Bite Size Goat Cheese and California Walnut Cheesecakes
- 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely ground California walnuts, plus 9 California walnut pieces for garnish
- 1 tablespoon melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 5 ounces soft goat cheese such as Montrachet
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, plus additional chives for garnish
- 1 teaspoon finely diced red bell pepper
Preheat the oven to 350 F and butter 18 gem tins (2 tablespoons each). In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, ground California walnuts, the melted butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and stir until thoroughly combined. Spoon a heaping teaspoon of the walnut mixture into each mold and press down into the bottom of the molds.
With an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the goat cheese and beat until creamy. Add the egg and beat until well combined. Add the chives, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Divide the goat cheese mixture between the molds and smooth the tops. Set a walnut piece on top of nine of the cheesecakes. Top the remaining cheesecakes with the diced red peppers. Bake until puffed, about 15 minutes. Let the cheesecakes cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold. Garnish with chives and serve warm.