When my husband and I hosted an annual supper last week for his freshman class at Amherst College, I served a familiar menu, one I’ve cooked for more than a decade. A vegetarian dish of rigatoni tossed in a spicy tomato sauce again anchored the meal partnered by a mixed greens salad and warm crusty bread. As usual, for dessert I set out a bowl of fresh berries and fruit along with several chocolate treats, including a chocolate caramel cake and chocolate almond shortbreads. When it came to appetizers, though, I decided to try a new opener—a savory Gorgonzola cheesecake garnished with apple wedges, toasted croutons, grapes, and some fig jam.
Right before the young people arrived, I had a moment of panic. What if this new cheesecake offered as an opener rather than a dessert was a flop. What if the students were not adventurous eaters and the dish was untouched. Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry long! From the moment the group gathered around our coffee table in front of a roaring fire, they enthusiastically began sampling this Gorgonzola creation.
They took seconds and thirds, spreading the creamy blue cheese mixture onto toasted baguette slices or apple wedges. Some spooned fig jam atop the cheese mixture while others added grapes to their servings! When one student asked for the directions for the dish, I knew it was a hit.
Perfect for the holidays, since it can be prepared two days ahead and easily serves 20, this cheesecake has a walnut crust and a silken smooth Gorgonzola and cream cheese filling scented with rosemary and black pepper. It makes a striking appearance garnished with seasonal fruits, crisp toasted bread slices, or crackers. A small bowl of fig or other fruit jam adds a distinctive note. Serve it at an open house, take it to a potluck, or bring it to your workplace, and watch (then smile) as you see it disappear!
Print This Recipe
Savory Gorgonzola Cheesecake with Grapes, Apples and Toasted Baguette Slices
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup walnuts, toasted and finely ground
1/3 cup panko crumbs
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 pounds (three 8-oz packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
12 oz creamy Gorgonzola, rind removed, and cheese broken into chunks, at room temperature
1/2 cup whipping or heavy cream
2 1/4 tsp dried crushed rosemary
1 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt
4 to 5 large eggs at room temperature
1 /4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Red or green (or a combination) grapes clusters
Toasted baguette slices (See cooking tip.)
2 apples such as Granny Smith or Honey Crisp stemmed, cored, cut into 1/4 -inch thick wedges and tossed in the juice of 1 lemon
Fig jam (Stonewall Kitchen’s Fig and Ginger Jam works well.)
1.Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick spray.
2. Combine ground walnuts, panko crumbs, flour, and salt in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and mix well. Pat the mixture evenly onto the bottom of the pan. Place pan on center shelf of the oven and bake until set, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, but leave the oven on.
3.With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, Gorgonzola, rosemary, pepper, and salt in a mixing bowl just until creamy and smooth, 11/2 minutes or longer. Stop the machine to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce speed to low and add cream. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing just to blend and stopping to scrape down sides as needed. Pour the batter into the springform pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
4.Bake until the cheesecake is firm, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool the cheesecake in the pan on a rack to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled. (Can be prepared 2 days ahead. Bring to room temperature 1 hour before serving.)
5. Run a paring knife around the inside edges of the springform pan to loosen. Then remove the sides. Transfer cheesecake to a platter or tray and sprinkle some chopped walnuts in the center on the top. Garnish with clusters of grapes, apple slices, toasted baguette slices, and with a bowl of fig jam. To eat spread a little cheesecake on an apple wedge or baguette slice. Top, if desired with some fig jam or grapes. Serves 20
Market note: I particularly like to use Mountain Gorgonzola, available at Whole Foods and other supermarkets.
Cooking tip: Cut a baguette into 3/8-inch thick slices and brush on both sides generously with olive oil. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 4 minutes, then turn and bake on the other side 3 to 4 minutes more or until just crisp. Remove and cool. (Toasted baguettes slices can be prepared 6 hours ahead; leave at cool room temperature covered loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil.)
copyright Betty Rosbottom 2017
Cannot wait to make this for Christmas day! Tired of always bringing the same 3 or 4 appetizers I always make. I know this will be a hit.
So happy you’re going to try it. You really can make it a day or two ahead so no last-minute work. Be sure to have Gorgonzola, cream cheese, and eggs at room temp to prevent beating too much air into the cheesecake.
Hope your family likes it as much as I do! Merry Christmas and a wonderful 2018 to you!
Looks amazing…but what exactly does the measurement pds stand for in the cream cheese?
“pds” is for pounds –you need three 8-oz packages of cream cheese which is 1 1/2 pounds.
I was confused too. Better to say, three 8 oz packages of cream cheese.
I edited the recipe so it reads “1 1/2 pounds (three 8-oz packages) cream cheese.” Thanks for your input.
How strong is the flavor with the gorgonzola? thanks
I think it’s nicely balanced. I started with much more Gorgonzola, but reduced it to 4oz and liked that amount. Hope this helps!
The recipe calls for 12 oz – is it 12 or 4 oz?
Yes, 12 ounces is the correct amount of Gorgonzola. You need that amount to have a nice flavor of the cheese.
Betty thoughts on making this smaller? Or can it be frozen if there are leftovers?
I have one whole cheesecake (made in my cooking class on this Wed) in the freezer and I think it will be fine if defrosted overnight in the fridge.
When I was testing this recipe I used 1/3 of the recipe (including for the crust) and baked it in small individual round casserole dishes that were 5 1/2 inches wide and 1 1/2 inch deep (with a 2-cup capacity). They worked fine and the baking time was 30 or more minutes. Just make sure not to over beat the batter when you add the egg. Hope this works. I think you could use a shallow 2 cup shallow souffle dish too
BTW the gorgonzola cheesecake leftovers from the student party last week are still tasting good when I nibble on them!
Hope you have a wonderful Christmas and holidays!
Sounds Fabulous!! Was wondering if it might keep 3 days? Would love to bring Christmas Eve if kept refrigerated from 22nd. We will be out of town 2 days before Christmas?
Yes, I think it will be fine. I have made it up to 2 days ahead, but my leftovers from the student party were delicious after 4 days!
Hi Betty- Every December a group of 6 friends ( who celebrate our birthdays through out the year) invite our husbands to join us for a Christmas party! Always a festive event! I was charged with the appetizer course for this year’s dinner and when I saw your post describing the Gorgonzola Cheesecake I stopped searching for an idea! It was perfect—delicious and a wonderful holiday presentation! Everyone loved it! Thank you so much!
Thank you so much for your note. Every food writer (myself included) loves to hear that readers have made their recipes successfully!
I’m so glad your birthday pals and spouses liked that special cheesecake! Every time I’ve made it, I’ve had wonderful feedback (excuse the
pun!). Hope 2018 is filled with good for you!
I have mini spring form pans. I I’d like to make this as an appetizer for my dinner party in late March. Do you think I can 1/2 the recipe and it would work? Would that change the baking time?
You can certainly halve the recipe, but I can’t tell you how many of your mini-cheesecake pans you can fill since that will depend on their size.
When I tested the recipe, I did it in small batches and the baking time was about 30 minutes. I’d suggest starting to check the smaller ones after 20 or 25 minutes.
Hope this helps. Betty
I was wondering if you could skip the crust for this recipe. I’ve had Gorgonzola cheesecake at a winery and did not have a crust.
The crust is especially good and provides a nice contrast with its crispness to the creamy, smooth cheesecake. If you omit it,you might want to wrap bottom of cheesecake pan with foil in case mixture leaks. Hope this helps.
Yes, thank you! However, I didn’t have any leaks. I hope this turns out okay. I picked up 3 Gorgonzola cheeses in tubs (so I thought). They were 4oz each. When I got home I realized one of the tubs was Bleu Cheese. I didn’t have time to go back to the store and get one more Gorgonzola tub. I’m going to a wine tasting so I hope it’s good. Wonderful recipe you submitted!
Hi, Wonderful recipe Betty. I made this for Thanksgiving last week and wondering if it is still good. There is some left over. Your recipe says can be made up to two days ahead, so that is why I am asking.
Glad you tried that special savory cheesecake. I think it’s still good up to about a week out. Last year, I had half a cheesecake left over and I froze it. I wrapped in a double thickness of plastic wrap and then tightly in foil. I defrosted it a couple of months later to use for a meeting I hosted. it still tasted very good–crust was not as crispy, but everyone loved the taste. Hope this helps. Betty
Thank you, I will freeze tonight. It is Wonderful! I do miss your column in the newspapers, so glad you have this site! Thank you. Denise
I made these yesterday and we had them tonight. These are great! We added fig jam and crumbled prosciutto it was amazing…I am freezing them for upcoming parties. I made them in the smaller spring form pans. This recipe made 6 of them. I really want to thank you this will become one of my family favorites in no time:)
Thank you for this delicious recipe. I am having trouble finding creamy Gorgonzola. Should I order it online or is there a substitute that will be just as delicious?
P.S I made this several years ago at Christmas. It was a huge hit!!
Thanks so much for your note. Any good gorgonzola that is not dry and that does not crumble easily should work. Gorgonzola dolce and mountain gorgonzola are two I have used bought at Whole Foods. If there’s a special cheese counter at your local supermarket or if you have a specialty food shop that sells cheeses, ask a sales person to help you find a Gorgonzola you can beat until smooth. Hope this helps! Betty