I am blessed to have two very special women in my life - two very special breast cancer surviving women - my grandmother and a very close friend. For that reason, October has always been a very special month, as it is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Last year, I sent them some fabulous Kick Cancer's Bum cookies, which I had a blast making and (I hope) they had a blast eating!
This year I wanted to participate in Jen's The Power of Pink Challenge. Katie had yet another great idea of making mini cheesecakes with a ribbon swirl made of berry puree. I originally found a recipe for mini cheesecakes (which helped me with timing and temperature), but later realized that I should probably consult my copy of Baking Illustrated, which as been collecting dust on my bookshelf. I made some adjustments to the first recipe based on the information in Baking Illustrated. The resulting cheesecake is light, with an almost whipped texture, and absolutely delicious. The hint of strawberry from the incorporated puree is wonderful.
Think Pink Cheesecake
Adapted from: Fresh from the Oven / Junior's Cheesecake Cookbook: 50 To-Die-For Recipes for New York-Style Cheesecake (Juniors) / Baking Illustrated
Yield: 13 mini cheesecakes
For the crust:
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 6 ounces fresh or frozen strawberries
- two 8-ounce packages Philadelphia Cream Cheese (use either full fat or 1/3 less fat Neufchtel), at room temperature
- 2/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 extra large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Place the strawberries and 1 teaspoon sugar in a bowl and allow berries to macerate for 1-2 hours, then add to a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. Strain puree to remove seeds.
- Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Line 13 standard muffin cups with silicone, foil, parchment, or paper liners.(You can use Reynold's disposable aluminum foil cups if you don't have 2 pans).
- Prepare crust by combining graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and sugar in a bowl and stirring to combine. Press 2 teaspoons of crust mixture into the bottom of each lined muffin cup. Bake 6 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare filling. Put one package of cream cheese and 1/3 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl a few times. Blend in the remaining cream cheese and 1/3 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the sour cream just until it's completely blended.
- Add 1/4 cup of strawberry puree to a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup of cheesecake batter and stir thoroughly, then add the puree blend to a ziplock bag.
- Add remaining strawberry puree (about 1/4 cup) to the cheesecake batter and stir thoroughly to blend.
- Divide the batter among the 13 muffin cups (fill each one almost up to the top). Cut a very small tip off the corner of the plastic bag containing the puree, and gently pipe ribbon shape with puree in the top of each mini cheesecake.
- Place the muffin tin in a large shallow pan and add hot water until it comes about 1 inch up the sides of the tin. Bake the cakes until set and slightly puffy, about 30 minutes. Remove the cakes from the water bath, transfer the tin to a wire rack, and let cool for 2 hours.*Transfer the cake to a container and chill for at least 4 hours before serving. If there are any cakes left, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator or wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.