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Wednesday 16 July 2014

Mini cheesecake recipe - New York cheesecake, Nutella swirl cheesecake, raspberry and strawberry topped cheesecake and fruit glaze recipe!

I love summer. I love summer fruits.  I hate bathing suit season... who doesn't? But I do love indulging with as little guilt as humanly possible!  So when I had several bricks of cream cheese in my fridge begging to be used up.. it was mini cheesecake making time! Using cupcake/muffin tins to bake these mini cheesecakes not only yield cute little cheesecakes - the smaller portions will let you indulge without the bulge! :D  And since these mini cheesecakes aren't as fussy as making a big cheese cakes - made several variations like New York mini cheesecakes, Nutella swirl cheesecakes, and of course, ones topped with fresh strawberries and raspberries lightly brushed with a clear fruit glaze... let go make some mini cheesecakes!

When making big cheesecakes, you have to let the cream cheese come up to room temp, don't over beat, wrap up the spring form pan in someone water and oven safe, sit it in a water bath, let it cool for hours in the oven so the darn thing ins't lumpy, uneven, or cracks.  With mini cheesecakes, you can chuck everything into a mixer and happily ignore all tricks you'd normally need to do with a large cheesecake.  With mini cheesecakes, it doesn't matter if the mini cheesecakes sink a bit if they cool too quickly - you have more space to top it with fruit, chocolate, nuts etc! And since the surface area is much smaller on a mini cheesecake - it rarely if ever cracks as it cools... if it does, cover it up with a glaze, or toppings :) Plus, since it doesn't have to sit in a hot oven to slowly cool off, it never comes out dry! And yup, I'm using a super old school crappy muffin pan as well as a silicone heat resistant cupcake/muffin pan - silicone one gives me a nice straight up sides for prettier mini cheesecakes.
New York Style mini cheesecakes fresh out of oven - some with slightly sunken centres and some not :D
Nutella Swirl mini cheesecakes
You can make these mini cheesecakes all in one go - slice fruit and make the fruit glaze as the cheesecakes cool.. if you place cheesecakes in the fridge before they completely have a chance to cool, the condensation that forms may give you soft mushy graham cracker/oreo crumb bottom.
Tossed them all in fridge after they cool as I was tired and it was midnight - fruit toppings go on tomorrow morning!
Some of the mini cheesecakes I just served as is... the others I topped with freshly washed (and lightly patted down with paper towels) sliced strawberries and raspberries.  Then lightly brushed with a clear fruit glaze to give it a pretty shine, keep the fruit from going mushy and its tasty to boot! Just don't drown your fruit in the glaze lol!

Mini New York Cheesecake, Mini Nutella Swirl Cheesecake Recipe - makes 2 dozen or 24 cupcake sized mini cheesecakes
I prefer New York style cheesecakes (addition of sour creme) - it gives the cheesecakes a lighter, fluffier texture and isn't as sweet as a regular cheesecake.  If you prefer the straight up cheesecake, just don't add in the sour creme.
Ingredients for Oreo or Graham cracker bottom
-1.5 cups Graham cracker crumbs or Oreo cookie crumbs
-1/2 cup white sugar
-1/4 cup melted butter
*only for graham cracker bottom: 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

How to for mini cheesecake bottoms
I find pre-baking the bottoms reduces the chances your mini cheesecakes ends up with soggy bottoms
1) Preheat the oven to 350F.  Mix all the ingredients together in a medium sized bowl
2) Line 2 cupcake/muffin pans with paper or foil cupcake liners
3) Scoop out and divide the crumb mixture evenly into all the cupcake liners (about 1 heaping teaspoon for each liner)
4) Using your fingertips, smush the crumbs into an even compact layer into the liners
5) Bake for 5 minutes, set aside to cool - leave the liner filled cheesecake bottoms in the cupcake/muffin pans.

Ingredients for mini cheesecakes
-2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese (I used full fat, but you can use low fat as well) warmed up to room temp as if its still cold, it makes it harder to mix evenly
-1/2 cup white sugar
-2 large eggs
-1/2 cup sour cream
-1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
-1 teaspoon of Nutella for each mini cheesecake you plan on making into Nutella swirl mini cheesecakes
-Cheesecake toppings: fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, pears, plums, nectarines, kiwi, melons.any type of fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate...

How to for mini cheesecake
1) Using a mixer or if you feel like working out your muscles, cream the cream cheese sugar, sour cream and vanilla together until well blended.
2) Add eggs one at a time and again, mix until mixture is uniform and there isn't too many lumps of cream cheese left in the batter
3) Portion out the batter into all the muffin/cupcake liners - fill up most of the way, leaving 0.5cm or so at the top (they puff up and bit, then shrink back down
4) Swirl in 1 teaspoon of Nutella into each of the filled cupcake liners you'd like to have as Nutella swirl mini cheesecakes
5) Bake for 15minutes - centres should be set (not jiggly when you give the pan a nudge), set pans on cooling racks for 10min, then remove mini cheesecakes to cool on cooling rack - once completely cool, top with fruit, nuts, chocolate etc or enjoy as is. Pop in a air tight container to store in fridge up to 1 week

Ingredients for fruit glaze
1/2 cup clearish fruit juice: pear, peach, apple (I used white cranberry)
1/8 cup white sugar
1.5 teaspoon cornstarch

How to for Fruit glaze
1) In a small pot, mix the juice, sugar and cornstarch until there are no more lumps
2) Bring contents of pot to a boil - boil for about 2 minutes - the mixture will turn opaque.  Be careful as sometimes the hot contents of pot will spit as it boils!
3) Remove off the stove and cool for 10-15 min or overnight before tossing fruit to glaze and then arranging or brushing on fruit with a small pastry brush - I like using a small heat resistant silicone brush I have kicking around (easier and smoother glaze method!)

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