Maple Bacon Cheesecake

If you have been tuning in to Food Network Star, eagerly awaiting the selection of the next big name and face in cooking famedom, you have probably already drooled over this amazing-sounding cheesecake. If you have not been glued to Food Network, then let me tantalize your tastebuds myself.

The cheesecake which inspired this post was created on Food Network Star by Stacy Poon-Kinney. If you would like to recreate her original recipe, you can find it on the Food Network website. When I googled "maple bacon cheesecake" hers was the very first recipe to appear. You know me, though. I can't leave well enough alone. So I tinkered with the original in order to reduce the sugar while increasing the protein, fiber, and nutrients.

Yes, there are quite a few steps to putting this recipe together. I am usually too lazy to make something so complicated, but the maple and bacon combination had me enthralled. I couldn't get it out of my brain. The results are SO worth the work!


3-4 strips all-natural bacon with no nitrites or nitrates added (Trader Joe's brand is great.)
1-2 TB real maple syrup
Freshly ground black pepper

Lay the strips of bacon on a rack above a baking sheet with a rim to catch the fat. Bake at 350F until the fat begins to render.  Remove from oven and paint the bacon with maple syrup to coat completely. Sprinkle with black pepper. Return to oven and bake until all the fat is rendered and bacon is brown and crisp. Remove from oven and drain on paper towels. Crumble into small pieces. (If you want to use the bacon fat in your crust, carefully tip the fat off into a small, heat-proof bowl.)

1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup walnuts or pecans
1/2 teas. sea salt
1 TB bacon fat (recommended!) or coconut oil (or butter!)

Place all ingredients for crust into food processor. Pulse until crumbs form. Then continue to blend until the crumbs clump together. Dump the mixture into a deep-dish Pyrex pie pan. Press with fingertips to form crust on bottom and sides of pan. Bake at 350F for 11 minutes or until golden brown and fragrant. Remove from oven and cool while preparing filling.

1 8-oz. package low-fat (Neufchatel) cream cheese
3 large eggs (from pastured chickens, if possible!)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon maple extract
1 pound container low-fat cottage cheese (or ricotta)
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped or whole (for decoration)

Using a hand-held immersion blender (or food processor) mix the cream cheese and eggs until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and blend thoroughly. Stir in the crumbled bacon. Pour filling into crust. Sprinkle nuts around the rim to decorate. Bake at 325F for about 55 minutes or until no longer liquid in the center. Remove from oven and cool completely. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight before serving. Makes 8 servings.