French-trained chef and best-selling cookbook author Paula Shoyer is sharing contemporary and delicious recipes for Shavuot that offer simple elegance and a smidge of indulgence.

From Paula: “I truly love cheesecake, especially New York-style, made only with cream cheese. These minis are lower in sugar than most cheesecakes, and they are gluten-free if you use gluten-free oat flour for the crust. Ricotta cheese pumps up the calcium content. I tried to make this recipe with lower-fat cream cheese and ricotta, but the results were not satisfactory. The idea behind the mini cheesecakes was portion control, but I found myself grabbing them all day long, so I had to take extreme measures and freeze most of them to get them out of easy reach. I particularly like the buttery oat crust, which you could also use as a pie crust.”

Mini Cheesecake Muffins With Oat and Brown Sugar Crust and Strawberry Purée

Yields 12. Prep time: 8 minutes; 4 hours to chill; 3 minutes for strawberry sauce. Bake time: 10 minutes to bake crust; 25 minutes for cheesecake. Advance prep: May be made three days in advance or frozen (crust not as crunchy after freezing).

Ingredients

  • Cheesecake:
  • 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free oat flour or other flour
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Fresh strawberries or other berries for garnish (optional)
  • Crust:
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats (not quick-cooking kind)
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free oat flour or other flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Strawberry Purée:
  • 2 cups trimmed fresh strawberries
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. To make the crust: Place paper liners in a 12-cup muffin pan. Place the butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave for 1 minute, or until the butter melts. Add the brown sugar and mix well. Add the oats, oat flour and salt and mix well. Place a heaping tablespoon of the mixture into each of the liners in the muffin pan and press it down. Use all of the oat mixture.
  3. Bake the crusts for 10 minutes, or until the edges start to color.
  4. To make the filling: Place the cream cheese in a large bowl. Beat it with an electric mixer on high speed until it is very smooth, scraping down the bowl a few times. Add the eggs into the cream cheese, one at a time, and beat them in. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar, oat flour, lemon zest and vanilla to the bowl and mix for 1 minute. Add the ricotta and mix it in gently on low speed. Scoop about ⅓ cup of the mixture into each muffin cup.
  5. Bake the cheesecakes for 25 minutes, or until they’ve set. Let them cool in the pan and then refrigerate the cheesecakes for at least 4 hours.
  6. To make the strawberry purée: Place the strawberries and confectioners sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process until puréed. (Add water, a teaspoon at a time, if the strawberries are not very ripe and the mixture seems too dry.)
  7. Serve the mini cheesecakes with a spoonful of strawberry purée on top or on the side. Garnish with sliced fresh strawberries or other berries, if desired.