Whew, that title was a mouthful! In keeping with my apparent muffin pan theme lately…on to mini cheesecakes! These were super simple to make. Not having to mess with a springform pan was a treat! 🙂 The addition of lemon zest adds great fresh flavor, without being overwhelming.
I did double duty with this recipe and made Honey-Cinnamon Graham crackers to use as the base for the crust. Another new one for me. Who would have thought one could actually MAKE a graham cracker?!?
The Recipe (makes 12 mini cheesecakes):
1/4 cup (1/2 stick butter)
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs (8 whole graham crackers) If you want to try homemade, find the recipe here
1 pound (two 8 ounce packages) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Move an oven rack to the center of the oven.
2. Spray the muffin tin with the cooking spray, or grease with butter.
3. Make the crust. Put 1/4 cup butter in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and add the graham cracker crumbs. Stir until they are completely moistened.
4. Spoon the crumbs into the muffin cups, dividing equally.
5. Press the crumbs into the bottom of each cup in an even layer.
6. Make the filling. Using a small grater or microplane, zest the lemon. Make sure you don’t dig too deep and get that bitter white in there!
7. Put the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar in the mixer bowl. Beat on medium speed until creamy and smooth.
8. Break the eggs into the bowl and beat again until blended. Pour in the cream, vanilla and add the lemon zest. Beat again until well blended.
9. Pour or spoon the mixture evenly into the muffin cups (I used my cookie scoop a little “overfilled” and it seemed to work perfectly).
10. Bake until the centers are firm, about 18-20 minutes. To test for doneness, gently shake the muffin tin, if the centers shake, bake for another 3-5 minutes.
11. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool for 20 minutes. After they cool, sprinkle the tops with a little additional sugar to prevent the cheesecakes from sticking.
12. While the cakes are cooling, make the Strawberry Sauce. Place the frozen strawberries, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Cook over medium high heat and allow to boil for about 10 minutes. It should start to thicken slightly. Remove from heat and using a mesh strainer, strain the mixture into a small bowl. Allow to cool.
13. Place a large platter over the top of the muffin tin and gently turn both upside down allowing the cheesecakes to drop onto the platter.
14. Turn the cheesecakes over so the crust is on the bottom, and allow them to chill in the fridge before serving.
15. Top with Strawberry Sauce if you choose (but why wouldn’t you?!?) 🙂 Serve and impress all your friends with your master baking skills!