Mini-Cheesecakes with Raspberry Sauce:
To Prepare the Crust:
⅔ c. vanilla wafer crumbs (20 vanilla wafers, crushed in blender as fine crumbs)
2 tbsp. fine, dry bread crumbs
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. plus 2 tsp. softened butter
Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Combine crumbs with sugar, using fingers to rub in softened butter until uniformly distributed. Lightly grease mini-cheesecake pans, spooning 2-to-3 tbsp. of crumb mixture into each mini-tray. Press firmly and evenly into removable base of each, producing crust about ⅜-in. thick. Using a dampened paper towel, carefully wipe stray crumbs from sides of each mini-tray. Bake 5 min. Cool crumb base, but do not remove from trays.
To Prepare the Filling:
2 - 8 oz. (250 g each) pkg. “brick-style” cream cheese (do not use soft, spreadable cream cheese)
¾ c. granulated sugar
1-½ tsp. vanilla extract
Using electric mixer or blender washed of any crumbs, combine all ingredients until smooth and sugar granules are fully dissolved. Pour cream cheese mixture over baked crust in trays, filling to ⅜-in. from top. Bake 15-to-18 min. Centers should not jiggle but should still remain slightly soft. Cool cheesecakes at room temperature1 hr. before refrigerating. Do not remove from trays.
To Prepare the Raspberry Sauce:
¾ c. raspberry jam or jelly
18 firm, fresh raspberries
Small, fresh mint leaf clusters
1-½ tsp. rum extract
Warm raspberry jam or jelly over low heat on stove top. If using jam, strain and discard lumps of fruit. Cool 5 min. Using two spoons, gently roll and glaze raspberries in jelly. While chilled mini-cheesecakes remain in trays, center three cooled, glazed raspberries atop each mini-cheesecake. Decorate with small clusters of mint leaves. Chill briefly to set. Warm remaining jelly over low heat, thinning with 2 tbsp. hot water and rum extract. Decant to small pitcher so diners can pour sauce over their cheesecake at the table.
Removing mini-cheesecakes from pan trays is best done as a two-person job, but it’s do-able by one. Place a short, narrow-necked jar on work surface. With one hand, balance mini-cheesecake pan above jar, pressing pan insert over jar to raise removable base of each tray. Carefully lift off each mini-cheesecake. When mini-cheesecakes are free of pan, peel removable metal base from bottom of baked crust. Set mini-cheesecakes on serving plate with Raspberry Sauce on the side. Makes 6 mini-cheesecakes.
|Crush vanilla wafers in blender|
|Wipe sides of each tray to remove any stray crumbs|
|Combine ingredients for cheesecake filling|
|Pour cheesecake filling into trays, distributing equally|
|Glaze firm, fresh raspberries|
|Center on each baked, cooled mini-cheesecake|
|Serve with Raspberry Sauce on the side|