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Recipe Finder | Mini cheesecake

For The Baltimore Sun
Capitalize on the mini-foods trend with this recipe for mini cheesecakes.

Sue Hamilton of Boise, Idaho, was looking for a recipe for making miniature cheesecakes with a berry topping. She said she had them at a wedding a while back. The little cheesecakes surrounded the wedding cake, and Hamilton thought they looked beautiful and tasted great.

Savanna Schaefer of Olney shared her recipe for mini cheesecakes that she said she has adapted from one she found on the Eagle Brand website. She said she likes to use an assortment of fresh berries on top of the individual cheesecakes and even occasionally uses canned pie filling for the topping to save a little time and money. Sometimes Schaefer substitutes chocolate wafer cookies for the graham crackers to make a decadent chocolate crust that pairs great with raspberries, in particular.

These little gems are a cinch to make. Just take care that all your ingredients are at room temperature and don't overmix, or the cakes may sink a bit in the middle as they cool. If they do, no need to fret — the fruit topping will hide any flaws. I would highly recommend using paper liners in the muffin tins. That way, once the little cakes have chilled, you will be able to easily lift them out of the pan. If you don't like the look of the liner, you can remove it once the cakes are completely cooled. Get creative with the toppings. Try an assortment of berries or single variety on each one. I thought even a spoonful of pie filling looked pretty. The cheesecakes will last up to four days in the refrigerator or can be frozen for up to a month. Once you add the fruit topping, eat within a day.

Mini desserts like these are all the rage now — not only for weddings but for just about any occasion. Give these a try, and I'll bet you can't eat just one.

Requests

Nancy Eakin of Linthicum is looking for a recipe for a pie that was served at the Cacao Lane Restaurant in Ellicott City back in the '70s, when local chef Connie Crabtree was associated with the place. The pie was simply known as Cacao Lane pie and consisted of pecans, coconut and raisins. Eakin said "it was divine," and she would love to have the unusual recipe.

Mini fruit tart cheesecakes

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

1 1/2 cups graham cracker or chocolate wafer crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

3 large eggs, room temperature

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Topping:

1/4 cup lime juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

2 cups assorted fresh berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or sliced strawberries)

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Spray 24 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray or line cups with paper liners (recommended).

Combine graham cracker or chocolate wafer crumbs, sugar and butter. Press equal portions (about 2 tablespoons) into the bottom of each prepared muffin cup. (A shot glass or similar small object can help pack the crusts easily)

Beat the room-temperature cream cheese in a large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla until well blended. Spoon equal amounts of the mixture (about 3 tablespoons) into prepared cups.

Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until they just begin to brown and the cakes spring back when touched. Cool completely and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

To make topping: Place lime juice, sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until it boils, then cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. The mixture will thicken as it cools.

Assemble the cheesecakes close to serving time. Brush the top of each cheesecake with a bit of the lime syrup. Place berries on top and brush with more syrup. Chill until ready to serve. The fruit may not stick to the cheesecakes; it acts more as a topping.

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