This fluffy and savory spread only takes 10-15 minutes of actual prep work...
now that's how I like to bake! The majority of the time it's in the oven or cooling in the fridge.
Hellooooo easy make-ahead appetizer for parties & potlucks!
Pumpkin Basil CheesecakeWhat's in it?
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup cream cheese
1/3 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons green onions, chopped
3 heaping tablespoons of canned pumpkin
8 Ritz crackers, crushed
1 large egg
1/2 tsp sugar
a pinch of salt
butter to grease the pan
a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
4 1/2 inch spring-form pan
a baking dish of any type, around 8x8 in size
a food processor
You will totally want to invest in one of these bad boys:
Scoop up this adorable 4 1/2 inch spring-form pan at Michael's craft store for $3 with one of their printable coupons [found here]
Worth. Every. Penny.
Worth. Every. Penny.
[adapted from Giada at Home] Preheat oven to 350F. Measure out your cheeses and allow to reach room temperature along with one large egg. Prep your springform pan by lining the bottom with parchment paper and lightly greasing the sides with butter. Next wrap the outside of the pan in one layer of heavy duty foil or two layers of regular foil. To do this, cut two large squares of foil, place the pan on top, centered, and fold to make a barrier along the bottom and sides, leaving the top open for your cheesecake. Place the pan in a baking dish and set aside.
Combine cream cheese, ricotta, and feta in your food processor. Pulse to gently mix. Next add your egg, sugar, pumpkin and a pinch of salt and pulse again. Whatever you do, don't skip the egg, I did a few rounds of recipe testing with this and the egg-less version just didn't have the right texture/taste. Lastly, add the chopped green onion and torn/chopped basil to the mixture and pulse gently to mix.
I decided to mimic a cheesecake even further and add the traditional cracker crust to the bottom, using savory Ritz crackers instead of sweet graham crackers. Crush crackers and combine with a 1/2 Tablespoon or so of melted butter. Spread evenly onto the parchment paper at the bottom of your spring-form pan and top with your cheesecake mixture.
Place your spring-form pan inside your baking dish and fill with enough hot water to reach about halfway up the cheesecake pan, but no higher. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes. When finished, the cheesecake will be golden around the edges and wiggle a little when gently shaken. Turn off the oven but leave the cheesecake to cool down slowly in the oven for an hour. After an hour has passed, cover with saran wrap and place the cheesecake in the fridge for a minimum 3 hours to set the shape. It can be chilled in the fridge up to 2 days before serving, making this a perfect make-ahead appetizer! After carefully removing from the pan, plate and serve room temperature [leave out for 30-60 min before serving] with crusty toasted bread or your favorite crackers. Drizzle with olive oil before serving for a glossy and tasty garnish!
So... How was it?
SOoOoOooo GOOD! I knew when I snuck a taste from the food processor that it was going to rock... but the second I could smell it in the oven, I had to refrain from popping a squat infront of it to anxiously await my snack. It smells fabulous and tastes even better! Especially on crusty bread... *cue angels singing*
If you are one of the lucky ladies who live here and are reading this, I'm totally making you this spread. Its RIDICULOUSLY good! Though it takes some time to bake, you don't have to babysit this at all! Just set a timer and go about your day. You'll put in maybe 10-15 minutes of actual effort for a savory cheesecake that looks and tastes like it should be served in a fancy restaurant. In fact, one of my favorite restaurants back in Florida serves a savory artichoke cheesecake that this recipe beats the pants off of. Paul said so =)
If you're throwing a party or attending a potluck of sorts this holiday season, totally make/bring this instead of a store bought cheese spread. It's light and fluffy with fantastic flavor!
What's the best cheesecake you've ever had?