By admin | November 16, 2011

By: Saira Malhotra

Feeling bold? Let the kitchen be your mecca to carry out your bold and creative self this Thanksgiving. Tandoori turkey is certainly an option, but how whimsical would it be to experiment with American classics. Take cheesecake as an example; has anyone ever considered why it always needs to be a dessert option? After all, it’s made of cheese and crackers. Once you’re able to remove preconceived notions of how cheesecake should taste, the options become limitless. Try a dollop of pesto, or throw in some lox for that lox ‘n’ cream cheese effect.

Today’s recipe calls for heat. It is a chili jelly cheese cake with fresh cracked pepper. Serve it up in mini cupcake cases as an appetizer or slice it up as a Thanksgiving meal side dish. This dish will become a conversation piece and will leave your guests with an image of ‘anything but conventional’. This dish can be made ahead of time and freezes very well leaving you with more time to mingle on the festive day.

Savory Chili Cheesecake Recipe

Inspired by Passport Pantry

1 packet of cheese ritz crackers crushed (1 1/2 cups crushed)
1 stick softened butter
3 tbsp of corn starch
1 tsp salt
4 oz sour cream
24 oz cream cheese (3 reg sized packs)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons chili jelly
Fresh cracked pepper



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Crush the crackers and butter in a food processor. If  the crumbs hold shape when you sqeeze them in your hands, you have the correct consistency, otherwise add more butter. Form a base at the bottom of a 9″ spring form pan
  3. Bake for 12 minutes, set aside to cool.
  4. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees

Cheese filling:

  1. Combine the sour cream, salt, cream cheese and corn starch without incorporating too much air (or cheesecake will crack).
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well.
  3. Swirl in the chili jelly and black pepper.
  4. Spoon over the crust.
  5. Bake for 1 hour.
  6. If the cheesecake is firm around the sides and soft in the center, remove and cool completely
  7. Once completely cooled, wrap well and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
  8. Top with chili jelly smoothed over the cheesecake surface.

Photo: Saira Malhotra

For more great Thanksgiving recipes and tips, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)


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