I am always on the lookout for unusual appetizers when we have company. I like the idea of a savory cheesecake. I also like the idea of an appetizer-size cheesecake. Giada De Laurentiis provided just the thing. My blogging friend “the other” Penny of The Comforts of Home and her husband came for dinner last night. I wanted to try something a little more complicated than cheese and crackers.
The hardest part of this cheesecake was finding a 4 1/2-inch spring form pan. I did find one at a kitchen store for $3.99 but did not measure it until I got home. It turned out to be 4 inches and did not hold all of the ingredients in the recipe. The cheesecake can also be made in a ramekin if you don’t want to bother with finding a small spring form pan. I put the overflow in a small ramekin. It is a mixture of ricotta cheese, cream cheese, and goat cheese to which roasted red peppers are added. The cheese cake is then baked. The recommended topping is apricot jam, but I used a pepper and onion relish.
The weather was beautiful on Saturday so we were able to eat dinner on the porch. There is something so special about dining al fresco with friends.
The menu was Zinfandel Beef Ribs, Rice Pilaf with roasted almonds and orange soaked dried cranberries, Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan, and homemade yeast rolls.
Dessert was Apple Crostata with ice cream and coffee. But the best part of the meal was the company, the conversation, and the laughter. A beautiful Spring evening on the porch was the icing on the cake. Thanks Penny and K for traveling over the mountain to spend time with us. Good friends just make the food taste better.
RED PEPPER CHEESECAKE
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (4 ounces)
1/2 cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
1/4 cup goat cheese (2 ounces)
1 tablespoon sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 cup thin strips or roasted red bell peppers (blotted dry)
1/4 cup apricot jam (Can substitute hot pepper jelly, other jams or onion, pepper relish)
1 to 2 teaspoons hot water
Special equipment: 1 (4 1/2-inch diameter spring form (cheesecake) pan
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Wrap the outside of the cheesecake pan with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil. Place the ricotta, cream cheese, and goat cheese in a food processor. Pulse to mix. Add the sugar, egg, and salt and pulse a few times until well mixed. Stir in the red pepper strips.
Pour the cheese mixture into the cheesecake pan. Place the cheesecake pan in a small roasting pan. Pour enough hot water in the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake until the cheesecake is golden at the edges and the center of the cake moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken. about 45 minutes (the cake will become firm when it is cold).
Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour. Refrigerate until the cheesecake is cold.
Combine the jam and the water in a small bowl and stir until the jam is liquefied. Remove the cheesecake from the spring form pan. Place on a serving plate. Drizzle the jam mixture over the top of the cheesecake. Serve with pita chips or crackers.