Butternut squash & sage cheesecake

Savoury cheesecakes might seem like a peculiar idea at first but really, is it any more strange than choosing to make a pudding out of cheese in the first place?
As a non-meat eater I think that they make such a nice change for a special lunch or a first course. Once you’ve mastered the basic mixture they’re very versatile too, there are so many flavour possibilities that you could use in them.
I’ve used pretty classic autumn flavours in this version. These also look really pretty when you cut into them and the colours are amazing.
Be careful not to over-bake the cheesecakes or they’ll dry out a bit and lose their nice creamy consistency. It’s also important to make sure that the cheeses and eggs for the filling are at room temperature before you start.

Butternut squash & sage cheesecake

Ingredients
makes 6

base
3 tbsp digestive biscuit crumbs
3 tbsp oats
3 tbsp melted butter

filling
200g butternut squash
1 fat clove of garlic
small handful of sage (with some smallish leaves if possible)
225g cream cheese
1 egg
2 tbsp grated parmesan
salt and pepper

Butternut squash & sage cheesecake

Pre-heat the oven to 190°c. Slice the butternut squash into thin slices, only a couple of millimeters thick, so that you have 12 slices. Lay these on a lightly greased baking sheet and scatter over the sage and pop on the garlic clove, unpeeled. Roast the squash for 15-20 minutes, until it is tender and then leave it to cool a bit on the tray.
Reduce the oven to 170°c and line a six hole tin with muffin wrappers, silicone ones work a treat. Fill a roasting tin with water and pop that in the oven to use as a bain-marie later.
Combine all of the ingredients for the base mixture and press a spoonful of it into the base of each of the muffin wrappers. Put this in the fridge to chill and become a bit more firm.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until it is nice and soft. Add the egg and beat again until it is well combined. Crush or finely chop the roasted sage, keeping back any leaves that you want for decorating, the small one are best for this. Mince the roasted garlic. Add the parmesan, crushed sage, garlic and the seasoning to the cheesecake filling mixture and stir well. Set this aside for a moment.
Using a pastry cutter that is roughly the same size as the muffin wrappers, cut out circles from the cooled roasted squash.
Put a spoonful of the cheesecake mix on top the biscuit base for each cheesecake and spread it a little. Top this with a circle of squash. Repeat this, finishing with a layer of cheesecake mix. Top with a sage leaf to decorate.
Put the tray into the bain-marie and bake the cheesecakes for 20-25 minutes. They should still have a little wobble to them once they are cooked. Turn the oven off and open the door a bit. Leave the cheesecakes to cool to room temperature in the oven and then pop them in the fridge to chill. Let them sit a room temperature for a few minutes before serving.

Butternut squash & sage cheesecake