Manchego Cheese Meets Cheesecake
Manchego is a cheese made in the La Mancha region of Spain from the milk of sheep of the manchega breed. Official DOP (Protected Denomination of Origin) manchego cheese is to be aged for between 60 days and two years. Manchego has a firm and compact consistency and a buttery texture, and often contains small, unevenly distributed air pockets.
Characterized by a mildly gamy (think lamb choppy) flavor and a hazelnutty sweetness, Manchego is everywhere. It’s arguably Spain’s most well-known cheese, made in La Mancha with the whole (full-fat) milk of Manchega sheep. Younger versions are aged for about 3 months, but you can find wheels aged for 9 months or longer, at which point they become drier and punchy, with a longer, more resilient finish. You’ll find examples that are bland and innocuous, but when you’ve happened to find a great producer, you’ll taste only round, meaty flavors and a distinct, creamy bite. Another traditional way of aging the cheese is in olive oil, which produces a rindless, super-dense end product.
You’ll see Manchego made with pasteurized or raw milk, it’s hard to judge the cheese solely on whether or not it’s a pasteurized version or raw. It’s easy to spot Manchego from afar because of its rind. It’s inedible and waxy with a cross-hatched, herringbone pattern that it gets after being drained and molded in a patterned basket.
Traditionally, it’s served with membrillo (Quince paste) and marcona almonds, or maybe some Serrano ham. A glass of sherry is an obvious choice to spotlight its nutty notes, or some Crianza Rioja wouldn’t hurt, either. But don’t fear straying from Spanish territory. Manchego, with its fullness and fatty backbone, is a versatile pair for many red wines and fuller bodied whites. Since it’s made with 100% sheep milk, it will be higher in fat, and can actually ooze out its butterfat as it comes to room temperature. This is the reason that a wedge may look shiny or on a cheese plate.
More and more, we’ve been seeing it used in cooking, with suggestions for its incorporation into mac & cheese, sandwiches and NOW Cheesecake. Manchego makes an excellent melter and works wonders with all types of egg dishes.
Here is our family recipe for Cheesecake!
- 1 Cup Manchego cheese cut into cubes
- 2 ounces of water
- 1 cup cream cheese
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons flour
- 2 medium eggs
- 3 oz sour cream
Graham Cracker Crumb Crust
- 6 oz butter
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup fresh blackberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon vodka
Instructions Graham Cracker Crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a stand mixer cream butter, sugar and honey
- In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients.
- Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and beat until smooth
- Cover bottom of cake rings with crumbs and bake 5 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Blend Manchego cheese and water in blender until smooth
- In separate bowl blend combine flour and eggs add to cheese
- Add sour cream to cheese and blend until smooth
- Pour into ring molds and bake for 20 – 25 minutes. Remove and allow to cool.
Instructions Berry Topping
- Marinate berries, sugar and vodka overnight.
- Heat mixture in small pan and cook to reduce slightly.
- Place Cheesecake on serving dish add a spoon of berries.