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Rustic Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Torte Recipe

Adapted from Nancy Radke's cookbook, The Seasons of Parmigiano-Reggiano.

ingredients:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 clove garlic - minced (ideally, hardneck garlic)
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
3/4 walnuts - finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 pound cream cheese - softened
1/2 pound Parmigiano-Reggiano - grated
2 large egg yolks - white reserved
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1-1/2 tablespoons shallots - finely minced
2 egg whites (reserved from above)
Pinch of cream of tarter

directions:
1. Grease the inside of a 8" springform pan. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 324-degrees (F).

3. To make crust, melt butter in large saute pan. Add garlic. Cook briefly. Add breadcrumbs, walnuts and salt. Stir, making sure butter and crumbs are well mixed. Cook. Press mixture into bottom of prepared springform pan.

4. Blend cream cheese and parmigiano-reggiano until smooth. Add egg yolks 1 at a time, until blended. Blend in cream. Add mustard, pepper, cornstarch and minced shallots. Blend until smooth. In another mixing bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until stiff but not dry. Fold gently into cheese mixture. Spoon into pan and even the surface.

5. Bake 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave cake inside without opening the oven door for 1 hour. Then remove cheesecake and cover with a damp towel. Cool to room temperature.

ingredients (for Glazed Fruit Topping
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 shallots - minced
1 small tart green apple - sliced, peel on
6 dried figs - quartered and sliced
Zest of 1 orange and juice of 1/2 orange
1/3 cup walnuts - chopped
1/3 cup dried cherries - chopped
1/3 cup apple jelly

directions
1. Melt butter in a saute pan and saute the minced shallots until soft. Add the apples, figs, orange zest, orange juice, walnuts and cherries and simmer on low until the apples are just tender. Spoon topping over cheesecake.

2. Heat apple jelly in a small pan set over low until just melted. Brush jelly over fruit to add shine. Serve at room temperature.

serves 12
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