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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Torta Di Melanzane a la parmigiana ( Eggplant Parmigiana Cheesecake )

   Do you dream about food like I do?  Most nights I start dreaming up recipes before I even fall asleep.  The difficult thing about this, is remembering these thoughts in the morning.  For some reason this dish stuck in my mind.  Being a lover of classic Italian food I'm always thinking of ways to revamp or recreate recipes.  Using traditional ingredients and recipes in a new way and treating them with respect without straying too far can be challenging when recreating dishes.

   Fusing a savory dish with something that is usually equated with desert can be down right tricky but for some reason I knew this combination would work well. An interesting mix resulted in a fantastic dish that I think will easily become a new classic all on its own.  The Eggplant Parmigiana Cheesecake is the result of me, dreaming out loud.  A perfect appetizer to prelude a wonderful classic Italian meal.

Ingredients for a 6 inch cheesecake

for eggplant parm:
1 eggplant sliced in 1/4 inch rounds
1.5 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
4 Tbsp grated parmigiano reggiano
Flour, eggs and bread crumbs for breading
Oil for frying

for cheesecake topping:
1 cup good quality mascarpone cheese
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
3 eggs

 Set up a classic breading station to bread the eggplant pieces. Dust eggplant in flour. Dip floured eggplant in egg wash then press into bread crumbs until all sides are coated. Set aside.
Once all the eggplant is breaded, fry the pieces until golden brown but not too crispy. Place fried eggplant on paper towel until cool.
**Wrap the spring form pan in foil to make it waterproof for baking in a bain marie**(water bath)
In a lined 6 inch spring form pan, place enough tomato sauce to coat the entire bottom of the tray. Layer fried eggplant until the whole base of the pan is covered. Cover eggplant with another thin layer of sauce.
Sprinkle sauced eggplant with some grated parmigiano and mozzarella cheese. Cover with another layer of fried eggplant, sauce and cheese for a total of 2 layers. Be careful not to add too much sauce to the second layer as it can rise above the cheesecake topping and get messy when baking.
In a stainless steel bowl, mix mascarpone, ricotta, remaining grated parmigiano, 3 eggs and some salt until well blended and fairly creamy.
Making sure your spring form pan is wrapped in foil and leak proof, add the cheese mixture to the top of the eggplant parmigiana.
Place the cheesecake into a larger pan and fill 2/3 with water. Place tray in a pre heated 350F oven.
Bake the cheesecake for 50-60 minutes or until slightly firm and golden brown on the edges. Once baked, remove from oven. Take the cheesecake out of the water bath and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before releasing spring form. 

This can be served as a warm appetizer or even eaten cold the next day. A small sliver garnished with a touch of fresh basil puree makes a stunning presentation. 
Enjoy the new classic... From InDannysKitchen.

Stay tuned for more savory cheesecake recipes !


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