Thursday, December 16, 2010

Mexican Cheesecake

Here's an easy appetizer for Christmas parties that you serve chilled (think cheese ball), so it can be made ahead (hooray!). I also think it would be good warm, but I haven't tried it that way yet. Serve it with homemade tortilla chips (store-bought is also fine) or crackers. The flavor is cheesy with a subtle spice. I had some fresh cilantro on hand that I added to the cream cheese mixture, but you can omit it. The photos show the cheesecake before and after the sour cream-salsa topping. Note: I baked this one in an 8-inch springform pan, but the recipe yields enough for a 9 inch. Enjoy!

Mexican Cheesecake
1 cup crushed tortilla chips
2 Tbsp. melted butter
3 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 eggs
10 oz. grated Cheddar cheese
1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup salsa or picante sauce

1. Combine tortilla chips and butter, and press into bottom of a lightly greased springform pan. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes.
2. Beat cream cheese and ricotta with a mixer. Gradually add in eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add in Cheddar cheese, green chiles, and, if desired, cilantro. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour cream cheese mixture into prepared crust.
3. Bake at 350° for 45 to 1 hour or until set. Remove from oven, and let cool 30 minutes before removing ring. Cool completely. Combine sour cream and salsa; spread over top of cooled cheesecake. Refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

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