Savory Cheesecake with Balsamic Onions in a Latke Crust (Faith Kramer)
Savory Cheesecake with Balsamic Onions in a Latke Crust (Faith Kramer)

This latke crust cheesecake with balsamic onions will up your Hanukkah game

Sign up for Weekday J and get the latest on what's happening in the Jewish Bay Area.

Combine the flavors of Hanukkah in a rich, savory cheesecake with caramelized balsamic onions and a potato-latke crust. A twist on dessert cheesecakes, the recipe includes the holiday’s traditions of fried foods and dairy for a perfect make-ahead appetizer, or brunch or lunch main course.

An 8-inch springform pan makes 12 appetizer or first-course slices and about six main course servings. For fewer servings, divide recipe in half and use a 6-inch springform pan (baking time may vary). Be sure to serve well chilled.

Savory Cheesecake with Balsamic Onions in a Latke Crust

  • Oil for pan
  • Balsamic Onions (see below)
  • Latke Crust (see below)
  • Savory Cheesecake Filling (see below)
  • 1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 3 Tbs. chopped parsley

Grease an 8-inch springform pan with oil. Wrap outside bottom and sides with foil to catch any leaks.

Make Balsamic Onions as directed below. Wipe out skillet and make Latke Crust and press into prepared springform pan. Cool.

Prepare Savory Cheesecake Filling and fill pan, marbleizing with the batter-onion purée as directed.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Top cheesecake with halved tomatoes, cut side down. Place pan on rimmed baking sheet. Bake 50-60 minutes until puffed, beginning to pull away from pan, and set but still jiggly in the center.

Cool in pan, cover, then refrigerate until cold. (Cheesecake can be made 2 days in advance.) To serve, bring remaining Balsamic Onions to room temperature. Remove springform sides and serve cheesecake cold, topped with onions and parsley.

Balsamic Onions

  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 5 cups of thinly sliced onions
  • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat and stir in onions and salt. Cook until beginning to soften, then add vinegar, stirring well to coat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until onions are very, very soft and any remaining liquid is very syrupy. (Timing will vary, but allow 30-45 minutes.) Measure out 1 cup for filling. Cover and refrigerate remainder to use as topping.

Latke Crust

  • ½ cup shredded onion
  • 4 cups shredded potato
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1-3 Tbs. flour, or as needed
  • 2 Tbs. oil

Squeeze out and discard any liquid from onion and potato shreds. In large bowl, mix together onion, potato, garlic, salt, pepper and eggs. Stir in 1 Tbs. flour, adding more if mixture seems very loose.

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry spoonful of batter. Taste, adding more salt and pepper if desired. Spread remaining potato mixture out in a single layer (work in batches if necessary) and fry, breaking into sections and flipping until latke crust pieces are crispy and well browned. Press warm latke pieces into bottom of greased springform pan.

Savory Cheesecake Filling

  • 2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 16 oz. brick-style cream cheese
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. paprika
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup finely chopped parsley

Combine ricotta, cream cheese, Parmesan, salt, pepper, paprika, cumin and eggs in food processor. (If using a blender, work in batches). Process until smooth. Stir in parsley. Reserve ¼ cup of batter. Spread the rest evenly in the pan atop latke crust.

Purée reserved batter with 1 cup of balsamic onions. Spoon large dollops on top of the cheesecake, then swirl a table knife through the batter to marbleize with onion mixture.

Faith Kramer
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer and the author of “52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen.” Her website is Contact her at [email protected].