Say shortbread and I immediately think not of Girl Scouts but of McVities. I was introduced to the Scottish digestive biscuits and shortbread when faced with the dorm food at a college in northern England for a semester.
The meals for my day started with a decent English breakfast, but lunch and dinner entrees consisted of mostly grey, greasy meat smothered in gravy. I made do with Brussel sprouts and potatoes until I discovered the tradition of afternoon tea, and goodies from the curry man, in the dorm room of my new English friend.
Everyone pitched in, a potluck gathering, featuring whatever fresh fruit, farmhouse cheeses, sweets and beverages we could afford on our limited student budget. If we had money left over after our weekend pub-crawl, we would order in from the curry man.
falling for blue cheese and recipe after the jump
McVities shortbread cookies were always on the menu and that's when I fell in love with cheese. The beautiful cheeses from the English countryside-Wensleydale, Gloucestershire, Caerphilly and Stilton. The surprise was how much I grew to like the gorgeous blue veined cheese, which had previously been too strong for my taste.
My blue cheesecake bites are a combination of remembered tastes of those afternoon teas: a hint of blue cheese, shortbread and mango chutney in honor of the curry man.
Blue Cheesecake Bites-yield 24
14 shortbread cookies
2 oz sliced almonds or pine nuts
2 oz butter, melted
Note:if using pine nuts, increase the amount of cookies by 2, pine nut crust will be moister than the crunch of the almond crust
Preheat oven to 350 F
Place mini muffin liners in mini muffin tin
1. In a food processor, pulverize the shortbread cookies and nuts
2. Place the mixture in a bowl and add the melted butter to combine
3. Divide the dough evenly, (about 1 Tablespoon) into mini muffin holders, press down lightly
4. Place in refrigerator while preparing the cheesecake filling
5 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3.5 oz Stilton or other blue veined cheese, crumbled (use a strong cheese for distinct blue flavor)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 teaspoons sour cream
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat cream cheese and blue cheese until thoroughly combined (there will be small lumps)
2. Add the beaten egg and sour cream and combine until smooth
3. Place filling on top of shortbread dough
4. Place muffin tin in a water bath (water should reach half the way up the side of the muffin pan)
5. Bake cheesecake bites for 10 minutes, top with a dollop of mango chutney
6. Continue to bake for 10 more minutes, until puffy and slightly firm to the touch
6. Remove from oven and cool
7. Refrigerate until firm
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