Wednesday, October 22, 2008

make ahead…

With Halloween right around the corner, I have been gathering recipe ideas to bring to a Halloween bash and will also be adaptable for the upcoming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

In particular I have been searching for fast recipes that I can make ahead to have on hand for my parties and also to bring to family gatherings.

I really liked this recipe as it is a festive, colorful, decadent and delicious desert that holds up beautiful when make in advance. And because this recipe is so rich, I make them in the regular size for a dessert cupcake and in super-mini size for just a taste of indulgence.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe.

Mini Cheesecakes with Jam
Adapted form a recipe from Food and Wine Magazine 30th anniversary issue.


Vegetable Oil spray

24 plain Vanilla Wafer cookies, (like the Nabisco brand, but I used an organic brand from Whole Foods that I love. The organic band is less sweet, with a richer vanilla flavor, and is actually cheaper than the Nabisco brand.)

3 tablespoons unsalted Butter, melted.

1/4 cup Sugar

2 large Eggs

8 ounces Cream Cheese, at room temperature

2/3 cup Crème fraîche (6 ounces), at room temperature

2 teaspoons pure Vanilla extract (I also added the scrapings of the middle of one Vanilla bean as I love the depth of flavor and the speckled look that it adds.

1/4 cup preserves, warmed (Depending what I am making these cheesecakes for, I use various colors of preserves for different occasions: red raspberry and lime curd for Christmas, lingonberry, apricot or orange marmalade for Halloween, spiced plum for Thanksgiving, lemon curd of fresh cherry preserves for a summer desert. The combinations are up to you.)


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with foil baking cups and spray the cups with vegetable oil spray. In a food processor, crush the vanilla wafer cookies.

Add the butter and process until fine crumbs form.

Spoon the cookie crumbs into the prepared baking cups and press with the bottom of a glass to compact.
Bake for 5 minutes, or until almost set.

Leave the oven on.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar at medium speed until smooth. Beat in the fromage blanc, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth.
Pour the cheesecake batter into the baking cups, filling them three-quarters full.
Bake the cheesecakes for 15 minutes, or until slightly jiggly in the center.

Remove from the oven and spread 1 teaspoon of the warmed preserves on top of each cheesecake.

Transfer the muffin tin to the refrigerator and chill the cheesecakes until set, about 20-30 minutes.
Remove the cheesecakes from the pan and peel off the foil baking cups.

Transfer the cheesecakes to a platter and serve.

The cheesecakes can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
These also freeze very well because of their moderately high fat content and dense texture. The fat in the cream cheese and crème fraîche helps keep the ice crystals that form during freezing separate and small.

Be sure that you cool the cheesecakes completely before wrapping and freezing to keep extra moisture from condensing inside the wrapping.

Defrost ahead in the refrigerator the morning before your party.


A Brush with Color said...

Yum! They look beautiful! I made a very similar recipe once, but I just put the cookies, top side up, into the pans. Then, when the finished little treats cooled, they sort of "sunk" a little in the center, which made a perfect spot for the preserves. I love your idea of varying the tastes and colors for the different holidays, too. And the organic cookies sound wonderful. Anything with more vanilla sounds good to me! I'll have to try these! Thanks!! I also agree it's always a plus to have recipes you can make in advance. Less stress is a good thing!

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Glad you like these Sue...
you idea is great when I make the cakes in the larger cupcake tins...merci for that...!
Oui, less stress in holiday time is a great!

Camera Crazy said...

It looks like you pounded the cookies in a plastic bag? I love the image with the glass in the muffin cup and oh my does the finished product look yummy. I also was intrigued by the idea of spraying the muffin liners--brilliant--I'll have to try it. Are you dressing up for a Halloween party? Thankfully we are not invited to any costume parties this year; I always dread the idea of coming up with a costume.

feasting-on-pixels (terrie) said...

Merci beacoup Gail for your visit and kind comments.
Yes a meamallet was my food

No Halloween party for me this year...