Southwest Cheesecake

This chile pepper is often mislabeled ‘Pasilla’, which is a different pepper entirely.It is one of the most popular chiles in Mexico and has won the appreciation of many a chef worldwide because of the superior flavor it has over regular bell peppers.

They have a tough outer skin that usually requires roasting and peeling before use. These very large chile peppers are most popular in chiles rellenos recipes, but cooking with these as a substitute for bell peppers in any recipe will enhance the flavor.

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1-1/2 cups finely crushed blue tortilla chips
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
1/4 tsp. salt
3 (8 oz.) containers sour cream, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
1 poblano chile, stemmed, roasted, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen guacamole (thawed)
1 medium-size tomato, seeded and diced
tortilla chips or crackers


Combine the crushed tortilla chips and a 1/4 cup of the softened butter, and press into the bottom of a lightly greased 9″ springform pan. Bake at 350F for 12 minutes. Cool in the pan on a wire rack.

Beat the cream cheese, shredded cheese and salt at medium speed with an electric mixer for 3 minutes or until fluffy. Add 1 container of sour cream, beating until blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Stir in the salsa and chiles and pour over the prepared crust.

Bake at 350F for 40 minutes or until the center is almost set. Remove the pan from oven and let it stand for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Gently run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides. Remove the sides of pan and let the cheesecake cool completely.

Stir together the remaining 2 containers ofsour cream until smooth, then spread evenly over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Cover and chill at least 3 hours or up to 1 day. Spread evenly with the guacamole and sprinkle with the diced tomatoes before serving. Serve with tortilla chips.

Yields 25 appetizer servings.

Recipe from Sharla Sanderson, Aberdeen, Mississippi, “Southern Living Magazine” November 2005.