Zuppardo’s Big Game Bites with Chef Marcelle Bienvenu making Mexican Cheesecake

(Good Morning New Orleans — 01/28/13)

MEXICAN CHEESECAKE

Makes about 30 small servings

1 cup crushed tortilla chips
3 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces cottage cheese
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
8 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (or cheese of your preference – Monterrey Jack, Pepper cheese, or combination of these)
4 tablespoons (more or less to taste) chopped pickled jalapeno peppers, or mild green chillies)
8 ounces sour cream
8 ounces jalapeno cheddar cheese dip (ready-made from the store – or make your own)
Salt, freshly ground black pepper and hot sauce to taste
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped or sliced black olives
1/2 cup chopped green onions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Combine the chips and butter and press into the bottom of 9-inch springform pan.  Process the cottage cheese, cream cheese, eggs (added one at a time), cheddar cheese and green chilies. Season with salt, pepper and hot sauce. Mix well. Pour into the springform pan and bake until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Remove from the oven.  Mix together the sour cream and cheese dip, and spread over the cheesecake.  Cool at room temperature for 1 hour. The cheesecake can then be refrigerated until ready to serve. When ready to serve, allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature.

Before serving, sprinkle the top with the tomatoes, black olives and green onions. Serve with tortilla chips.