Thursday, May 13, 2010
Rich and Creamy Mini-Cheesecakes
This is a great way to make cheesecake for a crowd. Serving is simple, the cheesecakes can be made ahead, and you can change the topping to suit your tastes.
2 cups (10 oz—or about 2 packages) crushed graham crackers
8 tablespoons (4 oz) butter, melted and cooled
3 tablespoons (1 ½ oz) light brown sugar
3 tablespoons (3/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 pounds regular cream cheese
1 ¼ cups (8 ¾ oz) sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon zest from 1 small lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
¼ cup (2 oz) heavy cream
¼ cup (2 oz) sour cream
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a muffin pan with foil or paper liners.
Combine the graham cracker crumbs with the butter, brown sugar, flour and salt and mix well. Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the mixture (I use a #20 cookie scoop) into each muffin cup and press into an even layer. (Note: the round pusher that comes on my food processor works perfectly to press the crumbs.) Bake the crust until beginning to brown, 7-8 minutes. Remove pan from oven and cool on wire rack.
Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
Meanwhile, beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Gradually add sugar and beat on medium speed until it is fully incorporated, about 3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated and scraping down bowl after each addition. (If you don’t scrape down bowl after each egg, any cream cheese sticking to sides will make batter lumpy.) Add zest and vanilla and beat until just incorporated. Stir in cream and sour cream by hand. (Note: do not over mix or cake will puff up from too much air and then collapse.)
Pour about 3 tablespoons batter into each muffin cup (I use a #20 muffin scoop). Set roasting pan on lower oven rack and pour in about 1-inch of boiling water. Place filled muffin pan on middle rack and bake until cakes are almost set, about 15 minutes (the cheesecakes will be puffed but still white). Transfer the muffin pan to a wire rack and cool to room temperature. The muffin liners will shrink away from the sides of the tin as they cool. Refrigerate the muffin pan (with the liners still in the pan) until the cheesecakes are cool and set, about 1 hour. Then remove from pan and top with topping as desired.
Cheesecakes are best made at least a day ahead.
Yield: About 30 mini-cheesecakes. (You’ll need about 2 pounds fruit topping.)