Chef Essig's Recipes

Caramelized Onion and Chevre CheesecakeCaramelized Onion and Chevre Cheesecake
with Toasted Walnut Crust

This recipe was created by UNC's very own Executive Chef Aran Essig, CEC, CCA and was chosen by the National Onion Association for their 2007/2008 marketing efforts. Congratulations Chef Essig!! Way to go!!


Yield: 8 servings

  • Light rye bread: 1 slice
  • Walnuts: 3 ounces
  • Butter: 2 ounces
  • Mild yellow onion: 12 ounces
  • Vegetable oil: 2 ounces
  • Cream Cheese: 1 pound
  • Chevre Cheese: ½ pound
  • Eggs: 3
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Thyme: 2 sprigs
  • Salt: to taste
  • White Pepper: to taste


Remove crust from the rye bread and dry in a 200ºF oven. Crumble into breadcrumbs. Toast walnuts in a 325ºF oven for about 20 minutes. After walnuts have cooled, chop finely and toss with breadcrumbs. Butter a 9-inch springform pan and coat the inside with the crumb mixture.

onionsPeel and thinly slice onions. Heat oil in a sauté pan. Cook onions over medium heat stirring constantly until the onions turn a rich caramel brown color. Allow onions to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and chevre cheese together until smooth. Do not overwhip the cheese or the cake will crack. Add one egg at a time, stirring each egg into the cheese mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Add the next egg and repeat until all eggs are thoroughly mixed into the cheese. Mince the garlic and thyme and stir into the cheese mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Pour cheesecake mixture into the prepared pan and arrange the onions on top. Bake approximately 75 minutes in a 310ºF oven. When cooled slightly, remove the sides of the pan and cut the cake into portions. Serve warm.