Eggplant ‘Cheesecake’ – When a Cake is not a Cake

IMG_2398 (1024x779)Is it really a cheesecake?  A frittata?  A quiche?  Whatever you call it, it is delicious.  I am in love with Yotam Ottolenghi cookbooks.  I own all four now, the latest being Plenty More, the following up of his last veggie cookbook, Plenty.IMG_2394 (1008x1024)It’s really a misnomer to call this recipe a cake, because I almost passed it by thinking it was a dessert.  However, my sister was in town and we were going through the cookbook recipe by recipe and we decided to give this one a try.  Two medium eggplants were cut into rounds. IMG_2384 (1024x765)Brushed those rounds with olive oil and sprinkled some salt and pepper and baked for about 30-40 minutes until browned.IMG_2387 (1024x598)Time to organize the rest of the ingredients:  feta cheese, cream cheese (I used light), cream or soy milk, eggs, and dried oregano, instead of fresh (I find the dried oregano has a stronger flavour than fresh).  A couple wedged tomatoes were dispersed among the eggplant slices in the baking dish.IMG_2386 (1024x751)   In an oiled baking dish, I arranged the roasted eggplant slices with the wedged tomatoes.IMG_2391 (1024x800)Both cheeses, eggs and cream were whipped together.IMG_2389 (1024x715)And poured over the eggplant-tomato prepared dish.  This dish was baked until the egg mixture set.IMG_2392 (1024x810)I mixed some za’atar with some olive oil and this was basted over the finish baked dish.IMG_2395 (1024x817)  A beautiful vegetarian meal, served with an Ottolenghi-inspired Fig Salad from the same cookbook.IMG_2399 (1024x594)Served with a rosé.  I recommend Plenty More for all.IMG_2401 (1024x1009)

Eggplant Cheesecake

  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing
  • 2 medium eggplants, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch slices
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces feta, crumbled into large chunks
  • 5 ounces cream cheese
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup cream (I used Belsoy creamy soy milk)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, wedged or 1 cup grape tomatoes, each cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp. dried oregano leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons za’atar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush a  7 1/2-inch square baking pan (or an 8-inch round baking pan) with a little oil.
  2. Lay the eggplant slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with 1/4 cup of the olive oil. 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.
  3. Combine the cheeses, 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.  Mix the za’atar with the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil, brush this mixture over the top of the ‘cake’, cut into serving pieces and enjoy.

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9 comments

  1. Lesley Harris · · Reply

    Looks great! Love the photos

    1. Thanks! And as you know, it tastes as good as it looks!

  2. Frances harris · · Reply

    My kind of recipe and beautifully photographed and organized

    1. This would make a lovely buffet dish !!

  3. Thanks for posting, Shelley. I need a dish that I can make in advance and serve at an early morning breakfast. I don’t know if I could cook this and then re-heat in the microwave, which is what I’m looking for! We jog and then I’m having about 10 joggers and spouses over for breakfast. So I need to have all the food ready to go when we get back!

    1. I had the leftovers warmed up the next day and it was still delicious…it’s basically a frittata with veggies, eggs and cheeses so you can make it the night before…just cover it during reheating and don’t let it dry out….Good luck with the brunch ! Shelley

  4. Yum! Going to try it over the holidays!

  5. By the way, it was so much fun cooking with you.

    1. Ditto! And we have such good taste too!

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