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Dining At The Parks: Jalepeno Cheese Cake from the Furance Creek Inn in Death Valley National Park


A sure-fire way to catch the attention of your dinner guests is to serve Jalepeno Cheese Cake for dessert. For maximum appeal, be sure to top with a cactus strip and prickly pear salsa. Photo courtesy of Furnace Creek Inn.

Death Valley National Park is a pretty hot place, so it shouldn't be any surprise that at the upscale Furnace Creek Inn they offer Jalepeno Cheese Cake for dessert in the desert.

Can't fit in a trip to Death Valley to sample this fiery confection? Here, thanks to Chef Michelle "Mike" Hanson, are the directions for making this masterpiece at home.

Jalepeno Cheese Cake

Step One Ingredients

1 pounds cream cheese
½ cup sour cream
2 each egg
½ cup mozzarella cheese
½ cup cheddar jack cheese
5 oz prickly pear jelly OR strawberry (add 8/dashes Tabasco)
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp course ground pepper
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
5 dashes green Tabasco
1/8 tsp onion powder

Step Two Ingredients
1 can jalapeno salad relish (8oz) in local market in ethnic section

Step Three Ingredients
3 cup tortilla chips
½ melted butter

1. Blend cream cheese and sour cream in mixing bowl until smooth no lumps. Scrape side occasionally. Add all other ingredients FROM STEP 1 and blend well about 5 minutes

2. Dice up can of jalapeño salad relish (no peppercorns), onions, carrots, garlic. Hand fold in this diced jalapeño relish into cheese mixture, set aside

3. Grind up tortilla chips and mix with butter to make crust

In ring molds place quarter-cup tortilla mix in bottom, press down.

Pour in cheese cake batter all the way to top of mold (or small spring form pan)

In a large pan place molds or spring form pan, add quarter-inch water bath to pan and cook for 45 minute at 350 degrees. If cakes jiggle, cook for 15 minutes more until golden brown

You can serve right away just top with favorite salsa, or cool down and serve later (just reheat in microwave and top with salsa and serve with chips).


Death Valley is an amazing National Park - there is no where in the country which I have been that looks like this moonscape. This is another way to show how unique of a place this really is!

The food at the Inn was so bad I wrote a scathing review and sent to Xanterra's General Manager who agreed with our experience. He has started an overview process to upgrade the offerings, improve the service (which was deplorable) and keep in contact with me.

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