Cheese is one of life’s greatest savory pleasures. Most of us are happy just eating it on a cracker, but the options for enjoying this food are limitless: Its adaptability is part of what makes it so popular among casual eaters and professional chefs alike.
We all know the stuff tastes delicious in and of itself, but baking it opens up new worlds of melty deliciousness. Expand your cheese horizons by trying on of these five cheesy recipes in your kitchen. You may never look at cheese in the same way!
1. Best-Ever Cheese Soufflé
This savory cheese soufflé from Food & Wine is a favorite of New York chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli, who loves it for its old supper club feel. This soufflé makes for a creamy dinnertime treat that will blow your diners away. The recipe takes about an hour to complete and yields six servings.
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 4 large eggs, separated, plus 3 large egg whites
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- 6 ounces Gruyère cheese, shredded (2 packed cups)
- 2 tablespoons sour cream
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ½ teaspoon dry mustard
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter a 1½-quart soufflé dish and coat it with 2 tablespoons of the Parmigiano. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the flour to make a paste. Gradually whisk in the cream and bring to a boil over moderate heat, whisking. Reduce the heat to low and cook, whisking, until very thick, 3 minutes. Transfer the base to a large bowl; let cool. Stir in the egg yolks, sherry, Gruyère, sour cream, salt, Dijon mustard, dry mustard, cayenne, and the remaining ¼ cup of Parmigiano.
Put the 7 egg whites in a large stainless steel bowl. Add the cream of tartar. Using an electric mixer, beat the whites until firm peaks form. Fold one-third of the whites into the soufflé base to lighten it, then fold in the remaining whites until no streaks remain.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared dish. Run your thumb around the inside rim of the dish to wipe away any crumbs. Bake for about 35 minutes, until the soufflé is golden brown and puffed. Serve right away.
2. Baked Ricotta and Goat Cheese with Candied Tomatoes
It’s always fun to mix up sweet and savory flavors — particularly when cheese is involved. This baked ricotta and goat cheese recipe from Food 52 is beautifully complemented by the added element of candied tomatoes. The recipe takes about an hour and 45 minutes including cook time and serves eight to ten people.
For the baked cheese
- 15 ounces whole milk ricotta
- 4 ounces log goat cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram leaves, or leafy herb of your choice
- Generous grinding of black pepper
- Generous sprinkling of kosher salt
For the candied tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 12 ounces cherry tomatoes
- ¼ cup vermouth
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 3 sprigs marjoram, or leafy herb of your choice
- Sea salt
Directions: For the baked cheese: Place the ricotta in a colander lined with cheese cloth and leave to drain for about 30 minutes, pressing down to help extract liquid. Preheat the oven 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush the inside of a 2 cup baking dish with olive oil.
In the small bowl of a stand mixer, beat the ricotta, goat cheese and egg until smooth. Beat in the herbs (chopped if the leaves are large), a generous amount of pepper and salt. Taste goat cheese first; saltier cheeses require less additional salt. Spoon the cheese mixture into the prepared baking dish and bake for 40 minutes, or until puffed in the center and browning. Let the cheese cool slightly, then invert it out onto a plate.
For the tomatoes: While the cheese is baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then drop in the tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the skins on the tomatoes start to split. Pull the pan off the flame, add the vermouth and return to the heat. Add the brown sugar and herbs and stir until the sugar is melted. Add a generous pinch of salt.
Lower the heat and cook gently until the liquid is reduced to a syrupy coating for the tomatoes. The tomatoes will collapse and some may disintegrate. That’s fine. When ready to serve, spoon the candied tomatoes over the warm baked cheese and serve with sliced baguette or crostini. The baked cheese can be prepared a few hours in advance and then baked before serving. It is best served warm, but not necessarily right out of the oven. The tomatoes can be prepared ahead too and gently reheated before serving.
3. Neely’s Garlic Cheese Bread
Garlic and cheese are a dynamic duo in cooking: Very rarely does this combination go wrong. Taking just a half hour to complete, this garlic cheese bread from the Food Network offers all the melty goodness you could ever want for dinner. The recipe yields six servings.
- 1 (12-inch) loaf Italian bread
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 stick salted butter, at room temperature
- ¼ cup freshly chopped basil leaves
- ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan
- ¼ cup grated mozzarella
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice the bread in half, lengthwise.
Add the garlic, herbs, butter, and Parmesan to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until well incorporated. Alternatively, you could fold the ingredients together using a rubber spatula.
Spread the butter mixture down the inner length of both slices of the bread. Wrap the pieces in aluminum foil and put them onto a sheet tray. Bake until the bread crisps up and the cheese melts, about 10 minutes. At this point, remove the foil, sprinkle the slices with the mozzarella cheese and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Slide the bread back into oven until the cheese bubbles, about 5 minutes. Remove the bread from the oven to a cutting board and slice before serving.
4. Baked Brie in Puff Pastry with Apricot or Raspberry Preserves
Here’s another great mixture of savory and sweet flavors that will disappear almost as quickly as you serve it! This recipe from Food.com takes about a half hour to complete and serves ten lucky eaters.
- ½ package (about 17 ounces) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 (8-ounce) package brie cheese, round
- ⅛ cup toasted almond, slices (optional)
- ¼ cup apricot or raspberry preserves (or a flavor of your choosing)
Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly grease cookie sheet.
Roll puff pastry out slightly. Place cheese wheel on top (leave rind on). Place preserves on top of cheese and place almonds on top. Bundle Puff Pastry up and around the cheese.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for five minutes and serve with your favorite crackers.
5. Lemon Ricotta Cake
Bring this culinary accomplishment to an end with a delicious and cheesy dessert. This option is much lighter than cheesecake, making it an ideal way to wrap up your evening of cheesy experimentation. This recipe from Taste of Home takes about an hour and a half to complete and yields twelve to sixteen servings.
- 3 eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- ⅔ cup sugar
- ⅓ cup lemon juice
- ⅓ cup butter, cubed
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
Sugared lemon peel
- 6 medium lemons
- ¼ cup sugar
- ⅔ cup butter, softened
- 5½ cups confectioners’ sugar
- ⅓ cup milk
- 1½ teaspoons grated lemon peel
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
Directions: For lemon curd, in a small bowl, combine eggs and egg yolks. In a heavy saucepan, cook and stir the sugar, lemon juice, and butter over medium heat until smooth. Stir a small amount of hot mixture into eggs; return all to the pan, stirring constantly. Bring to a gentle boil, cook and stir for 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Cover and chill for 1 ½ hours or until thickened.
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the ricotta cheese, buttermilk, lemon peel, vanilla, and lemon juice. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture, beating well after each addition.
Pour into two greased and floured 9-inch round baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
Using a citrus zester, remove peel from lemons in long narrow strips; toss with sugar. Let stand for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy. Add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, lemon peel, vanilla and salt; beat until smooth.
Cut each cake in half horizontally. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Pipe a circle of frosting around the edge of the cake. Spread a third of the lemon curd inside the frosting. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining cake layer. Frost top and sides of cake. Garnish with lemon peel. Store in the refrigerator.