Savory Appetizer Cheesecakes Series :: Crawfish & Corn Cheesecake with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
Years ago, a friend who’d worked at Martin Wine Cellar gave me a recipe for their crawfish cheesecake. I’ve tweaked the recipe over the years and this is what I’ve landed on. It’s so great, I’ve made this cheesecake for parties, showers, and even my own wedding. (Yep, you read that right — I bought a giant springform pan, scaled the recipe up, and made it 2 days before the wedding and my venue was happy to include it on our buffet. I also made and froze miniature versions of my crawfish pies that were served as passed hors d’oeuvres!)
Crawfish & Corn Cheesecake with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis
For the Cheesecake:
3 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, very soft
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
1/2 cup diced onion
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
1 pound Louisiana crawfish tails, rinsed and drained
1 cup corn kernels (I use the frozen Fire Roasted Corn from Trader Joe’s – you can use drained canned corn or omit it altogether)
2 tablespoons Tony Chachere’s
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
For the Roasted Red Pepper Coulis Topping:
1 jar of roasted red peppers, drained
4-5 leaves of fresh basil
This recipe will use a 9-inch springform pan or 2 6-inch springform pans. I like to remove the bottom and wrap it in a layer of foil and then put the pan back together so that I can easily slide it onto a serving plate. Grease it well to ensure the cheesecake will come out.
Melt the butter and then add your breadcrumbs and mix well. Press into the bottom of the springform pan. Set aside.
Normally I like to sauté the onion in my recipes, but I find that just nuking the diced onion for 30-45 seconds is enough to soften it. (It will cook during the baking process anyway.) Put cream cheese in the mixer and let it mix until it is softened. Add each egg, one at a time, and then the yolk. Add the Tony’s. Add the sour cream and continue to mix. Add the onion and shredded Italian cheese blend and continue to mix until it is well combined. Add the crawfish tails and corn and then mix by hand.
Pour the cheesecake batter into the pan. Cover with foil to prevent over browning. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 50 minutes, checking often. It shouldn’t be very wiggly and should be light brown on top, with a knife inserted into the center coming out clean. Don’t be surprised if it takes longer than an hour to bake — I’ve made some that took almost 90 minutes, so just watch it carefully. (The smaller 6-inch pans sometimes take nearly 2 hours!) Do not despair if the cheesecake cracks — you’re topping it when you serve it! The cheesecake needs to sit in the pan until it is completely set, so do not take it out ahead of time. Chill in the refrigerator overnight. Take it out about an hour before you want to serve it and immediately before serving, spread the top of the cheesecake with the topping (directions below). Serve with bagel or pita chips, crostini, or crackers.
For the topping: Add the drained red peppers and basil leaves in a food processor or blender and process until smooth. If it is chunky, drizzle in some olive oil until it is smooth.