Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Flavours Column: Individual Cheesecakes (in jars!)

Jars, jars, jars. Yes, we have seen it all. Cupcakes in jars, crumbles in jars, drinks in jars, any dessert in a jar possible. Everything in jars! But still we love them. Jars are great! They're solid, dependable little things that have a multitude of uses. And in using them for another purpose we are re-cycling which makes everyone feel much better about themselves. Good work team. Our grandmother's would be proud! 

Embrace the jar love and whip up these individual cheesecakes for your next dinner party. Impress the pants of your friends (if you want to) with your culinary flair, ingenuity and DIY styling. Have fun. x

Update: Someone just pointed out a typo...'impress the pants of your friends'. Funny what a difference one letter can make. It made me laugh so I've left it. Impress your friends pants if you so choose.

Image: Greta Kenyon Photography

Indulgent Individual Cheesecakes
Published in the Bay of Plenty Times, Weds 3rd April 2013

It’s widely known that miniature things are adorable and basically irresistible. These individual cheesecakes are no exception. I first made these as part of a dessert buffet for my mother’s wedding last year and they flew from the table. Served in baby food jars and tied with a wooden spoon, they were hard to resist. There’s something a little indulgent about having your very own, perfectly portioned dessert to tuck into. No sharing required.

If you don’t have baby food jars anything small will do such as teacups, glasses or ramekins. You can make it into a large cheesecake although the experience won’t be quite the same.

The filling can be flavoured to taste – melted chocolate, citrus juice, fresh berries, Nutella, liqueur. Be creative! My pick is homemade salted caramel sauce. Look out for the recipe in an upcoming column.

Mini Cheesecakes
250g digestive biscuits
75g unsalted butter, melted
250g full fat cream cheese
300ml cream
Icing Sugar (to taste, depending on flavour)
Flavouring of your choice

This will fill around 15 x 110g baby food jars.

Crush the biscuits in a food processor and pour in the melted butter. Press about 1 TBSP of crushed mix into each serving jar and chill.

Beat the cream cheese briefly until smooth, pour in a little cream and beat again just to combine and loosen the cheese. Pour in the remaining cream and beat until whipped.

Depending on the flavour you are using for your filling, add icing sugar to taste, gently whipping this in. If you are using something sweet like melted chocolate or caramel sauce you may not need icing sugar at all. However if you’re flavouring with something tart like lemon or berries then you will need to add sugar. Start with a small amount and work up from there, tasting as you go.

Once flavoured, use a piping bag (saves on mess) to fill the little jars. Chill for at least 3hrs or overnight.

Weekly Tip: Be careful when replacing full fat cream cheese with low fat cream cheese. Low fat cream cheese behaves differently in baking and may not provide the best result. 

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