Today I am going to show you how to whip up an amazing savory cheesecake. I love this! Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Cheesecake is a hit whenever I serve it.
It’s really quite simple to put together, and can be baked in advance and even can be frozen and kept on hand for when unexpected guests drop by!
Here’s what you need:
9″ springform pan
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened (I use light)
1 cup Ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup basil pesto
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil.
1/4 cup pine nuts
basil leaves for garnish
Start by buttering your 9″ springform pan.
Butter the bottom and sides, then put the panko and 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese into the pan and swish it around until the whole pan is dusted with the cheese and crumb mixture. (Pretend you’re panning for gold… or just swish it around without pretending. Whichever.)
In a mixing bowl, add the softened cream cheese, both the grated and the shredded Parmesan cheeses, the Ricotta, salt and cayenne pepper. Mix until smooth, then add the eggs one at a time. (I crack one in a small bowl, pour the egg into the mix, crack the next one into the bowl, etc. Ensures that no shells get into the mixture.)
Add the 1/2 of sun-dried tomatoes and the 1/2 cup of basil pesto to the remaining cheese mixture in your mixing bowl and stir until it’s incorporated.
Carefully spread the tomato-pesto-cheese mixture into your prepared pan. Take care not to disturb the layer of panko and cheese that is going to form the “crust” of your cheesecake.
Once the first layer is spread in the pan, sprinkle the remaining 2 Tbsp of sun-dried tomatoes over it.
Gently spoon the plain cheese mixture that you had set aside over the top of the tomato-pesto layer and smooth it with a spatula.
Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and bake at 325 for about 40 minutes or so. Ovens vary, so keep an eye on it at about the 30 minute mark. The sides will have pulled away from the pan a little bit, or you can do the toothpick test. (Toothpick inserted into the middle should come out clean.)
Let your cheesecake sit and cool for about an hour. Run a knife around the sides of the pan, release it from the springform pan, cover with plastic wrap and then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours.
This Sun-dried Tomato & Pesto Cheesecake is a perfect appetizer for a crowd, or it can be cut into wedges and frozen to have on hand when just a few friends stop by.
To freeze it, I like to cut it into large wedges, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then in foil. If you know guests are coming, you can set it out about 2 hours ahead of time and it will be perfect by the time they arrive. (If you didn’t know guests were coming? A quick zap in the microwave on “defrost” should have you ready to go in about 5 minutes.)