Recipe courtesy of Alan Richardson and Karen Tack

Nacho Normal Cheesecake

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 1 hr 20 min
  • Prep: 40 min
  • Cook: 40 min
  • Yield: one 9-inch cheesecake
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For the cheesecake: 

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, at room temperature

2/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 large eggs

Yellow and red food coloring

Cooking spray, for the pan

1/2 cup sour cream

For the chips:

1 roll refrigerated pie dough

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 tablespoon milk

2 tablespoons sugar

For the salsa and garnishes:

8 red Swedish Fish

1 cup low-sugar strawberry jam

3 strands green licorice twists

6 black licorice dots

3 tablespoons sour cream

Yellow and red food coloring

3 tablespoons chocolate-covered raisins


  1. Make the cheesecake: Beat the cream cheese with a mixer until smooth. Add 2/3 cup sugar, the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; beat well. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Tint the batter orange with yellow and red food coloring.
  2. Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Pour in the batter; bake at 350 degrees F until puffed and almost set, 25 to 30 minutes. Mix the sour cream and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar; spread over the hot cheesecake and bake 5 more minutes. Let cool, then chill 2 hours.
  3. Make the chips: Unroll the pie dough on a lightly floured surface and roll it out to flatten slightly. Brush the dough with the milk and sprinkle with the sugar. Cut the dough into 2 1/2-inch-wide strips.
  4. Cut each strip into as many 2 1/2-inch triangles as possible. Place the triangles about 1 inch apart on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in batches at 450 degrees F until lightly golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.
  5. Make the salsa and garnishes: Cut the Swedish Fish into 1/2-inch pieces and toss with 2 tablespoons strawberry jam. For the chiles, cut the green licorice on the diagonal into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
  6. For the olives, cut the black licorice dots into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Use a straw or pastry tip to remove a circle from the center of each round.
  7. Tint the sour cream orange with yellow and red food coloring to look like melted cheese. Spoon the orange sour cream into a resealable plastic bag. Press out the excess air and seal.
  8. Press the pie chips into the cheesecake. Add the black licorice, chocolate-covered raisins and some green licorice and jam-coated Swedish Fish.
  9. Snip a small corner from the bag of orange sour cream and pipe a few dots on the cheesecake for the melted cheese. Serve with extra chips on the side, and make extra salsa by mixing leftover candies and jam.
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