Mmmmm…. bacon

April 21, 2007 on 8:29 am | By | In Recipes | 4 Comments

Stilton cheesecakesEvery month I get together with a group of foodie friends to try out new recipes based upon a particular theme or ingredient (we’ve dubbed the group The Guinea Pigs). Past themes include Cinco de Mayo, Oktoberfest, tailgating, lavender and chocolate, as well as a couple of free-for-alls. The rules are simple: your dish must reflect the theme and be one you’ve never made before.

My creations have run from the sublime (roast lamb stuffed with garlic & lavender, Asian-style braised beef ribs), to the acceptable (seared foie gras salad, grilled shrimp salsa), to edible (hot pretzels), to the downright weird (empanadas with beef marinated in Southwestern spices and chocolate liqueur, wrapped in a whole wheat savory chocolate dough. They actually weren’t that bad!)

Last weekend I added another to the sublime list: bacon and stilton mini cheesecakes. I was inspired by a Saveur recipe, however, those required no baking and I was eager to try out my new mini cheesecake pans. I adapted the crust from a Parmigiano-Reggiano cheesecake recipe that uses ground Triscuits and dried sour cherries. The crackers provide a wonderful whole wheat crunch and the sweet-tart flavor of the cherries balances out the richness of the cheese.

The key to a smooth cheesecake batter is to have your ingredients at room temperature. Otherwise you’ll end up with small blobs of cream cheese that no amount of processing will smooth out. I followed the directions on the back of the cheesecake pan box for baking (375 degrees for 15 minutes), however, next time I’ll bump the temperature down to 325 and check them at 20 minutes. As you can see, the cakes fell immediately coming out of the oven (some spilled over, so I pushed the filling back in with a knife). I’m thinking a more gentle bake will minimize the shrinkage (although I rather like the rustic look).
Pan of cheesecakes
While the cakes are delicious on their own, they’d make a wonderful starter course served on a bed of wild or micro greens.

Bacon & Stilton Mini Cheesecakes
(makes 12 cakes)

Crust:
25 Triscuits (I used Trader Joe’s “woven wheat wafers”)
1/3 cup sour cherries
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Cream cheese filling:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese
1/3 pound Blue Stilton, crumbled
1 egg
6 slices thick bacon

Preheat oven to 325.

Place crackers and sour cherries in a food processor and process until crackers are fine and cherries are in small bits. Place mixture in a bowl and stir in brown sugar and melted butter. Divide crust evenly into mini cheesecake cups and tamp down (a shot glass with a flat bottom works great!).

Cook bacon until crisp; crumble into small bits. Place cream cheese, Stilton and egg into food processor and process until smooth. Place in a bowl and mix in bacon. Divide evenly among cheesecake cups.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheesecakes are almost set (they will continue to cook as they cool). Cool to room temperature and serve.

4 Comments

  1. Oh, those sound fabulous! Bacon makes everything sublime…

    Comment by Culinary Cowgirl — April 22, 2007 #

  2. Ooh, Betsy! I’m going to have to make them! I have a mini cheesecake pan that is crying out for savory cakes. Thanks for posting this.

    Comment by Kitchen Bitch Lisa — April 23, 2007 #

  3. You’re welcome! They were great the next day too, so if you needed to make them ahead, by all means do so!

    Comment by ovens2betsy — April 23, 2007 #

  4. I LOVE bacon.

    I LOVE the idea of individual sized quiches.

    I LOVE that you host the Giuniee Pig group.

    AND I love that we share the same great city!

    Hello Betsey!

    Comment by janelle — April 26, 2007 #

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