a little additional holiday cheer to your gathering.
Savory Pesto Cheesecake
Adapted from Taste of Home 200 Best Recipes - 2011, pg 99
This version is made with ricotta cheese, next time I may give a cream cheese version a try!
For the Crust:
2/3 cup dry bread crumb
5 Tbs finely chopped pine nuts, toasted
2 Tbs butter, melted
For the Filling:
1 carton (15 oz) ricotta cheese
1/2 cup half and half
2 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 clove garlic, pressed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup prepared pesto or sun-dried tomato pesto
Preheat oven to 350º.
In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs, pine nuts and butter. Press into the bottom of a greased 9 inch springform pan and set aside.
In a small bowl, beat the ricotta cheese, half and half, Parmesan cheese, flour salt and garlic until smooth. Add eggs. Beat on low speed just until combined, then pour into crust.
Using small spoonfulls, drop the prepared pesto over the filling and swirl with a knife. Use more or less than the 1/4 cup to suit your taste.
Place cheesecake into the oven for 35-40 minutes, or until the center is nearly set. Cool on a wire rack fro 10 minutes then carefully run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to loosen. Cool for 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.