Monday, January 24, 2011

The "Mini Me" of Cheesecake...

The office birthday party for the month of January is coming up soon.  I am in charge of arranging it by myself, since my birthday is the only one in December (thanks mom and dad...why is it that everyone I know has a December birthday, but the people I work with???).  I decided that the more difficult I make my life the instead of bringing in a store bought cake of some sort, big enough to feed an army, I would make cheesecake for the 40+ people that work here (I think its around 40 give or take...I can't seem to count beyond 10 with my shoes on).  It also occurred to me that making a cheesecake in the normal spring form pan would never do for a few simple reasons...

1.  I am pretty sure you can only get 5 servings out of a cheesecake this way.
2.  By the time the third person has tried to get their slice, the thing would look so mangled that nobody would want to eat it.  

So I got the idea that using muffin tins and cupcake papers would be the way to go to make little individual servings of cheesecake.  Then I started to the heck do I take a full cheesecake recipe and bake it in little mini portions???  Will it stick to the paper???  How am I suppose to get all of these too work in a nice manner???  AAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

I took a breath and "GOOGLED" it; someone, some where, must have baked these at some point in time...right?  Google didn't let me down, I was lead to a blog, Rainy Days and Sundays, in which they had made mini cheesecakes similar to Giada's Individual Orange Chocolate Cheesecakes from Food Network.  This was a good start to figure out the cooking time with the recipe I was going to use.  I was starting to feel less stress, as long as the things didn't stick to the paper...feeling more stress again.  AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So at 9:00pm, last Monday,  it was time to make my tester cheesecakes (don't ask me why I started at 9pm, maybe I like stress and no sleep).  I started off by mixing up graham cracker crust for 1  9in  pie.  After placing all of the papers in my muffin tins, I pressed a respectable spoonful of crust into each paper and then pressed it down with my 2 Tbls All Clad measuring spoon (they are perfect for this since they are flat on the bottom).  I set the pans aside and started on the cheesecake.

For printable recipe, please click here
5 pkgs (8oz ea) Cream Cheese (room temp)
1 ¾    C  Sugar
3 Tbs  Flour
2 Tsp  Lemon Zest
1 ½ Tsp  Orange Zest
¼ Tsp  Vanilla Extract
5  Eggs  +  2  Egg Yolks (room temp)
¼ C  Heavy Cream (room temp)

Preheat oven 350 °.  In a large mixer bowl w/ the paddle attachment; blend cheese, sugar, flour, zests, vanilla at high speed.  At medium speed mix in eggs & yolks 1 at a time, mixing until smooth, occasionally scraping the bowl w/ a spatula.  Mix in cream.  Pour into prepped muffin pans, about 3/4 full.  Bake at 350° for 25 min. or until a toothpick test is clean.
***(For full cheesecake, using a spring form pan; preheat oven to 500°, pour the cheesecake mixture into prepped spring form and bake for 10 min.  Lower heat to 250°, bake for another hour.  Remove to cooling rack and let cool for 2 hours)

I let the little guys cool down in the pans for about 5 to 10 minutes before lifting them out.  Use two hands to pull out or else the paper will try to come away from the cheesecake.  The paper peeled away like magic and no part (cake or crust) stuck or tore apart.  This little idea created, in all, 48 lil cheesecake minis.  I did need to make extra crust in order to finish op the batter.  

Next blog, I will talk about my sauces I am planning for these little bits of heaven, a blackberry reduction, a brown butter bourbon sauce and a chocolate ganache (I have never ganached anything, I am very excited!!!). 

Enjoy the foods of your labor.  :-)

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