Eggplant Cheesecake 4.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Weeknight Vegetarian Oct 15, 2014

This savory, rich dish is heaven as a large square for lunch, with greens and perhaps bread. It also works well sliced into smaller pieces for nibbles before supper. If you'd like to cut back on the fat, you could halve the amount of oil you brush on the eggplant.

Make Ahead: The cheesecake can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Where to Buy: Za'atar, a spice blend that typically includes thyme, sesame and sumac, can be found in some larger grocery stores, at Middle Eastern or Mediterranean markets and online.


Servings:
4 - 6

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 4-6 servings

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices (1 1/2 pounds total)
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces feta cheese, crumbled into large chunks
  • 5 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, each cut in half lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup oregano leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons za'atar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the base and sides of a deep 7 1/2-inch square baking pan (or an 8-inch round baking pan) with aluminum foil, making the pieces large enough so that at least 2 inches hangs over each of the four sides, and brush with a little oil.

Lay the eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with 1/4 cup of the olive oil (see headnote). Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a generous grind of black pepper. Roast for 40 minutes, until the eggplant slices are soft and golden. Set aside to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.

Combine the feta, cream cheese, eggs, cream and some black pepper in a bowl and beat with a hand-held mixer until smooth and thick. It might take several minutes to eliminate all the lumps from the feta.

Arrange the eggplant slices in the prepared baking pan, overlapping them if necessary. Add the tomatoes, using them to fill any gaps, and sprinkle with half of the oregano.

Pour the cream mixture into the pan, sprinkle with the remaining oregano and bake in the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until the custard sets and turns golden. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.

Remove the cake from the pan and cut into 4 squares (or into wedges, if using a round dish). Mix the za'atar with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil, brush this gently over the top and sides of the cake, and serve.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London's Ottolenghi," by Yotam Ottolenghi (Ten Speed Press, 2014).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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