Monday 27 March 2017

Crab Cheesecake

Savoury Crab Cheesecake 

More than a decade ago, I put together a cheesecake cookery demonstration for a wonderful group of ladies who wanted to have an enjoyable day out together. Since eating five 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 from 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 23cm or 33 cm/  9 or10 inch spring form pan; lined with parchment paper.


424 g/ 1 lb fresh crab
200 g/ 7 oz paneer/cottage cheese
125 g /4 oz jalapeno cream cheese
125 g/ 4 oz garlic and herb  cream cheese
1 1/2 cups cream
3/4 cup milk
3 eggs 
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. 

Place it in your prepared pan and press it down. Ensure the sides are properly covered, preferably going higher than the parchment and no cracks are visible for the liquid to leak through. 
Place it on a large foil pulled up on the sides and place it on a baking tray. 

In a 175°C |350°F pan, the bread dries the bread to prepare the crust. It should take about 10–12 minutes. It needs to be a very light golden brown. 
Once done, allow it to cool for a few minutes and sprinkle the gouda cheese all over. 

In the meantime, in the same food processor, prepare the filling by adding the paneer , all the cream cheese, peppers, and 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 it and mix well. Pour into the pan. Place on a cookie sheet and lower the temperature to 145C | 300 F to bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour until it is just set and lightly golden on the sides. Brush the rest of the lime juice all over. Serve warm.


The crab should be fresh. 
Vacuum 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, corn bread, or any kind of bread that is stale. The butter is to put the crumbs together. The garlic gives it the slight pungency it needs. 
Leftover garlic bread is another option. 

The idea is to use already-flavored cream cheese to save time, yet using more paneer, cottage cheese, and flavouring it yourself with pickled or fresh jalapenos, garlic, and herbs is also completely optional. 

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, or smoked cheese will work well. 
Fresh, 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 centre is a must to keep it creamy and moist. 
It is best served fresh.

My published cookbooks are available for sale through myself and on Amazon.

The World of Parsi Cooking: Food Across Borders is a 3 award winning book. It has been self published in July 2019 and will be going into its second print in 2022. 

The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine was published in 2016 by Austin Macauley and continues to be available through amazon book depot book depository and from the publishers.

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