Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mini Cheesecakes with Raspberry Hearts (Cupcake of the Month Series #2)

This weekend I attempted the mini cheesecakes with raspberry hearts from my Martha Stewart 2012 Cupcake Calendar.

It didn't quite work out the way I'd hoped.  The presentation was a bit of a "fail."

See?  They look nothing like the picture on the recipe card.

But they tasted great, so I'll give you the rundown of how I made them.

I started by combining 1 and 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (I bought them, rather than make my own), 3 tablespoons of melted butter and 3 tablespoons of sugar in a small bowl.

Then I put some pretty colored cupcake cups in my pan and spooned a tablespoon of the crust into each one.  Then I used the bottom of a small juice glass to press the mixture down.

These were popped into a 325-degree oven for 10 minutes, then set to cool on a cooling rack.

While the crusts were baking, I made my raspberry puree.  I pureed one 6-ounce package of raspberries in my food processor, then pressed them through a sieve to remove the pulp and seeds.  Then I mixed in two tablespoons of sugar.

Now came time to make the cheesecake batter.  I creamed four 8-ounce blocks of cream cheese until light and fluffy, then added 1 and 1/2 cups of sugar (a half cup at a time), a teaspoon of vanilla, a pinch of salt, and four eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl periodically to make sure everything was incorporated.

Now, the recipe just says to put the batter into the cups over the baked crusts, then dot with puree.  But that seemed like an awful waste of raspberries, so I decided to put a half a tablespoon of puree in the bottom of the cups, between the crust and the batter.  Then I spooned batter into the cups. In hindsight, I probably over filled them.  But I only wanted to make 24 cupcakes, rather than the 32 called for in the recipe, and I still had batter leftover.

Next I dropped two drops of puree onto each cheesecake and used a toothpick to "swoop" each dot into a heart.  Some worked better than others.

Some were pretty awesome.

Then I baked them.  They smelled delicious.  But they puffed and cracked.  And then they sank.  Both issues are notorious cheesecake issues.  And none of the hearts looked like hearts anymore.  The recipe said to put each pan into a roasting pan with water, basically baking in a water bath, but I don't have any roasting pans large enough for my muffin tins. I wonder if that was the problem.

I was very sad.

But everyone enjoyed them.

Yesterday, I decided I should probably do something with the leftover batter, and I also had another package of raspberries.  So I decided to make more mini cheesecakes, this time mixing about a tablespoon of sugar into the raspberries and putting three on each cheesecake before baking them.

I liked how this batch turned out better.

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