A Magic Lunch at Salumi in Seattle
Charcoal Grilled Short Ribs with Chipotle Mole

Tiny Little Cheesecakes with Chocolate Crust and Raspberry Preserves

I am not a baker.  If you review this blog over the past few years you find my baked goods turn out not-quite-as-expected most of the time - but in the spirit of Julia Child I post about them anyway. Today, however, I made something almost perfect in form, and completely perfect in taste.  

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I made tiny little cheesecakes with chocolate crust and raspberry preserves.  I was amazed that not only was this dessert not difficult to make, but that I managed to make it beautiful.  The hardest part was a self-made difficulty. I refused to make a special trip to the store to get aluminum cupcake liners.  I chose instead to use the very classy, rigged aluminum foil technique, patented Paprika Angel technology ensuring that every single cheesecake looks unique.

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Two days ago, while fiddling with and attempting to learn how to use Twitter, I found a recipe I could not stop thinking about.  The tiny cheesecakes popping from the Food & Wine post just kept rolling about in my head calling my name.  And thus I found myself making a special trip to my local downtown grocer before hopping a bus back home after work to purchase the fancy fromage blanc and not so fancy cream cheese the recipe called for. 

IMG_9029Fromage blanc was not available, but there was creme fraiche, which I was told by the cheesemonger, would make a perfect substitute.   I believed him and hoped that this was not the beginning of the end of another story where my baked good went sideways.

It was a hot day in Seattle - a perfect time to use my oven.  So before digging into an experiment heating my already warm house I decided to lounge about in the backyard with the dog and read some poetry until the sun moved a little more into the shadows.  Then when the wind switched and I felt the afternoon chill move in - it was time to bring out the food processor, hand mixer, and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  

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I counted out 24 chocolate wafers from my box of chocolate cookies, hacked off a big chunk of unsalted butter, and let my food processor go to work on the crumb crust as I read and re-read the recipe from my iPhone.  

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The crumb was patted lightly into the bottom of each muffin holder then baked for 5 minutes.  

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Next I tackled the cheese batter, starting with the cream cheese and sugar.  I chose the wrong bowl and got a bit of cream cheese all over the place, then repeated the process with the creme fraiche.  

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 Then came the vanilla and eggs and more hand-mixer mess fun -

  IMG_9039followed by my using a measuring cup to pour a small amount of cheesecake batter into each muffin tin.  My muffin tin and its ingenuitive muffin cups was not as big as the recipe anticipated so I had a bit of extra batter.  Odin was very enthusiastic about helping me get rid of it.  

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The tiny cheesecakes should bake for 15 minutes, or until they "jiggle slightly" when the pan is shaken.  I believe I overcooked mine as they did not jiggle, however, they looked very edible - but I double checked the recipe and found that at this stage I needed to douse them in raspberry preserve and put them in the freezer to set.  So after each one got a little jam cap on top, into the freezer went the hot pan.

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15 minutes later I pulled the little lovelies out and dug in.  Yum.  The perfect marriage of chocolate and raspberry with a creamy middle, but not too rich because its not that big.  

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Tiny Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust and Raspberry Preserve

adapted from Food & Wine

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3 Tsp vanilla

2 eggs

8 oz cream cheese

2/3 cup creme fraiche

24 chocolate wafer cookies (premade of your choice)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter

1 Jar of Raspberry Preserves, amount to use at your discretion

12 -14 cupcake aluminum cupcake liners (or tin foil)

Step 1:  Line the muffin or cupcake tin with aluminum cupcake liners and spray down with cooking spray.

Step 2: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees

Step 3: Place the butter and chocolate wafers into a food processor.  Set your food processor to stun until it pulverizes the cookies and comingles it with butter forming a fine paste.

Step 4: Evenly distribute the chocolate paste into the bottom of your 12 cupcake liners and press down with your fingers to create an even crust in each.  Bake the crusts for 5 minutes to make sure they set.

Step 5: Take the room temperature cream cheese and 1/4 cup sugar and blend them together using a hand mixer.   Use a bowl that that has tall sides to avoid messes.  

Step 6:  Add the creme fraiche to the cream cheese and sugar and blend with the hand mixer until smooth.

Step 7:  Add the vanilla extract and eggs, and blend until smooth.

Step 8:  Carefully pour the mixture into each cupcake liner.  Fill the liner 2/3 full.  

Step 9:  Bake the cheesecakes for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and immediately top each one with a dollop of raspberry jam.  Use whatever volume of raspberry jam or preserve that you prefer.  

Step 10: Place the muffin tin into the freezer for at least 15 minutes to set the cheesecakes.

Enjoy!

 

 

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