Roasted red peppers and fresh herbs basil, chive and thyme add notes of sweetness, licorice and a hint of peppery finish in ways that will surprise you. Add a drizzle of oil just before serving, and pass the pita chips. —Laura Julian, Amanda, Ohio
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 3/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1-1/2 cups roasted sweet red peppers, drained and finely chopped
- 3/4 cup minced fresh basil
- 1/3 cup minced fresh chives
- 3 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
- 3 tablespoons crumbled cooked bacon
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Roasted sweet red pepper strips and additional minced chives, optional
- Baked pita chips
- Preheat oven to 350°. Place a greased 9-in. springform pan on a double thickness of heavy-duty foil (about 18 in. square). Securely wrap foil around pan.
- Place cream cheese, ricotta cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Add eggs; pulse just until combined. Add red peppers, herbs, bacon and garlic; cover and pulse just until blended. Pour filling into prepared pan. Place springform pan in a large baking pan; add 1 in. of boiling water to larger pan.
- Bake 35-45 minutes or until center is just set and top appears dull. Remove springform pan from water bath; remove foil. Cool cheesecake on a wire rack 10 minutes; loosen edges from pan with a knife. Cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove rim from pan. Just before serving, drizzle cheesecake with oil; top with red pepper strips and chives if desired. Serve with pita chips. Yield: 24 servings.
Originally published as Herb & Roasted Pepper Cheesecake in Taste of Home April/May 2012, p67
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