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Hot Pepper Jelly Cheesecake

This is a no-cook, whip-together appetizer that started a pepper jelly stampede. Try varying the nuts and herbs - but not the jelly.

1/4 cup pine nuts
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup hot pepper jelly, preferably red
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
5 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 1/4 cups)
Sliced bread, crackers or Belgian endive cups as accompaniment

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until golden, about 8 minutes. Set aside.

Place the cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the jelly, garlic, cilantro and Cheddar cheese in a food processor. Process until evenly blended.

Line the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Spray the sides of the pan with nonstick spray. Add the cheese mixture.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Spread the remaining jelly evenly across the top surface and sprinkle on the pine nuts. The recipe can be completed to this point up to 24 hours before serving.

To serve, carefully remove the sides of the pan. Transfer the cheesecake to a serving plate. Serve chilled with sliced bread, crackers or endive cups. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Adapted from "Fast Appetizers" by Hugh Carpenter and Teri Sandison.

Thursday, February 03, 2000

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