Aubergine Cheesecake

This Aubergine Cheesecake has to count as one of my finds of the year. I originally made a version of this dish for the Cheese issue of the Sunday Times Food Weekly in April of this year.  The issue coincided with the annual South African Cheese Festival and I loved creating and photographing 6 dishes made with local artisanal cheeses from all over South Africa.

Aubergine Cheesecake

The original recipe is from Yotam Ottolenhi’s Plenty More, a beautiful book dedicated to cooking with vegetables. I find myself referencing the book more and more, not just for the beautiful photography but also the delicious recipes.

The cake is wonderfully creamy and one of the reasons I love this recipe is that it is such a perfect dish that can travel. You line the pie dish with tin foil and bake the cake in it. Once it has cooled down it you can lift it out and put it straight into your picnic basket and head outside with a tasty gourmet picnic dish.

Aubergine Cheesecake

In the recipe I used a delicious Smoked Gouda cheese from Kasselhoop in the Stilbaai area of the Western Cape. Ottolenghi’s recipe uses Feta cheese. You can experiment with any cheese but I would go for a cheese with a good strong flavour. A goat’s cheese could work very well too.

The recipe calls for fresh baby tomatoes to be used. If you do have the time, I would roast the tomatoes with some garlic, thyme and chili first to intensify the flavour before adding it to the filling. Sometimes our tomatoes can be so insipid and do not offer that much in taste.

Also a reminder that we still have a few spots left for our Food Photography Workshop this coming Sunday, the 14th of June. Give me a shout if you want to book your seat for an inspirational and super fun day.

Aubergine Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • olive oil for brushing
  • Filling:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 medium aubergines (black or purple), halved lengthwise and sliced in 2cm slices
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g cream cheese, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 60ml double cream
  • 30ml full cream milk
  • 150g finely grated cheese - Smoked Gouda or Feta or any cheese of your choice
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 150g baby tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • Dressing:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • ½ tsp dried oregano

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C
  2. Line a roasting pan with baking paper and brush with some olive oil
  3. Line the base and sides of approx 20cm diameter round or 19cm square pie dish with foil and brush with olive oil
  4. Place the aubergine slices on the lined roasting tray and drizzle with the ¼ cup olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and black pepper
  5. Roast for 40 minutes until soft and golden and set aside
  6. Turn down oven temperature to 170 degrees C
  7. Place the softened cream cheese, eggs, cream and milk in a bowl and whisk until well combined
  8. Mix in the grated Gouda and chopped parsley
  9. Arrange the aubergine slices in the in the prepared pie dish in one layer
  10. Place the sliced tomatoes in between the aubergine and spoon the cheese mixture over
  11. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes until the mixture is set and golden
  12. Let it cool to room temperature
  13. While cooling, mix the dressing ingredients together
  14. Remove the cake from the dish and carefully remove the foil
  15. Cut into 4 – 6 wedges/squares, spoon the dressing on top and serve
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*This recipe was first published in Sunday Times Food Weekly*

Adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi

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