By Terese Allen, Organic Valley Food Editor
Ah, the holiday season is here.
No, not that holiday season. I don’t mean the festivities of mid-winter, but rather the warm-weather happenings of spring and summer. Graduations, weddings, showers. Picnics, garden parties, outdoor potlucks. From Cinco de Mayo to Labor Day, there are so many events that there’s almost not enough time to get them all in.
But there is a great way to celebrate any or all of them—with cheesecake. Lushly textured and deeply satisfying, cheesecakes say “something special” the way no other dessert can—especially if they’re made with rich organic cream cheese, sour cream, ricotta, and other cultured dairy ingredients. What’s more, cheesecakes can be varied almost endlessly. For Mother’s Day, a tall, elegant, lemon-flavored classic would be in order; for your chocolate-loving graduate, a marble cheese torte with mocha glaze is just the thing. Go seasonal for the 4th of July with strawberry cheesecake cups or go casual with a homey cottage cheese pie.
What’s more, cheese “cakes” don’t have to be sweet—or even baked, for that matter. A savory three-cheese and fresh thyme round makes a celebratory beginning to a special meal. Surround it with good crackers and fresh, seasonal vegetables, add a bottle of something bubbly…and have a wonderful holiday season.
Judy's Gentle Lemon Cheesecake–Serve this classic with lightly sweetened fresh berries or lemon curd. Perfect for Mother’s Day or any celebration.
Marble Cheese Torte with Mocha Glaze–A decadent chocolate-marbled cheesecake on a nut crust with a mocha glaze. In a word: yowza.
Cottage Cheese and Cherry Honey Pie–Simple? Homey? Yes. And welcome at any potluck or family gathering.
Blueberry Ice Box Torte–An old-fashioned luxury, the kind of dessert you can imagine your great-grandmother might have brought to a christening or barn-raising event (back in the good old days, when all food was organic).
Linda Lee’s Cheesecake–This simple but lovely cheesecake comes from Organic Valley dairy farmer Patti Brunner of upstate New York.
Low-Carb Berry Cheesecake Cups–For some reason dessert is extra-fun and extra-delicious when it comes in individual cups (and is baked with organic ingredients).
Alpha Delights Ricotta Cheesecake–Made with ricotta and honey, this cheesecake is neither as sugary-sweet nor as unrelentingly smooth as most types, making it more “adult-friendly” than many specialty desserts.
Three Cheese and Fresh Thyme Round–It’s a “cheese cake,” but it’s not dessert! It’s a firm, cake-shaped spread served as the opening to a meal.
Appetizer Mosaic with Feta Cheese Dome–This Russian-inspired platter features a creamy mound of feta-dill spread surrounded by all manner of organic good things.
Savory Cheese Torta with Dried Tomatoes and Pesto–The leftovers of this layered cheese specialty make a great sandwich filling. (Not that there will be any leftovers.)