Happy New Year! We wish you a new year filled with all things wonderful. For us, that means lots of family dinners, spending time with those you love, fun times with friends, laughter, love, happy memories and of course, good food.
To end 2015 in style—and to kick off 2016 with great flavor—this appetizer recipe is the one to serve. I have served it several times lately and it was a hit every time! Easy to prepare with show-stopping looks means it is a winner! Funny—it has a mild flavor with just a hint of something special—but trust me, even if blue-veined cheese is not your favorite flavor, this cheesecake will still be your new favorite appetizer. When I served it, several friends asked what the flavor was and they were shocked when I revealed the secret ingredient, for the flavor is captivating yet mild.
Another plus for it—the size. It is made in that 7-inch springform pan that is a favorite. Not too big, not too small—just right.
So, toast the New Year! Here’s to you!
Gorgonzola Appetizer Cheesecake**
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
8 ounces Gorgonzola or Roquefort cheese, chopped (See tip, below)
½ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¾ to 1 cup pear preserves (about ½ to ¾ of a 12 ounce jar pear preserves)
Crackers or fresh vegetables, for serving
Line a 7-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Spray with nonstick coating.
In a large mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese, Gorgonzola cheese, sour cream, chives and parsley using an electric mixer at medium high speed. Beat until creamy. Beat in eggs, one a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in flour. Spoon mixture into prepared pan.
Slow Cooker: Shape a piece of aluminum foil, about 18 to 24 inches long, into a ring. Place the foil ring in the bottom of a large (5 to 7-quart) slow cooker. Place the filled pan on the foil ring. Cover the slow cooker and cook on High 2 to 2 ½ hours until softly set. Turn the slow cooker off, leave covered and allow the slow cooker and the cheesecake to cool together for about 1 hour. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Conventional Oven: Preheat oven to 325ºF. Bake for 1 hour or until set. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, run a table knife around the edges of the chilled cheesecake and remove the sides of the pan. Spread the pear preserves over the top of the cheesecake. Serve with crackers or vegetables.
Makes 1 (7-inch) appetizer cheesecake; about 10 to 12 servings
Garnish with sliced pears and parsley sprig. Toss pear slices in lemon juice to prevent darkening. Or, garnish with toasted, chopped walnuts or pecans.
Gorgonzola is a blue-veined cheese. For this recipe, I choose Gorgonzola Dolce, which refers to a younger, milder cheese and to me, it was perfect in this recipe. (Specifically, I used Igor Gorgonzola Dolce.) Those cheeses that are aged longer will be stronger in flavor.
**Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2011.