Savory Mediterranean Cheesecake

photo taken by thehipvegetarian

My mother-in-law made this cheesecake for Christmas dinner. The thought of a savory cheesecake has never occurred to me, so I was rather excited to try this appetizer.

Honestly this tasted like pizza.

This recipe comes out of the Paula Deen’s Christmas cookbook. Black olives in cheesecake; why am I not surprised?  After all Paula puts Velveeta cheese in her chocolate fudge.

Savory Mediterranean Cheesecake

1 1/3 cup Panko, (Japanese bread crumbs)
6 Tbl. Butter, melted
1/4 cup Butter
1/4 cup Green Onion, minced
1/4 cup Parsley, chopped, fresh
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 (10 oz) package Spinach, frozen & chopped, thawed & squeezed dry
3 (8 oz) packages Cream Cheese, softened
1/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
4 Eggs, large
1/2 tea. Oregano, dried
1/2 tea. Basil, dried
1/2 tea. Salt
1/2 tea. Ground Black Pepper
2 (2.5 oz) cans Black Olives, sliced & drained
1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
Assorted Crackers for dipping
Garnish: Fresh Parsley, Fresh Oregano, Sliced Black Olives

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

In a small bowl, combine bread crumbs and melted butter. Press mixture into bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 8 minutes.

In a medium skillet, melt 1/4 cup butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, parsley, and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until tender. Add spinach, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat, and set aside.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese, cream, and eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth. Beat in oregano, basil, salt, and pepper. Divide mixture evenly into 2 medium bowls. Stir spinach mixture into one-half of cream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with sliced olives.

Stir Parmesan cheese and feta cheese into remaining half of cream cheese mixture. Spread cheese mixture evenly over olives. Bake for 1 hour and 5 to 15 minutes, or until center is set. Let cool completely in pan. Gently run a knife around edges of pan to release sides. Cover and chill.

Serve cheesecake at room temperature with assorted crackers. Garnish with parsley, oregano, and black olives, if desired.

Note: Cheesecake can be made up to 1 month ahead. Wrap tightly in heavy-duty plastic wrap, and freeze. Let come to room temperature before serving.