Savory Cheesecake Appetizer Recipe

Savory Cheesecake Appetizer Recipe Recipe

Lulu's aunt, Nikhat Auntie, sent us a jar of delicious homemade mango chutney. I couldn't resist experimenting with it. From past culinary concoctions, I've found that mango chutney pairs wonderfully with goat cheese. It made sense to mix both flavors in a savory cheesecake.

I dressed them in mini molds and served them as appetizers. I used shortbread cookie for the crust and also added pomegranate to play with the sweet, savory and tart flavors of the cheesecake.

It was a hit! These appetizers can be prepared in advance, plus they don't require any baking time, meaning I'll be making them quite often. That is, if Lulu's aunt sends me some more of her amazing chutney!

Ingredients

Yields: 12 appetizers

7 shortbread cookies
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
16 ounces goat cheese
1-½ cups heavy cream
1 sprig tarragon, slightly bruised to release the oil
1 sprig marjoram, slightly bruised to release the oil
1/3 teaspoon xantham gum
1/3 teaspoon liquid lecithin
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons pomegranate molasses
2 teaspoons pomegranate juice
½ teaspoon mustard
1-½ tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon white pepper
¼ cup mango chutney
1 teaspoon flat-leaf parsley


Directions

Infusing the cream:

Add tarragon and marjoram to the cream in a small saucepan. Bring the cream to a near boil. Don't over-cook; otherwise the fat might start separating and create an oily layer on top of the cheesecake filling. Strain and discard the herbs. Allow to cool completely and chill in the refrigerator.

Making the shortbread cheesecake crust:

Crush the rounds of shortbread down to a fine crumb. I use a mortar and pestle; it's ok if there are some larger crumbs. Soften the butter and add it to the crumbs.  You should be able to press the crust with your hands into a cohesive mass.

Press the crumbs into the bottom of 12 mini molds.  I used a nonstick 12-hole mini muffin pan.

Create long 2"-wide bands with parchment paper. Place the parchment rectangles along the sides, against the wall of the molds. The paper should be pressed against the crust so it doesn't move while the filling is piped for easy unmolding later. You could also brush a very thin layer of oil so the parchment paper adheres to the wall of the molds.

Prepping the cheesecake filling:

Whip the heavy cream (at a low speed) until creamy and smooth for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and white pepper.

Whisk the goat cheese to soften it. Gently fold in the whipped cream in stages.

In a small bowl, combine the xanthan gum, lecithin and 2/3 teaspoon of oil. Add the mixture to the goat cheese bowl. Stir well and add the rest of the whipped cream. This is to make sure the cream cheese incorporates evenly.

In another bowl, mix the mango chutney with 2 tablespoons of the goat cheese filling. Mix well. Spread a layer of mango chutney mixture, then fold in the cheesecake filling using 2 spades (I used dough scrapers) to create a swirl. Don't over-work; otherwise the mango chutney won't be visible.

For the pomegranate dressing:

In a bowl, dissolve the honey in the pomegranate juice and molasses. Add the mustard and salt. Whisk in the olive oil. Finish with white pepper.

Assembly time:

Place the filling in a piping bag. Pipe or spoon the filling into the molds. Level the filling with a spatula. Place the pans in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, preferably overnight.

When you're ready to serve, unmold the mini cheesecakes.

Drizzle a little pomegranate dressing and top with pomegranate seeds and parsley.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Xantham gum, lecithin and oil are a great substitute for eggs in many applications.  Xanthan gum is a binder and lecithin is an emulsifier.  Xanthan gum balls up when it comes in contact with water, so mixing it in oil first will allow you to incorporate it evenly in the cheesecake filling.  I'm going to do an entire post about egg substitutes later.

If you don't want to use pomegranate molasses, you can just cover with the pomegranate seeds. 

If you can't have goat cheese, you could substitute cream cheese or mascarpone cheese.

If you like a denser cheesecake filling, don't whip the heavy whipping cream before adding the other ingredients.  I prefer the lighter, fluffier result the whipping provides.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on December 23, 2010.


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