Take all the indulgent richness of cheesecake and transform it into a decadent, savory appetizer.
Savory Mini Cheesecakes
- 1-1/2 cups butter cracker crumbs
- 6 tablespoons melted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese room temperature*
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1-1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- Pinch salt
Preheat oven to 325°F.
Grease the sides and bottoms of a muffin pan, or place a cupcake liner in each cup.
Combine cracker crumbs and butter in a small mixing bowl, mixing well.
Divide evenly among 12 muffin cups.
Press firmly into bottom. (I used a 1/4-cup measuring cup to press.)
Bake for 5 minutes.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine cream cheese, ricotta, parmesan, egg, and salt.
Using paddle attachment, mix on speed 4 for 2 minutes, scraping down sides occasionally.
Remove muffin pan from oven, and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Reduce oven to 300°F.
Divide cheesecake mixture evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for 18 minutes. Edges should be firm, and middle should jiggle slightly.
Cool on counter for 30 minutes.
Cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Serve with tomato jam, cranberry sauce, or a savory chutney.
When I think about cheesecake, two of the words that quickly come to mind are rich and indulgent. It is a dessert made around cream cheese (and sometimes ricotta), sugar, and eggs. That is the definition of rich and indulgent.
Thus, if I am planning on enjoying some cheesecake, I probably want to plan BEFORE I eat dinner. Smaller appetite = less room for spontaneous dessert
However, if I serve cheesecake as an appetizer, I already know that there is room for the cheesecake. Win, win.
In addition to planning for appetite, I had another reason for this recipe. I wanted to see how enjoyable a savory version would be. Of course, who am I kidding? I love almost all cheese, so what were the odds that I wouldn’t like this creation?
In full disclosure, after the first round of testing, I wasn’t so sure. The original version was made in a heavier cheesecake style with only cream cheese and parmesan used. It produced a kind of thin, not that exciting mini cheesecake.
Back to the drawing board, I played with this initial format. I added ricotta to lighten the mini cakes a little bit and increased the amount of parmesan for more bite. That is where the testing ended, as I had found success.
Although these mini cheesecakes are still rich and indulgent, they also aren’t quite as dense. Serve them with whatever topping inspires you. For me it was tomato jam; for my husband it was an olive relish. However, many a chutney, salsa, or other savory jam would make a delicious topping.