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I wanted to try these mini baked Cheesecakes from Junior’s, which is a popular Cheesecake store in New York. I hadn’t used this book in a while as I dislike the sponge base, I prefer the biscuit base and most if not all of the recipes in the Junior’s Cheesecake Cookbook: 50 To-Die-For Recipes for New York-Style Cheesecake are in fact sponge based.

I made a Peanut Butter Cheesecake from this book and it turned out quite well, but wasn’t fond of the sponge cake base. I like the crunch and butteriness of the crumbed biscuits. The actual recipe calls for Raspberry puree, but I only had a packet of mixed assorted frozen berries (Raspberries, Blueberries and I think a few Black currents) but works quite well anyway. I’ve left the American measurements as is from the recipe book but added in the commonly used Australian measurements so you don’t have to!

Little Fella Raspberry Swirls

Makes 13 Little Fellas
Ingredients
6 ounces (about 2/3 cup/170g) dry-pack frozen whole raspberries (unsweetened, not in syrup) thawed and drained well
Two 8-ounce packages cream cheese (only full fat) at room temperature (Roughly 450g)
2/3 cup sugar (I reduced it to 1/2 cup)
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 extra-large eggs
1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream
13 fresh raspberries (large, pretty ones) (I didn’t have any of these at the time)

Method
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F (176 C). Line 13 standard muffin cups with silicone, foil, parchment or paper lines. (If you have only 12, use a custard cup for the thirteenth one)

2. Pulse the thawed raspberries in your food processor until smooth (you need 1/3 cup of puree). Set aside.

3. Put one package of the cream cheese, 1/3 cup of sugar, and the cornstarch in a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl a few times. Blend in the remaining package of cream cheese. Increase the mixer seed to medium and beat in the remaining 1/3 cup sugar, then the vanilla. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after adding each one. Beat in the cream just until it’s completely blended. Be careful not to overmix!

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4. Divide the batter among the 13 muffin cups (fill each one almost up to the top). Drop a heaping teaspoon of the raspberry puree in the centre of each cup, pushing it down slightly into each little cake as you go. Using a thin, pointed knife, cut through the batter a few times, just until the raspberry swirls appear (do not mix in the puree completely or the cakes will turn pink and the swirls will disappear).

5. Place the muffin tin in a large shallow pan and pour hot water in until it comes about 1 inch (2.54cm) up the sides of the tin. Bake the cakes until set and the centres are slightly puffy and golden with red raspberry swirls, about 45 minutes. Remove the cakes from the water bath, transfer the tin to a wire rack and let cool for 2 hours. Cover the cakes with a plastic wrap (do not remove from the tin) and put in the freezer until cold, at least 1 hour.

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6. To remove the cakes, lift them out the cups with your hands ad peel off the liners. Place the cakes, top side up, on a serving platter or individual dessert plates. Top each with a raspberry and refrigerate until ready to serve. If there are any cakes left, cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Or remove the fresh berries, then wrap and freeze for up to 1 month.

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Impressions

I like this recipe but it sure does take a seemingly long time to get any results.

Letting these babies cool for 2 hours felt like forever since I did it at night, and waiting another 1 hour in the freezer before placing it in the refrigerator for storage. So really what seemed like a short prep time, the waiting can be excruciating if you really had a cheesecake craving that night.

The water bath is a bit troublesome if you’ve never done it before. I also probably didn’t have a high enough pan to place my muffin trays on in order for the water to be high enough to reach 2.5 cm. Mine was probably around 1.5cm at most. So I have a feeling I may have over baked it, as I did leave it in the oven too long.

For that haven’t tried a well done one, you’d still be hard pressed to see any faults. Apart from the sullen appearance. You still get a nice cream cheese flavour, along with a touch of berry flavour. I wish I added more puree to be honest, or maybe my frozen berries weren’t very flavourful so I’ll give it another shot and see how those turn out. Overall, it’s a good recipe, I enjoyed the end results even though I know it wasn’t at all perfect (or even close). It doesn’t have a sponge or biscuit base at all. It’s more like a cheesecake muffin so if the the base is something you can’t live without you could probably add a biscuit base to a separate muffin tray (paper), let it set in the fridge and then once the cheesecakes are cooled, peel it off (if you put it in cups) and just place it on top of the base. I’m sure it’ll add a nice crunchy texture to it all.

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