September 18, 2013

Santa Fe Cheesecake

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The cheese course vs. dessert debate is more heated nowadays. Well, here’s a cheese course disguised as dessert. It doesn’t exactly solve the dilemma, but it is a fun dish. It is also a great party-time alternative to the usual cheeseball or cheese plate. Adapted from a recipe in an old Taste of Home magazine.

1 cup
(250 mL) crushed tortilla chips
3 tbsp (45 mL) unsalted butter, melted
1 lb
(500 g) block cream cheese (2 packages, each 8 oz/250 g), softened
2 large eggs
8 oz (250 g) Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 can chopped green chilies (4 oz/127 mL)
1 tsp (5 mL) kosher salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) chili powder
1 cup (250 mL) sour cream (14%)
small yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1 tomato, chopped
1 bunch green onions (white + light green parts), thinly sliced
2 tbsp (30 mL) chopped pickled jalapeños
1 tbsp (15 mL) finely chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp (1 mL) kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Grease 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan. Line bottom with parchment round. Preheat oven to 325F (160C).

Crust: Using fork, combine tortilla chips and butter. Press evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven 15 minutes, or until golden. Do not turn off oven.

Filling: Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and eggs on medium speed until fluffy. Stir in Jack cheese, chilies, salt and chili powder. Pour over warm crust. Bake in preheated oven 30 minutes, or until edges start to turn golden but centre is still a bit jiggly.

Transfer to wire rack. Spread sour cream over top. Run knife carefully around edges to loosen. Cool 1 hour. Cover with plastic or foil, Refrigerate overnight.

Topping: In medium bowl, stir together ingredients. Before serving, spoon topping over cheesecake, then remove sides of pan.

Makes 12 servings.

Kitchen Secrets: I crush the tortilla chips with a rolling pin.

Shopping Cart: For this recipe, buy the firm cream cheese packaged in blocks, not the soft deli cheese sold in tubs.