These mini cheese cakes are a very good alternative for a cheese course. The assortment of cheeses which you would like to serve (such as Fontina, good quality Sharp Cheddar, Brie, fresh Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, Stilton or other blue cheeses) can be very successfully used instead of Ricotta, goat cheese and Pecorino Romano. I some times bake a Pesto Cheese Cake, which looks marbled like blue cheese; cut it in thin slices and serve with crackers and my Pear Carpaccio with Lemon-Lime and Mint Vinaigrette, which I made for the Pear contest, and posted here on Food52. This time I served the little cakes with a delicious, slightly spicy prepared Mango Ginger Chutney, imported from India. —Kukla
For the crust and topping
• 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
• 3 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
• 2 cups fresh bread crumbs (about 4 slices, processed in food processor with 3/4 cup toasted nuts), I used walnuts
For the filling
• 6 slices center-cut bacon, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
•1 cup packed, fresh whole milk Ricotta cheese,softened
• 1 cup packed, soft goat cheese
• 1/2 sour cream
• 3 large eggs, room temperature
• 1/2 cup chopped mixed fresh herbs (such as basil, mint, tarragon, rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley), I used parsley, thyme and chives
• 1or 2 large pinches cayenne pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• Kosher or Sea salt to taste
• 2 teaspoons of lemon zest
In This Recipe
In a skillet, cook bacon until crispy; remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels.
Line a 12-cup or two 6-cups 3-inches in diameter muffin pan with baking paper cups and lightly spray with cooking spray. Combine crust ingredients; divide evenly and lightly press 3/4 of the mixture in the bottom of the muffin cups. Chill while preparing filling.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a bowl of an electric mixer combine Ricotta, goat cheese and sour cream; beat until smooth. Add eggs one at a time; beat until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir-in herbs, lemon zest, bacon (leaving about 3 tablespoons for the top), cayenne and black pepper and salt.
Pour evenly the cheese filling over chilled crusts into muffin cups, top with the remaining bacon and crust mixture. Bake for about 35 minutes or until the center is just set.
Transfer to a cooling rack; cool to room temperature. Serve as a cheese course with grapes, apple or pear slices.