Valentine's Day is almost here and what is better to show your affection than a homemade treat? I love, love, love cheesecake! The problem is that it's so rich that a little goes a long way. The Olive Garden in Owings Mills has a dessert called Dolcini, which means "little dessert treats." I find they are perfect to satisfy my sweet tooth but don't overwhelm me and my calorie count.
I like the combination of lemon and raspberry, which is tart and sweet with some rich notes from the cheesecake. When raspberries were on sale last summer, I got two half-pints and froze them immediately. It's nice to have something so close to fresh during the winter months that reminds you of the garden that spring will bring. I used the zester that creates strings of lemon zest instead of the grated type, but it's really a personal preference on which you use. I also made mini-tarts and muffin-size tarts; the only difference is the time of baking and amount added to each cup.
Lori Edmonds is a Reisterstown resident and can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
•¾ cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tbs. sugar
1-½ tbs. melted butter
2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese, room temp.
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. grated lemon peel
3 eggs, room temp.
2 pints fresh or frozen raspberries
¼ cup sugar
¼ tsp. vanilla
Mix the crumbs, 1 tbs. sugar and butter. Place ½ tsp of mixture in the bottom of the mini-pan cups or 1 tsp. in the bottom of the muffin cups. Press crumbs to bottom of cups. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake mini-cups for 5 minutes and muffin cups for 7 minutes. Remove pans from oven and reduce heat to 300 degrees. Whip the cream cheese with the lemon, sugar and vanilla. When completely mixed, add eggs one at a time and whip until light and fluffy. Fill each cup with filling up to the top of the rim. Bake minis for 30 minutes, and 45 minutes for the larger cups. Let cool. In a small sauce pan, boil ½ the raspberries with ¼ cup sugar for 2 minutes. Blend until smooth. Garnish each cup with raspberries and drizzle them with the pureed raspberries.