I truly love cheesecake, especially New York-style, made only with cream cheese. These minis are lower in sugar than most cheesecakes, and they’re 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).
- 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)
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- 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.
- Bake the crusts for 10 minutes, or until the edges start to color.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.
Reprinted with permission.