I’m writing about one of my most favorite things in an utterly exhausted state. Maybe I’ll have a little cheesecake to help lift me up in a bit. Meanwhile, getting absolutely no sleep and waking up aching all over might make this post a little, err, adventurous? We shall see!
So guess what day it is? Yep, it’s that day some of us love and some of us love to hate. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a good excuse for something yummy. You know, in that tummy. Well, first your mouth, then eventually your tummy. Yeah.
So what we have here are the humble beginnings of the rare and always wonderful Mini Cheesecake. Elusive though they are in the wild, man has triumphantly cultivated them in the kitchen as well. Keep reading to see how it’s done.
The graham crackers must be crushed very finely to mesh well with these reduced-in-size cheesecakes. I like to use my mini food prep machine, but if you don’t have one, the crackers inside a sealed plastic bag, a rolling pin and your will to smote them into dust will do.
Butter a few mini muffin pans and shake the graham crackers as well as possible around the sides of each well. To do this, place a small amount, about a tablespoon, in each well and shake the pan back and forth, tilting it around to try to coat the sides of each well. Press what loose crumbs remain into the bottoms.
That right thar is the luscious beginnings to the cheesecake portion of this rodeo. Oh man. It’s good. So, so GOOD.
Your stand or hand mixers will have to do double duty with this recipe. Egg whites are whipped next and folded into the cream cheese mixture. Watch as that batter magically expands and multiplies. This recipe makes a lot of mini cheesecakes.
We will never have a problem with this.
Spoon enough batter into each well to almost fill them up. No more than that, though, or they’ll overflow.
After the cheesecakes have baked, you’ll dollop on a small bit of sweetened sour cream into each. The cheesecakes will fall slightly in the center, making a perfect little crater for the sour cream. In the go to the oven again at a higher temp to bake for a few minutes more.
Can you feel it? We’re almost done! We whipped up a quick sweet cherry sauce for a topping if you’re so inclined. Go on, see how they turned out…
Please be mine, sweet little cheesecakes, oh please, oh please. I’m a nice person, I swear. Until I eat you, but it’ll be quick.
The sauce is optional, but we couldn’t resist trying our hand at one. It pairs wonderfully with the subtle sweetness of the cakes. The cakes themselves are just the best plain cheesecake you could want and the sour cream is a perfect touch to finish them off. These seemed perfect for Valentine’s Day, but feel free to bake some up any time you need something fun and small. Enjoy.
Mini Cheesecakes with Sweet Cherry Sauce
from a friend of our mom’s, who’s since passed away (the sauce is our own recipe)
For the cheesecakes:
- 2 8 ounce packages cream cheese
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, separated
- About 1 1/2 to 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
For the topping:
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Sweet Cherry Sauce:
- 2-3 tablespoons sugar, to taste
- 12 ounces frozen sweet cherries, thawed
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons corn starch dissolved in one tablespoon water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter sides and bottoms of 4 mini muffin pans (12 muffins per pan). Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Shake to coat. (I do this part over the trash can in case some crumbs get away in the process.) Press remaining loose crumbs into bottom of the wells. Set aside.
Using a stand or hand mixer, mix the cream cheese, sugar and egg yolks.
Beat the egg whites until very stiff, then fold into cream cheese mixture. Do not stir or over fold; this might cause the egg whites to deflate. Fold gently in until just combined.
Fill each muffin well almost to the top and bake 15 minutes.
To make the sweet cherry sauce, place all the sauce ingredients except the dissolved cornstarch into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat for about five minutes. Just before it’s about to simmer, add in the dissolved cornstarch and stir till thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and reserve.
Allow cheesecakes to cool slightly in the muffin pans, then remove to a cookie sheet and cool more, about ten minutes. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Whisk together all the topping ingredients. Drop about one teaspoon, maybe slightly more, into the fallen centers. Bake for 5 minutes more. Cool completely and serve with the cherry sauce.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator in an air-tight container or freeze in a freezer-safe container, layers of cheesecakes separated by wax or parchment paper.
If you don’t have cognac but still want to add a liqueur into the cherry sauce, brandy or even whiskey might be good substitutes. Use it sparingly to see if you like the effect. Do the same with the sugar to get it the right sweetness for you.
I actually prefer these after they’ve been in the fridge for a little while.
The recipe is supposed to make about 48 to 60 cheesecakes, so you might have to re-butter one of your pans and prep again for the remainder batter.