Nacho Normal Cheesecake

March 10, 2012 5:27:52 PM PST
This recipe provided courtesy of Karen Tack and Alan Richardson

Nacho Normal Cheesecake
Makes 1 cheesecake; about 10 servings

Nonstick cooking spray
2 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, at room temperature
2/3 cup plus ¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Yellow and red food coloring
½ cup sour cream

1 roll refrigerated pie dough (Pillsbury)
All-purpose flour
1 tablespoon milk
2 tablespoons sugar

Garnishes and Salsa
8 red Swedish fish
1 cup low-sugar strawberry preserves (Smucker's)
3 green licorice twists (Kenny's Green Apple Juicy Twists)
6 black licorice dots (Crows)
3 tablespoons sour cream
Yellow and red food coloring
3 tablespoons chocolate-covered raisins (Raisinets)

1. Cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch clear pie plate with nonstick cooking spray. Beat the cream cheese in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add the 2/3 cup sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla and beat well. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until smooth. Tint the batter orange with the yellow and red food coloring and stir until evenly blended.

2. Pour the batter into the pie plate. Bake the cheesecake until puffed and almost set, 25 to 30 minutes.

3 Stir together the sour cream and the remaining ¼ cup sugar in a small bowl. Gently spread the sour cream mixture over the hot cheesecake. Return to the oven and bake for 5 minutes longer. Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.

4. Chips: Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Unroll the pie dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll it out to flatten slightly. Brush the top of the dough with the milk and sprinkle with the sugar. With a pastry wheel or knife, cut the dough into 2½-inch-wide strips. Cut each strip into as many 2½-inch triangles as possible. Transfer the triangles to the cookie sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake in batches until the triangles are lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely.

5. Garnishes and salsa: For the tomatoes, cut the Swedish fish into ½-inch pieces and toss in 2 tablespoons of the strawberry jam to coat. For the chiles, cut the green licorice on the diagonal into ¼-inch slices. For the olives, cut the black licorice dots into ¼-inch-thick rounds. Use a pastry tip or straw to remove a circle from the center of each round. For the melted cheese, tint the sour cream orange with the yellow and red food coloring. Spoon the sour cream into a ziplock bag. Press out the excess air and seal. For the salsa, add some of the green twists and Swedish fish to the remaining strawberry jam.

6. To assemble: Press some of the nacho chips into the top of the cheesecake. Add the chocolate-covered raisins, licorice dot rounds, the remaining green twists, and the remaining jam-coated Swedish fish pieces to the top. Snip a small corner from the bag with the orange tinted sour cream and pipe a few puddles on top for the cheese.

7. Serve with the salsa and the remaining chips.