Crab Cheesecake ~ Savoury
A decade ago I had put together a cheesecake cookery demonstration for a wonderful group of ladies who wanted to have an enjoyable day out together. Since eating 5 kinds of desserts did not sound too appealing I decided to make something savoury; a cheesecake with crab meat. Although unfortunately I do not have the recipe of that day in my archives, I have always wanted to recreate it and here it is created, devoured with affection and much appreciated. There was no choice but to upload it immediately for posterity!
Makes one 9 or 10 inch/23cm or 25 cm spring form pan; lined with parchment paper.
424 gm/ 1lb fresh crab
200 gm/ 7 oz paneer/cottage cheese
125 gm /4 oz jalapeno cream cheese
125 gm/ 4 oz garlic and herb cream cheese
1 1/2 cups cream
3/4 cup milk
2 egg yolks
Juice of one lime; divided in half for inside and after to brush
generous sprinkle of tabasco
pinch of sugar
pinch of salt
12 small pickled peppadew red pepper
4 tbsp chopped chives
2 tbsp fine chiffonade of basil
2 cups smoked gouda + herbed gouda, grated
For the crust/base
1 clove of garlic
3 cups bread crumbs
1 1/2 tbsp salted butter
In a food processor with it running, drop in the clove of garlic, add the bread crumbs. Pulse a couple of times. Add the butter and keep pulsing until well mixed.
Remove into your prepared pan and press it down. Ensure the sides are properly covered preferably going higher then the parchment and no cracks are visible for the liquid to leak through.
Place on a large foil pulled up on the sides and place on a baking tray.
In a 350F/175 C degree place the pan to dry the the bread to prepare the crust. it should take about 10-12 minutes. It needs to be very light golden brown.
Once done allow to cool for a few minutes and sprinkle the gouda cheese all over.
In the meantime, in the same food processor prepare the filling with
adding the paneer , all the cream cheese's', peppers, eggs. Once it is smooth add the rest of the ingredients like cream, milk,lime, tabasco, sugar and salt. With the pulse button add the red peppers.
In a large mixing bowl place all the crab and the chives and basil . Pour the cream cheese over and mix well. Pour into the pan. Place on a cookie sheet and lower the temperature to 300F/145C to bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour until it is just set, lightly golden on the sides. Brush the rest of the lime juice all over. Serve warm.
The crab should be fresh.
Vacum packed crab that has been hand picked is available in the seafood section in tubs.
If you are picking your own, 2 large crabs will be enough. Simply dip the crab pieces at room temperature in salted boiling water for 5 minutes and it will be done.Do NOT overcook the crab as it will get like cotton wool and will be wasted.
The base can also be made up of crushed tortilla chips or corn bread, or any kind of bread that is stale. The butter is to put the crumbs together. The garlic is for the slight pungency it needs.
Left over garlic bread is another option.
The idea is to use already flavoured cream cheese is to save time, yet using more paneer, cottage cheese and flavouring it yourself with pickled or fresh jalapenos, garlic and herbs is completely an option.
Layering the grated cheese at the bottom saves the base from getting overly soggy.
I picked smoked Gouda as it melts beautifully but any favourite sharp cheddar, jalapeno cheese, gruyere, smoked cheese will work well.
Fresh and not processed cheese works best.
Using only half and half (where available) is also an option.
Remember It will set and continue to cook for a few minutes hence the jiggle in the center is a must to keep it creamy and moist.
It is best served fresh.
You can read about the history, origins and more about Parsi Food and more in my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.