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Thanks to Melanie Underwood, author and chef instructor at the Institute for Culinary Education (ICE) in New York City for this unique white bean and herb olive oil cheesecake recipe. This savory cheese cake features an herbed olive oil garnish.


 The versatility of this cheesecake is limitless. Chickpeas or black, pinto, or kidney beans will work wonderfully. Just remember the color of cheesecake will change depending on which bean you choose. Don’t be tempted to leave off the Herb Oil; it enhances the flavor tremendously.


  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) finely ground bread crumbs (Or use any savory crust)

 White Bean Purée

  • 1 can (15 ounces, or 420 g) white beans
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup (60 g) tahini
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • 2 pounds (908 g) cream cheese
  • 4 large eggs


  • Herb Oil 

To make the crust: Pour the oil into the bottom of a 10-inch (25 cm) springform pan. Using a pastry brush, brush the oil all over the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the bread crumbs in the bottom of the pan and rotate the pan around so that the bread crumbs cover the bottom and the sides completely. Set aside.

To make the white bean purée: In the bowl of a food processor add the white beans and garlic; process until smooth. Add the tahini, lemon juice, water, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Remove from the bowl and set aside.

To make the cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 325oF (170oC, or gas mark 3). In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese on low speed until softened, scraping down the sides of the bowl, underneath the paddle, and the paddle frequently with a rubber spatula, about 1 minute.

Add the white bean puree and mix for about 1 minute, until completely smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix just until combined, about 10 seconds after each egg. Prepare the springform pan for a water bath (see page 30). Place the springform pan in a large cake pan or a roasting pan (one that is around the same height or lower than your springform pan). Pour the batter over the crust and level it with a small offset spatula. Place in the oven and pour almost boiling water into the roasting pan (it should come up halfway around the sides of the pan). Bake for about 1 hour, until the cheesecake is firm around the edges, but still jiggly in the center (the jiggly part should be about the size of a quarter). Remove from the oven and remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the foil from the sides of the pan. Gently run a small sharp knife or small spatula around the edges of the pan to loosen the cheesecake from the sides. Allow to cool at room temperature. Place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours (this will help the cheesecake set completely).

To unmold the cheesecake, gently run a small sharp knife or small spatula around the edges of the pan. Release the latch on the side of the pan and then lift the ring straight up. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To garnish: When ready to serve, plate each slice individually and pour approximately 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of the Herb Oil on top of the cheesecake.

Yield: One 10-inch (25 cm) cheesecake

 Herb Oil

This oil, for the White Bean and Herb Cheesecake, can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Warm slightly before serving.

  • 1 cup (240 ml) olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary

In a medium-size saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat until just hot to the touch.

Remove from the heat and add the garlic, thyme, and rosemary. Allow to infuse for at least 1 hour. Strain out the garlic and herbs before using.

 Yield: 1 cup (240 ml)


Cheesecake CookbookThis recipe apperas in Making Artisan Cheesecake by Melanie Underwood. Melanie presents the classic and well-loved cheesecake in a new, adventurous, and modern way, and answers any questions about it that home cooks and bakers- foodies who love delicious classic desserts- might ask.

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