Monday, April 19, 2010

Savory Cheesecake Bites

These little cheesecakes a easy and elegant way to start a meal.  Top them with the Spiced Rhubarb Compote recipe below or use them as a garnish on a mixed baby green and herb salad.

Savory Cheesecake Bites
Makes 24

1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts
3 tbsp melted butter
8 oz goat cheese, at room temperature
8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Using 1 tbsp melted butter, brush the cups of a 24-cup mini muffin pan (1 3/4" x 3/4" cups) and set aside.

Place walnuts in a food processor and process until the walnuts are finely chopped. Pour the finely chopped walnuts into a small bowl, drizzle the remaining 2 tbsp of butter over the nuts and mix until thoroughly combined. Spoon 1 tsp of the mixture into each muffin cup. Using your fingers or the back of a spoon, press the walnut mixture into the bottom of the muffin cups to make the crust.

Beat the goat cheese and cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well. Add the thyme, white pepper and salt and combine well. Spoon mixture into the prepared pan.

Place the prepared pan in a roasting pan or deep sheet pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water half way up the muffin cups. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until the cheesecakes are set.
Remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. To serve, run a thin sharp knife around the sides of each cheesecake.  Serve as an appetizer (see the photo below) or garnish for a salad.

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