There's a 1970s party food that I am addicted to. It's called Red Sauce. It contains ketchup and Worcestershire and onions and peppers and honey and some other Items. You cook them all together, chill it and then pour it over a block of cream cheese. And then you stand right next to the Spot where the red sauce is, and you eat it all. You might have to make Mean Faces at other hapless party-goers lest they try to swoop in and Have Some.
And sometimes when you're at home alone and maybe have some red sauce and cream cheese in the fridge and maybe have some crackers in the cabinet, you sit in front of the television and spear pieces of cream cheese with your knife. Then you dunk them into the jar of red sauce. Then you put That on a cracker and shove it into your face. If you run out of crackers, you just omit that step and shove the red sauce-coated hunk of cream cheese directly into your Gaping Maw.
I tell you this as my very long way of saying I Heart Cream Cheese with Tangy-Spicy Items on it.
I met another pour-over-a-block-of-cream-cheese sauce when I went to a Christmas party about 20 years ago. It was called Jezebel sauce. It was a miracle. Pineapple jelly, horseradish and black pepper. Sounds kinda hinky, but dang is it good over cream cheese!
I am still in love with tangy-spicy and cream cheese. And in honor of my Purchase of some Uncle Gary's Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly (I bought two jars of each), I decided to shove both of those ingredients into a savory cheesecake.
Friends, I am here to inform you that it Came to Pass that I made the cheesecake two evenings ago. And then I unmolded it yesterday. And then I ate a Very Lot of it. On crackers, mostly.
If you are a fan of tangy-spicy on cream cheese on crackers, this cheesecake is for you. It only contains a few ingredients and is very simple to make. And with its Jaunty topping of bright red pepper jelly, it would make a perfect Holiday Smackerel for a party. Or for Just Because. If you have a Christmas tree shaped mold, make it in that--that would be The Cutest!
A quick word about Uncle Gary's. The peppers are brined in a sweet-hot brine that is ridiculously good. If you make this with a different brand of pepper, just know that it won't taste like mine. And mine was awesome. So, if you'd like to try some Uncle Gary's, you can order here.*
The recipe makes one 6-inch cheesecake, so scale up if you'd like to make more. Or bake in 2 6-inch pans because it's a really nice size to set out for a party.
- 8 oz package cream cheese
- 4 oz herbed garlic goat cheese (or other soft, young chevre of your choice)
- 2 oz sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 3.5 oz Uncle Gary's Gourmet Peppers, well drained and rather finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- several grindings of white pepper
- ⅓-1/2 cup Uncle Gary's Gourmet Pepper Jelly, well-stirred
- Preheat the oven to 325F.
- Prepare a 6" cake pan by lining the bottom with a circle cut from parchment or non-stick aluminum foil. Spray the sides of the pan with pan spray. Set aside.
- Have a 9" or 10" pan ready for a water bath. Bring a kettle of water to the boil and keep hot.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese and goat cheese together until completely smooth. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
- Mix in the sour cream, egg, chopped peppers, salt and white pepper until well combined. Scrape the bowl as necessary.
- Pour the batter into your prepared pan and smooth the top.
- Put your filled pan in the larger pan and set them both on the middle rack of your oven.
- Quickly pour in the hot water to come about halfway up the side of your baking pan.
- Center the 6" pan in the water bath if necessary and bake for 35-40 min or until the cake is firm.
- Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool. When cool, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for several hours or overnight until completely chilled.
- Run a thin knife around the sides of the cheesecake pan and unmold on the serving platter of your choice.
- Pull the pan away--you may have to do a bit of jiggling--and peel off the parchment or non-stick foil.
- Spread an even layer of Uncle Gary's Pepper Jelly on top of the cheesecake and serve with crackers or crusty bread.
- Stand back.
Feel free to add chopped herbs, minced garlic or shallot, or some other savory mix-ins if you want, especially if you use a plain goat cheese. Mine was herby and garlicky, so I left well enough alone. For once.
I really hope you try this, especially if you were nodding your head in Understanding over the whole sitting on the couch thing. This is one Seriously Good Cheesecake, and I hope you enjoy it!
Take care, and have a lovely day.
*Other than being mutual fans on facebook, I have no business relationship with Uncle Gary's Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly, nor was I asked to write this post. I'm sharing it because Uncle Gary's peppers are some of the best I've ever had, and I don't think I've ever eaten a better pepper jelly.