Pesto Cheesecake

This post should alternatively be titled “the easiest appetizer ever.” Because, um, it is. But you also might want to throw a “and the most delicious” in there too. Because, um, it is. I went to my parents’ house for Easter and wanted to bring along the ingredients to make a somewhat easy appetizer. I also happened to have a jar of pesto sent from Mezzetta I’d been meaning to use. So when I saw a recipe for pesto cheesecake over at Confessions of a Bake-aholic, I was sold. Cheesecake that’s not the usual dessert cheesecake, but is more of a dip with pesto mixed in? Sign me up!

This was such a ridiculously simple recipe, I almost felt like I wasn’t doing enough. And as my sister pointed out, I could have made my own pesto; but I had the beautiful jar from Mezzetta already. And in the end, everyone loved the recipe so much, not to mention nobody could guess how easy it really was. Love that!

Pesto Cheesecake:

    • 1.5 C crushed sesame crackers
    • 1 stick of butter, melted
    • 1 C ricotta cheese
    • 4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (tomato basil or Mediterranean is best)
    • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
    • 2 eggs
    • 1/4 C pesto
    • 1/3 C sour cream
    • Crackers or veggies for serving

 

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The recipe only called for one cup of crushed crackers, but it just didn’t seem to be enough to fill the pan properly so I added another half a cup. I also added a bit more butter than the recipe called for to get 1 stick.

Mix the cracker crumbs with melted butter.

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Press into the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the side of a 9 1/2 inch spring form pan. Seriously, if you don’t have a spring form pan (or a whole set of them), you need to remedy that. They make life so much easier.

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Now you’re ready to mix the cheeses. Beat the ricotta, feta, and cream cheese in a medium bowl until creamy.

Then add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition.

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Stir in the pesto and sour cream.

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And pour the mixture over the crust.

Pop it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 35-40 minutes, until the top starts to brown and the center is almost set.

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Let it cool on a wire rack for about 30 minutes. Then loosen the sides from the pan with a knife and let cool for another hour.

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And then? And then you’re supposed to cover it tightly and stick it in the fridge for at least 4 hours. FOUR hours! Here’s where I cheated. Because we were hungry. I only put it in the fridge for 2 hours. And guess what? It was perfect. The important thing is that the “cheesecake” sets. And it needs to cool to do so. But 2 hours was enough for me.

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Doesn’t it kind of look like a real cheesecake? Well, besides the delicious flecks of pesto.

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The recipe said to serve it with crackers, but we all agreed that that was a little repetitive given there were crackers in the crust. I served it with celery too and a whole selection of veggies would have been nice. But you could also make this cheesecake as more of a dip without the cracker crust.

Doesn’t it look a little like quiche?

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I was thrilled by how much everyone loved this. Between the 6 of us, we probably could have eaten the whole thing, but we still had a whole big Easter dinner to look forward to.

I really think the pesto made this “cheesecake,” but if you don’t like pesto, you could always make without. Or add whatever you like. I think chopped up sundried tomatoes would also be fabulous.

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This really is the perfect appetizer to bring to your next party or gathering. It literally took no time at all to prepare– Just make sure you give it ample time to sit in the fridge. It’s fun and a little bit different, and most importantly, amazingly delicious (and oh so creamy!).

I brought Mitzi to my parents’ to celebrate Easter with us and she was loving the warm weather. Check out her adorable glitter bunny rabbit bandana! She managed to find a few crumbs from the appetizer, too.

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We ate the pesto cheesecake on the deck and spent lots of time “admiring” the new backyard pond.

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This pond was definitely not here the last time I was visiting my parents in Andover. Maybe it will stick around for summer and we can get some good swimming in? It’s kind of pretty…. If you can look at it without thinking about a flooding basement, too.

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We’re continuing to love this amazing weather here in Boston; hope it’s pleasant wherever you are too!

What’s your favorite simple appetizer to bring to parties?

[Sues]

20 Responses to "Pesto Cheesecake"

  1. Yum, that does look good! I love cheesey appetizers for parties. The cheesecake part of the title kind of threw me off. Not gonna lie, I still haven’t broken down to buy a springform pan. I stick with my round cake pan or pie dish.

  2. Erica says:

    What a great app! I am book marking this for the next time I have people over. Mitzi is ADORABLE! I cannot believe all the rain ya’ll have had up there. My sister is having terrible flooding issues at her house. Have a good week 🙂

  3. That is really unique! Sounds so delicious.

  4. Jessica says:

    Cool cheesecake! My fav app to bring somewhere is an easy veggie/fruit tray. Not too exciting, but it always disspears.

  5. This looks really interesting… my favorite appetizer is my warm spinach and artichoke dip. It is always a hit!

  6. kitchenbelle says:

    I don’t think I have ever tried a savory cheesecake. (I always opt for snickers-flavored! oops!) This sounds fantastic and a nice alternative to the usual apps. My go-to app is layered greek dip with home-baked pita chips. Everyone seems to rave about it and I can pull it together in a jiffy!

  7. omg what a great idea!! Love peso and cream cheese and savory things. Will have to remember this one.

  8. Sharlene says:

    Oh yum! It’s just the type of everyday-with-a-twist that I like to bring to events. And Mitzi is the cutest. This is already bookmarked for my next get-together.

  9. Quinn says:

    AWESOME idea! Will definitely be recreating.

  10. Lindsay says:

    Been reading your blog for a while now…I love it! I live in Nashville, and one of my songwriters is from Boston. His wife told me about it. Love the recipes you guys post. This one looks fab! 🙂

    http://lindsaylovesitall.blogspot.com/

  11. I love appetizers, and I love pesto! This looks amazing and delicious, I would probably want to eat it all as my dinner. And then have more for dessert 🙂

  12. Ellen Renee says:

    I can’t wait to try this – looks and sounds amazing!

  13. Shannon says:

    what an awesome appetizer idea!

  14. Nicole says:

    I guess I’m a fan of cheesecake, sweet and savory. This looked so good! It’s a great appetizer to bring to a party. Pesto and sun-dried tomato (or maybe some olives) would be great in this recipe. I love it! So versatile!

  15. Arrrgggh I want to stick a bowtie on this pesto cheesecake and make it escort me to junior prom.

    That … that doesn’t even make sense. This looks so delicious that it UNHINGED MY BRAIN.

  16. alyssa says:

    Hi Sues and Chels, I made this yesterday for a family party and it was a HUUUUUUGGGEE hit!!! thanks so much for the recipe, it was the inspiration I needed to finally start a blog of my own 🙂

  17. Shelley says:

    Think it’d be okay to make this on Wednesday for a party at work on Friday?

  18. Vidya says:

    Looks delicious, but 1 stick of butter seems a bit much for the crust – just a tip in case you are looking to cut it down, I usually only use a couple of tablespoons of cold butter, and pulse it with cracker crumbs in a food processor, or just mix it, melted or slightly soft, into the crumbs – it turns out about the same, the cheesecake bit compresses it into a stable, buttery crust anyway.

  19. chef floyd says:

    very good but 1 teaspoon of butter is enough to coat pan.

  20. Lindsay says:

    YUM! That looks great…and easy. Gotta love that! Found my way here from Velva over at Tomatoes on the Vine. Love what you two are doing here. I started my blog with a similar mindset. I am not a professional, super-star cook…but that doesn’t mean I can’t try to be! Keep it up ladies! I can only imagine how fun this is to run a fun food blog with a friend from 2nd grade. So cool.

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