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27 January 2012

Nacho Cheesecake

After making this cheesecake, I understand a little bit better why food stylists must love their jobs.  When I arrived with this dish, most everyone thought it was some kind of salad, not dessert for the evening!

You can substitute your own favorite cheesecake recipe, though to achieve the right look, you'll want to use one that can be baked in a pie plate, rather than in a springform pan.  And if you can't find the candies suggested, use your imagination and substitute something different.  For instance, I couldn't find black licorice dots to make "sliced olives," so I chopped up black licorice strings to make "chopped olives."

Nacho Cheesecake
Printable Recipe
Adapted from Food Network Magazine
Yield: 1-9 inch cheesecake (approx 10 servings)
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Ingredients:
  • For the Cheesecake:
    • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 6 Tbsp butter, melted
    • 16 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 2/3 cup sugar
    • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
    • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 3 large eggs
    • Orange food coloring (or yellow and red food coloring)
    • Cooking spray
    • 1/2 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup sugar
  • For the Chips:
    • 2 rolls refrigerated pie dough
    • Flour, for dusting
    • 1 Tbsp milk
    • 4 to 6 Tbsp sugar
  • For the Salsa & Garnishes:
    • 8 red Swedish Fish
    • 1/4 cup strawberry jam
    • 3 green licorice twists
    • 6 black licorice dots
    • 3 Tbsp chocolate covered raisins
    • 3 Tbsp sour cream
    • Orange food coloring (or yellow and red food coloring)

Preparation:
  1. Make the cheesecake:  
    1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix the graham cracker crumbs, 1/4 cup sugar, and melted butter until well combined.  Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray, then press the graham cracker mixture onto the bottom of the pan.  Chill the crust for 15 to 20 minutes.
    2. Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth.  Add the 2/3 cup sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla; beat well.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Tint the batter orange with the food coloring.  Pour the batter into the pan and bake until puffed and almost set, 20 to 30 minutes.
    3. Mix the sour cream and 1/4 cup sugar; spread over the hot cheesecake and bake 5 more minutes.
    4. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then chill 2 hours.
  2. Make the chips:
    1. Allow pie dough to soften as directed on box.  Unroll 1 of the pie dough rolls on a lightly floured surface, flatten slightly.  Brush the dough with half the milk and sprinkle with half the sugar.  Cut the dough into 2" wide strips.
    2. Cut each strip of dough into as many 2" wide triangles as possible.   Place the triangles on a parchment lined baking sheet.
    3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the remaining roll of pie dough.
    4. Bake at 450°F until lightly golden, 8 to 10 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.
  3. Make the salsa & garnishes:
    1. Cut the Swedish Fish into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with the strawberry jam.
    2. Cut the green licorice on the diagonal into 1/8-inch thick slices for green "chiles."
    3. For the "olives," cut the black licorice dots into 1/4-inch thick rounds.  Use a straw or pastry tip to remove a circle from the center of each round.
    4. Tint the sour cream orange with the food coloring to look like melted cheese.  Spoon the orange sour cream into a pastry bag.
  4. Decorate:
    1. Press the pie crust "chips" into the cheesecake.
    2. Add the black licorice "olives," the chocolate covered raisins, the green "chiles," and the Swedish Fish "salsa."
    3. Snip a small corner from the bag of orange sour cream and pipe a few dots on the cheesecake for "melted cheese."
    4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  (Don't decorate the cheesecake too far in advance of serving. The pie crust "chips" will soften in the refrigerator.)
Happy baking!


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