As I was preparing for Sherm's bridal shower about a month ago, I knew that I wanted to make mini cheesecakes as I have a fondness for individual desserts that don't need to be sliced for reasons of convenience and visual appeal. The only problem? I didn't have a mini cheesecake pan.
I hunted down a mini-cheesecake pan from Williams-Sonoma, and while it wasn't cheap, it was worth it. Anyone who's ever made cheesecake understands that cheesecake doesn't simply slide out of a pan like a chocolate cake. It requires the sides of the pan to spring away, or in the case of the mini cheesecake pan, a bottom that can be removed.
The recipes for the crust and the filling were printed on an insert attached to the cheesecake pan. I had prepared the raspberry topping before for a Raspberry Cream Tart , and simply halved the recipe for this dessert. The addition of the raspberry in the centre was inspired by a mini cheesecake recipe I saw on a Food Network show a few years back.
While these cheesecakes are very easy to make, they do require ample time to prepare as the crust needs to be baked and cooled before baking the filling. Then they need to be chilled for several hours, overnight being best, but this also makes these a wonderful bake-ahead dessert.
The addition of the raspberry in the centre adds an element of sophistication, as well as deepening the flavour of the cheesecake and the raspberry topping compliments the sweet, creamy smoothness of the cheesecake filling perfectly.
Looking to impress your friends or simply trying to limit the size of your daily dessert indulgence? Then these mini-cheesecakes are for you!
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsps. sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly coat the cups of a 12-cup mini cheesecake pan with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and salt.
3. Add the melted butter and stir until combined. Divide the mixture among the cups, and using your fingertips (I used the the round top of a meat thermometer instead), press it evenly into the bottom.
4. Bake until the crusts are set, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
5. Reduce the heat to 300F.
16 oz. (500g) cream cheese
1/4 cup heavy or whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Whole, fresh raspberries (about 12)
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese on low speed until smooth, about 2 to 3 minutes.
2. Increase the speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. Add the cream and beat until incorporated, about 1 minute.
4. Add the sugar and salt and beat until incorporated, about 2 minutes, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
5. Pour the batter onto the crusts so that they are half full, dividing it evenly among the cups.
6. Press 1 raspberry into each of the cups and then cover with the remaining batter.
7. Bake until the cheesecakes are set, about 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool completely.
8. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before unmolding.
9. To unmold, insert the end of a wooden spoon (or the dowel that comes with the cheesecake pan) into the hole in the bottom of each cup. Gently push up to remove the cheesecake from the cup.
10. Use a small spatula or butter knife to remove the cake from the metal bottom. If the cheesecakes are sticking to the pan, gently run a toothpick around each cheesecake to loosen it before pushing it out of the cup.
3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 tbsps. corn starch
1 1/2 tbsps. lemon juice
1. Over medium heat, whisk together 2 cups raspberries, sugar, water, corn starch and lemon juice in a medium saucepan.
2. Cook until thick, and then fold in the remaining raspberries. Allow to cool completely.