Sunday, January 15, 2012

It's a cheesecake! And it's spiiiicy!

The other day I was thinking of what sort of treat I wanted to make for Shabbos morning Kiddush. It had been a while since we'd had cheesecake so that came to mind. Never one to leave well enough alone I tweeted that I would be making a chili cheesecake, as sort of a conceptual riff on a chili cheese dog. Well, not really, those aren't kosher and the cheese there is melted cheese and the chili is beef and beans. But hey, it's Twitter and people say all sorts of bombastic things. The comment was sort of off the cuff, but some people (I'm looking at you Kruiser) seemed to be intrigued by the idea, so I thought I'd give it a go.

You'll need:
6-8 Graham Crackers
Stick of butter
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon red chili flakes

7 eggs (seperated)
3/4 cup sugar
16 oz cream cheese
8 oz sour cream
2/5 cup cornflour
2/5 cup vanilla pudding mix
2 tbsp red chili flakes (or more...)

You're also going to need something to put it in. I used Pannettone paper cups, which have a straight, flat edge unlike regular muffin cups. This recipe ended up making 14 mini-cheesecakes. I would also recommend doing this in the evening, since they get left in the oven for 4-6 hours after baking.

In a food processer blitz up the graham crackers into a coarse powder and mix in the sugar and chili flakes. Melt the butter and stir into the crumb mixture. You can use vanilla wafers if you're short on graham crackers. Pat 1-2 tbsps into each cup, patting it down. Put it in the oven at 350F (180C) for 5 minutes then take out to cool down.

Meanwhile, it's time to make the cheesecake mixture. Leaving the egg whites aside, mix all the other ingredients together in a bowl. So, egg yolks, then sugar, sour cream, cream cheese, then cornflour and pudding mix. We also add in the chili flakes at this point, if you want to spice it up.

When that is well mixed take the egg whites and beat the living heck out of them. Well, not that much, you want to get them to the "soft peak" stage.

Now for the delicate bit, with a spatula gently mix the egg whites into the rest of the mixture. Taking about a third at a time, slide the beaten whites into the bowl and fold them in slowly so it stays aerated.

Preheat the oven 325F (150C).
When it's all combined start filling the cups. This is the easy part. Fill them about 2/3 of the way up.
Sprinkle a little bit of chili on top of the mix and put it in the oven. Also, put a bowl of water (make sure it's oven proof) on a lower rack. Let them cook for 70-80 minutes, then turn off the oven and leave them there until the following morning.
In theory, they're done! Woohoo! Or, you can kick them up a notch. I removed the paper mold from the cheesecakes, which should be more cake like than a regular heavy cheesecake. I then melted white chocolate with a bit of butter and dipped the tops of each cake in it. When it had set I took melted caramel and splattered it on top of the chocolate.

Needless to say they were a big hit. I made some with chili and some without. As I said, the texture is much more cake like, very fluffy, but it tasted like a classic cheese cake, sweet and a bit sour, just when you think the flavor profile finishes the chili kicks in. It starts subtly and then builds up, but is never over powering, muted by the cheese. Highly recommended, but a not a beginner recipe.


  1. Eeeeeew why did you ruin it with chili? I hate spicy food.

    1. Everything is better when made spicy! And the chili is optional.

    2. Lol if it wasn't optional I'd make it so, but no, everything is better when not made to burn my mouth. I dislike pain, but I love food, so combining the two? Ugh :)