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Portobello and Roasted Garlic Cheesecake w/ Balsamic Syrup & Crispy Oregano
This is a recipe Chef Valoppi came up with years ago. Many people are taken aback by the concept but when they try it and find out that it is light and flavorful, not heavy or like dessert cheesecake they revel in the idea of something so different.
1 loaf Rosemary Garlic Bread
2 large Portobello mushrooms
1 tomato, sliced
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup roasted garlic cloves, see below
1 cup balsamic vinegar
Toasted pine nuts
1 bunch fresh oregano, fried.
Roast garlic. Remove skins from 2-3 heads of garlic (enough to make 1/2 cup) and wrap cloves in tinfoil.
Place in a 375 degrees F oven. Bake about 45 minutes. Remove when golden brown and smash into a paste. Set aside until ready to use.
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Brush focaccia with olive oil; season. Bake until crisp. Don’t turn off oven. Place in bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Heat grill.
Slice portobellos from top to bottom. Brush with olive oil, season and grill. Place on inner rim of pan.
Beat cream cheese with salt until smooth; add eggs and blend.
In separate bowl, whisk sour cream and cornstarch. Add to cheese mixture; fold well. Season with salt and pepper. Fold in garlic. Fill pan until 1/4 inch from top.
Rap to knock out bubbles. Top with sliced tomato. Bake at 350 degrees F until firm, about 25 minutes.
Presentation options: Drizzle with balsamic vinegar syrup. Garnish plate with toasted pine nuts, crispy oregano and balsamic syrup.
For balsamic vinegar syrup, place 1 cup balsamic vinegar in pot over high heat and cook until it reduces to the consistency of a fairly thick syrup, about 15 minutes.
Yield: Serves 12