Savory Summer Cheesecake

4.8
(5)

I'm not a big dessert guy and almost always prefer another savory course instead, but if I am going to have dessert, cheesecake is one of my favorites. When you combine those two facts, it's no surprise I tried an experiment with a savory cheesecake. A nice green salad, with or without tomatoes, would be a perfect pairing for this.

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Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
1 hrs 10 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time:
4 hrs 15 mins
Servings:
10
Yield:
1 9-inch savory cheesecake

I've made savory ricotta pies before. Some people would call them savory cheesecakes. This time I wanted to make an actual savory cheesecake. It would have the exact same texture and mouthfeel, but without the sweetness. Well, I should say without the same level of sweetness — the peppers are sweet, and we did sneak in a touch of sugar to balance things out. However, it's not anywhere close to being mistaken for a dessert.

I love sharp and tangy cheeses, so it was hard not to add those styles into this cake. To get the texture I was after, though, I decided to go with the classic combo of cream cheese and sour cream. This seemed to work out very nicely (as long as you let your savory cheesecake chill thoroughly before you serve it). When warm, this has the texture of a light and very creamy quiche.

My vision for this was something that could be served for lunch on a hot summer day with a crisp salad or some marinated seasonal vegetables. Speaking of which, just because I went with peppers and onions here doesn't mean you have to. Pretty much any vegetables you'd add to a quiche should work well here. But no matter what you use, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Savory Summer Cheesecake

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Ingredients

For the Filling:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 ½ cups diced bell peppers

  • ½ cup diced yellow onions

  • 1 pinch salt

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed, or to taste

  • 4 large eggs

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

  • 1 cup creme fraiche

  • 3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature

  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme

For the Herb Cracker Crust:

  • 4 ¼ ounces plain crackers, finely crushed

  • ¼ teaspoon dried Italian herb blend

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Butter a 9-inch springform pan well.

  2. Start the filling: Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Saute peppers and onions with a large pinch of salt until onions just start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

  3. While the pepper mixture is cooling, prepare the crust: Combine crushed cracker crumbs, dried Italian herbs, and melted butter in a mixing bowl. Stir until crumbs are coated.

  4. Transfer the buttered crumbs into the prepared springform pan and press down into an even layer. Set aside until needed.

  5. Continue the filling: Combine eggs, flour, kosher salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add the creme fraiche, cream cheese, and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, and mix until smooth. Stir in parsley, tarragon, thyme, and cooled pepper mixture until evenly combined.

  6. Transfer cheese mixture into the prepared springform pan. Tap the pan gently to settle the contents and place on a baking sheet.

  7. Bake in the lower center of the preheated oven until a skewer poked into the center comes out clean, 60 to 75 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Run a knife around the edges and carefully remove the ring.

  8. Cheesecake should be thoroughly chilled in the refrigerator before serving, about 2 hours. Cheesecake can be served at room temperature, but it will not have the classic smooth, firm cheesecake texture, and will be more like a very light cheese quiche.

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Chef's Notes:

You can use hot peppers instead of sweet, or a combination of both. I used water crackers for this, but any non-sweet cracker will do. You can use sour cream instead of creme fraiche. Use 1/2 cup any chopped fresh herbs you like in the filling.

Feel free to add any other savory ingredients into this, like cooked crumbled sausage or crisp bacon.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

518 Calories
47g Fat
16g Carbs
12g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 518
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 47g 60%
Saturated Fat 25g 126%
Cholesterol 194mg 65%
Sodium 736mg 32%
Total Carbohydrate 16g 6%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 12g
Vitamin C 21mg 107%
Calcium 132mg 10%
Iron 2mg 12%
Potassium 192mg 4%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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