I'm giving the recipes for the two kinds of savory cheesecake that I made. I must say, of all the things I make for parties it's these two plus one more (which I will post in connection with the Chorale Christmas reception at some point) that get the most praise. They're very easy, and they allow you to serve cheese without a lot of trouble and expense. So here they are:
Blue Cheese Cheesecake
(I'd give credit for this recipe if I knew where I got it.)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup cheese crackers, crushed
(I'm including directions for the crust since it's part of the original recipe, but I don't usually bother with it. I don't think of this as something you eat on its own but something you spread on crackers, so why does it need a crust?)
16 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces Blue cheese
1/4 cup Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Sour cream
1/2 cup Chopped green onions
1/2 cup Chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 300 deg. Butter 9 inch springform pan; sprinkle cracker crumbs on bottom and sides.
Blend cheeses, eggs, flour, salt, and sour cream. (Easiest way is to use a food processor.) Fold or pulse in onions and walnuts. Pour mixture into pan. Bake 35 minutes, then check temperature of cake in center with an instant-read thermometer. Once it reaches 160 deg., it's done. (The original recipe has you bake it for an hour at 325, which is too hot and too long.) Cool and chill overnight. Garnish with parsley and tomato roses, or with additional chopped green onions, if desired. Serve at room temperature on crackers. (You'll notice in the picture that I put grapes around both cheesecakes.)
Savory Herbed Cheesecake
This recipe is taken from the very interesting cookbook CookWise: The Hows & Whys of Successful Cooking with over 230 Great-Tasting Recipes by Shirley O. Corriher, published in 1997 by William Morrow. I've made a number of changes in the recipe. Overall, I find Corriher to have too high of temperature and too long of cooking time for her baked goods. I can't believe what she's saying to do to this poor innocent cheesecake. I think if I followed her directions I'd end up with a slab of cement. So this is my version, and I'm not bothering to type out the directions for the crust that she includes as I think it's totally unnecessary.
3 8-oz. packages cream cheese
3 tablespoons flour
4 eggs (I used jumbo ones)
1 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Grated zest from one lemon (if you used a fresh lemon for above)
2-3 tsp. Italian seasoning (depending on how strong of an herb flavor you want)
1/2 cup chopped parsley (probably Italian parsley; I didn't have any on hand so left this out)
1 cup freshly-grated Parmesan or Pecorino/Romano cheese
4 shallots, finely minced (but of course I forgot to buy these, so I just used red onion, about 1/2 cup--shallots have a more refined flavor, I guess, but it doesn't really matter.)
As in the previous recipe, use your food processor to mix up the filling and pour it into a 9-inch springform pan. Bake at 300 deg. until center reaches 160, also as above. Baking time will be 35-40 minutes also. Chill and serve with crackers. People go nuts over this.
I'm also including a link to the wonderful baking website, Sally's Baking Addiction, and her pumpkin/chocolate-chip cookies which were also a big hit. I'll post my recipe for chocolate-pumpkin timbales at some point, but they wouldn't have worked for this reception because you have to eat them with a fork. So when I went looking for cookies with those flavors I ran across these. It's usually a very bad idea to make something for company that you've never made before, but these turned out great. The only change I might make is to bake them a little longer. than Sally says. She wants them to be very soft, but I think they'd be better if they were crisper on the bottom. Her site is great, in spite of my small difference of opinion.