Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes

Several years ago, I posted a Mini Cheesecake recipe in honor of my sister, Donna, who passed away on April 3, 2013. That recipe was quite simple, using a vanilla wafer for the bottom ‘crust’ with the mini cheesecakes baked in cupcake wrappers.

When I recently saw this recipe for Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes in Cooking Light magazine, I was inspired to take my cheesecake skills to the next level. This recipe uses a Mini Cheesecake pan (by Chicago Metallic) which yields 12 stunningly cute cheesecakes- and they are easy to lift out too! If you don’t have one of these specialty pans, you could also use a cupcake or muffin pan.

Mini cheesecakes

I decided to use my own simple recipe for the crust, which combines graham cracker crumbs, crushed ginger snaps and melted butter. The cheesecake is baked and then topped with a raspberry purée and several fresh raspberries. You could also use blueberries or strawberries as a substitute.

With Christmas less than two weeks away, these mini cheesecakes would certainly liven up your holiday table!

mini-cheesecake

Mini Raspberry Cheesecakes
Serves 12
Adorable mini cheesecakes topped with fresh raspberries
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Crust
  1. 1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs
  2. 1 cup Ginger Snap cookies, crushed
  3. ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
Filling
  1. 16 oz. cream cheese (2 packages), softened
  2. ½ cup sugar
  3. ½ cup sour cream
  4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 tsp lemon juice
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 1 tbsp. white flour
Topping
  1. 3 cups fresh raspberries, divided
  2. 2 tbsps. water
  3. ¼ cup sugar
  4. 1 tbsp. corn starch (mixed with a little water)
  5. Mint leaves (optional)
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 325 F (160 C). Coat the inside of the mini cheesecake pan (or muffin pan) with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the Graham Cracker crumbs, crushed Ginger Snap cookies and melted butter in a bowl. Press about 1 tablespoon of the packed ‘dough’ into the bottom of each well, filling it 1/3 of the way up the sides of the well. Set the pan aside while you prepare the filling.
  3. Soften the cream cheese by placing it in the microwave for about 15 seconds (should be softened but not runny). Combine the cream cheese with the sugar, sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon juice, eggs and flower; beat with electric beaters until smooth. Spoon the mixture over the crust, filling to just below the top of each well. Bake for about 20 minutes or until set and slightly puffed (the filling will deflate slightly after you remove the pan from the oven).
  4. To prepare the topping, heat 2 cups of fresh raspberries and 2 tbsps. of water together on the stovetop. Heat for several minutes until the fruit becomes soft and liquidy. Strain the mixture through a fine strainer to remove the raspberry seeds. Make a paste by mixing the corn starch with a little water; add this to the strained raspberries along with the sugar. Heat until the mixture thickens and becomes like a syrup, then let cool.
  5. Remove the mini cheesecakes from the pan onto a serving dish. Top each cheesecake with 1 ½ tablespoons berry syrup and 2-3 fresh raspberries; add a mint leaf, if desired.
Notes
  1. If you don;t have a 12-well Mini Cheesecake pan, you could also use a regular muffin pan. Line the individual wells with baking paper to help lift out the cheesecakes after baking.
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/

Delicious Breakfast Pizza

Is it Pizza or Focaccia?

This Breakfast Pizza is thick and chewy and truly a meal in itself- served with an egg, sausage pieces and a tomato sauce flavored with fire-roasted red bell peppers and a jalapeño chile.

I was inspired by this recipe after thumbing through Uri Scheft’s cookbook Breaking Breads. His recipe for focaccia shows the dough being shaped into a small round circle, instead of a large dimpled rectangle. “Hmm, this looks like pizza to me,” I said to myself. This got me thinking, “What is the difference between focaccia and pizza?”

It turns out that the ingredients for focaccia and pizza are basically the same: flour, water, yeast and a bit of olive oil. However, while pizza is usually rolled out into a thin crust, focaccia is pressed into a thick rectangular shape and allowed to rise before baked in the oven. Also, the ingredients for a pizza (pepperoni, etc) are usually placed on top of the crust while ingredients are usually pressed into the dough for focaccia.

For my recipe, I’ve decided to combine the best of both worlds: a pizza that has a thick and chewy dough like focaccia bread, served with a jalapeño- infused tomato sauce on top.  Whatever you call it- focaccia or pizza- you’ll be starting your day off with a delicious breakfast!

Ingredients

For the Pizza Dough:

  • 7 g dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 325 ml (1 1/3 cups) tepid water
  • 500 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 20 g (3 tbsp) semolina
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 30 ml (3 tbsps.) olive oil
  • Black sesame seeds or poppy seeds for garnish

Directions:

Dissolve the packet of dry yeast in the tepid water. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, semolina, salt and olive oil. Mix with a large spoon until the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface and knead through a stretch and fold technique. First, grab a hold of 1/3 of the dough and stretch it away from you:

Then fold it back towards you so that the ends meet together. Do a quarter turn of the dough and then repeat for several more minutes.

Place the kneaded dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until the dough doubles in size. While the dough is rising, prepare the sauce (below):

Ingredients

For the sauce:

  • 1 can (14 oz) canned tomatoes
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • ½ jalapeno or red chilli pepper, diced
  • 1 fire-roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • Salt to taste
  • Garnish: 1 egg + sausage slices for each mini pizza

Directions

Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and jalapeño pepper. Add some olive oil to a fry pan and cook over medium heat for several minutes until the veggies become soft. Add the tomatoes and roasted bell pepper strips and salt; cook for around 10 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.

While the sauce is thickening, place a pizza stone on the bottom of a cold oven and pre-heat at 425 F (210 C).

To assemble the pizza:

After the dough has risen, turn it back onto the floured work surface and cut into 6 equal pieces. Stretch one piece of dough into a circle about 5-6 inches in diameter.

Spoon some of the sauce onto the dough, leaving a margin of one inch around the edges of the dough. Arrange 5-6 pieces of the sliced sausage in a circle, then crack an egg in the center. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds or poppy seeds around the edge of the mini pizza. Drizzle with olive oil and some coarse salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Place one mini pizza onto a floured ‘pizza peel’ and slide onto the pre-heated pizza stone (or you could cook two pizzas at a time). Cook for 10-15 minutes until the dough turns crisp and brown. Remove from oven and drizzle with a little more olive oil and course salt.

Note: If you don’t have a pizza stone, place the pizzas on a pizza or baking tray and cook in a pre-heated oven at 425 F.

Thick and Chewy Breakfast Pizza

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Delicious Breakfast Pizza
Serves 6
A thick and chewy breakfast pizza topped with an egg and sausage
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For the Pizza Crust
  1. 7 g dry yeast (1 packet)
  2. 325 ml (1 1/3 cups) tepid water
  3. 500 g (4 cups) all-purpose flour
  4. 20 g (3 tbsps) semolina
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. 30 ml (3 tbsps.) olive oil
  7. Black sesame seeds or poppy seeds for garnish
For the sauce
  1. 1 can (14 oz) canned tomatoes
  2. ½ onion, chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves, diced
  4. ½ jalapeno or red chilli pepper, diced
  5. 1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips
  6. Salt to taste
For the garnish
  1. 1 egg (for each mini pizza)
  2. 5-6 slices of sausage
To make the dough
  1. Dissolve the packet of dry yeast in the tepid water. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, semolina, salt and olive oil. Mix with a large spoon until the dough starts to come together. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured work surface. Knead the dough for several minutes: first grab a hold of 1/3 of the dough and stretch it away from you, then fold it back over towards you so that the ends meet together. Do a quarter turn of the dough and then repeat for several more minutes.
  2. Place the kneaded dough in a lightly-oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rest until the dough doubles in size.
To make the Sauce
  1. Finely chop the onion, garlic cloves and jalapeno pepper. Cook in a fry pan over medium heat for several minutes until the veggies become soft. Add the tomatoes and roasted bell pepper strips and salt; cook for around 10 minutes until the sauce starts to thicken.
  2. While the sauce is thickening, place a pizza stone on the bottom of a cold oven and pre-heat at 425 F (210 C).
To assemble the pizza
  1. After the dough has risen, turn it back onto the floured work surface and cut into 6 equal pieces. Stretch one piece of dough into a circle about 5-6 inches in diameter.
  2. Spoon some of the sauce onto the dough, leaving a margin of one inch around the edges of the dough. Arrange 5-6 pieces of the sliced sausage in a circle, then crack an egg in the center. Sprinkle some black sesame seeds or poppy seeds around the edge of the mini pizza. Drizzle with olive oil and some coarse salt. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
  3. Place one mini pizza onto a floured ‘pizza peel’ and slide onto the pre-heated pizza stone (or you could cook two pizzas at a time). Cook for 10-15 minutes until the dough turns crisp and brown. Remove from oven and drizzle with a little more olive oil and course salt.
Notes
  1. You can also add or substitute other toppings, such as sliced mushrooms or bacon strips
Adapted from 'Breaking Breads' by Uri Scheft
Adapted from 'Breaking Breads' by Uri Scheft
G'day Soufflé http://www.gdaysouffle.com/