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Santa Fe Cheesecake With Cilantro Pesto

  • Yield: 12 to 16 servings


  • 1 cup toasted bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 pound pepper jack, grated
  • 1/2 pound queso blanco, grated
  • 1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 8 fresh roasted, peeled, seeded New Mexico green chiles, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup grated queso blanco
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  • To make the crust, place the bread crumbs, pine nuts, and butter in a food processor and process until thoroughly combined. Press mixture into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
  • In the bowl, beat the pepper jack, queso fresco, and cream cheese until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after the addition of each. Fold in the peppers, jalapenos, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, checking after 45 minutes. (Cake should be golden and puffed, and just set in the center.) Remove from the oven and cool completely on a rack before serving.
  • To make the pesto: In a blender, combine the cilantro, pine nuts, and garlic, and puree on high speed. Add the cheese, pepper, and salt, and process to combine. Scrape the sides of the blender, and with the machine running, add the olive oil. Blend until well combined.
  • To serve, drizzle the cheesecake with the Cilantro Pesto, slice, and serve.