I am back after a long two week vacation in the US of A. It also meant a long break in posting anything on SnD. And boy, I did miss my blog. Its amazing how addictive cooking and blogging can be! My mind wandered to the blog several times, hands twitched to go to the nearest laptop and write, but there was too much going on. Family and friends and a lot of traveling. Not to forget chatting, laughing, gossiping and girly giggling. And yes! Poker nights! It was a good vacation, to say the least! 🙂
Ameericaaa is a great place in terms of the variety of ingredients available. It is a land of extremes, with soo many options in everything. To the point that it gets annoying. Say you went to a local deli to grab a Vegetable sandwich. Now how complicated can ordering a sandwich be?! Believe me when i say VERY complicated. Look at the questions I was asked :
- Which bread would you like? White/brown/gluten-free/oregano spiced/oat bread/rye bread
- Would you like the sandwich toasted? If yes, lightly toasted or deeply toasted
- What type of cheese? American/Provolone/Swiss
- Which sauce? Barbeque sauce/Garlic?
- French fries or potato wedges on the side?
- What would you like to drink with it? Any cookie to go?
I am not kidding. After answering her litany of questions, finally I was able to get a simple vegetable sandwich!
But anyway, the options are astounding. A cook’s delight. So many fine details are easily taken care of. For instance one butter stick is 8 tbsp, with marking for each tbsp of butter. Or there are already several different types of milk : whole fat, reduced fat milk, evaporated milk, half and half milk, fat free milk etc. Just choose whatever suits you and use it. Elaborating the different types of cheeses available would be a different blogpost altogether. Many shops like Walmart and Meijer are open 24*7 in most states! I was quite impressed. Looking forward to the day when so much variety and flexibility will be available in India.
Now back to the Muffin cheesecake. I have been wanting to make the actual “cheesecake” for a long time. Rich creamy goodness of baked cream cheese with a crisp buttery crust. Aah! Deliciousness.
We made this cheesecake at my sister-in-law’s house in Detroit and she is such a darling. She had some beautiful blue rimmed plates I fell in love with, and their patio was an excellent place to photograph the cheesecakes and of course sit in the comforting morning sun and gorge on the cakes! Yes, talk of dessert early in the morning.
Prep time : 1 hour Baking time : 30-40 mins Makes : 12 cupcakes
Graham cracker crust-
- 1 cup cracker crumbs
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp salted butter
- 340 gms cream cheese, softened (I used 1 and 1/2 box of Philadelphia cream cheese )
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest grated
- a pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 3 tbsp Raspberry jam
- 1 tbsp corn flour
- 1 tsp water
- 10-12 leaves of mint (pudina)
Graham cracker crust :
- Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners and and pre-heat the oven to 325° F or 160°C.
- In a bowl, mix the powdered graham crackers and sugar. Add melted butter and combine till it forms a smooth mixture.
- Divide it into 12 parts and pat in an even layer at the bottom of the cupcake liner.
- Bake for 5-7 mins till it turns light brown. Let it cool down completely.
Cheesecake Filling :
- Beat the cream cheese at a low speed for about 2mins, till it is creamy and smooth. Add granulated sugar and blend for another minute. Add vanilla extract, lemon zest and a pinch of salt.
- Add the 2 eggs and a yolk, one at a time, beating continuously, till the eggs are fully incorporated. Add cream and lemon juice and blend well.
- Fill this equally in 12 muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes at 160°C till the top forms slight cracks and the center is set.
- Take out from the oven and let it cool completely.
- Gently heat the raspberry jam, corn flour and water till it comes to a boil. It will start to thicken. Take off heat and generously spread over the cheesecakes.
- Wash and pat dry the mint leaves and place one on top of each muffin.
- We layered 4 of the muffin cheesecakes with Hershey’s chocolate syrup. Yum!
Alternatively, the cheesecake can also be made in a 9 inch spring form pan.
Raspberry and mint add a sensational flavor to the cheesecakes! Difficult to believe? Try it!