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Spanish Appetizer Cheesecake

From: Recipe Challenge Winners

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Serves 20


A Runner-Up in the 2009 Diamond Recipe Challenge.


  • 1 cup fresh white bread crumbs, toasted
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ pound pepper jack cheese, grated
  • ½ pound Mexican queso blanco, grated
  • 2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, drained, chopped
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced or grated garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, or more to taste
  • Topping: 1 cup purchased pesto sauce
  • For serving: Assorted bread slices, bagel chips, corn chip scoopers, crackers


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Place the bread crumbs, walnuts, and butter in a food processor and process until thoroughly combined. Press mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the pepper jack cheese, queso fresco, and cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after the addition of each. Fold in the roasted red peppers, jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes until golden and puffed, and just set in the center. Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack before unmolding To serve, place cheesecake in the center of a large platter, drizzle with pesto and surround with assorted breads, chips and crackers.

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