I’ve been wanting to try making cheesecake for ages now, but until I moved in with the Boyfriend (let’s call him Mr. Dumpling, teehee), there really wasn’t much of a point of making an enormous cheesecake just for myself (well…at least not a very healthy point!). I helped my aunt make one a few months ago when I visited her, just a basic NY Cheesecake and it kind of failed :( The flavor was good, but it had huuuuuge cracks all in it and the crust was soggy.
See? You can tell there is way too much moisture from the pooling in the area where a slice was removed. I read that mini cheesecakes were more forgiving, so I went searching for yummy (easy) recipes. The one I’m about to share with you is one from PinchMySalt, Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes. I usually tweak recipes on my second or third go-around, so this one is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same recipe. I am just sharing my experiences with it :).
I don’t have a mini cheesecake pan, so I decided to make do with my mini-muffin pan and use liners. If you don’t have that, you can even use a normal size muffin pan, you’ll just have not-quite-so-mini cheesecakes. I did a test batch of NY Cheesecake in a normal muffin pan just to see if the crust would work out and not completely fall apart once I peeled the liner away. I only made 3 (basically just winged it on the recipe) and they were delicious!
I started with all my ingredients laid out. mise en place everyone!
You can see I have a rolling pin in the back there. I put the graham crackers in a sealed plastic bag and rolled until they weren’t crackers anymore. I kind of enjoyed crushing them to smithereens, although I’m not sure if that is a healthy feeling! After mixing up the crust ingredients (thoroughly! I used a fork and then my fingers to make sure it was all blended) drop them by the half tablespoon into the cupcake liners.
Then press down firmly on each mound of crust, creating a sort of hollow with the crust coming up the sides a bit. I’m not positive, but I think the more firmly you press the crust, the less likely it is to absorb the filling and become soggy, which may have been my and my aunt’s downfall previously.
Now crack open the pumpkin can and go at it!
Pumpkin + 1 Egg + 1 Egg white + Brown Sugar
Maple Syrup (ooh drippiness…this picture was kinda hard to get)
The cream cheese! (the bestest part) Unfortunately, I did not allow my cream cheese to soften enough ahead of time, the results of which you’ll see.
Mix mix mix. Keep mixing because the stupid cream cheese won’t incorporate…
Then give up and just start scooping. I used my small cookie scoop to fill each liner. It was pretty much the perfect amount! (You can see the crusts with a slight hollow in each cup)
Then remember that you didn’t preheat the oven…so wait 10-15 mins while the oven does its magic. Go back to re-reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix while you wait. Wonder if you should have wiped up the drips before taking the picture. Decide you’re too lazy to do that. (My oven leaks, so it takes aaaages to preheat. I need to remember to call the warranty people…)
Put the pan in the oven and bake for 14 minutes at 375°F.
Don’t worry if they puff up a little bit and some cracks form. They will deflate and become essentially invisible because the cheesecakes are so small!
Let them cool in the pan for a little while, 15-20 minutes. They are super soft straight out of the oven, if you try to remove them from the pan (especially since it’s not a normal mini cheesecake pan with removable bottoms) they will get all crushed and sad looking. As this is using a mini-muffin pan with liners, removing was a tiny bit more complicated than it would be with the aforementioned mini cheesecake pan. I tried using tongs but almost crushed one, so I ended up sliding a butter knife down each cup and levering them out.
Then remove and leave them on the cooling rack while you make the whipped cream.
Or unwrap one just to see if the crust looks okay…
And then take a ginormous bite because you just can’t resist. You can see here the little bits of cream cheese that didn’t incorporate entirely. Not a big deal to me because I love cream cheese and this was just for me and Mr. Dumpling, but for aesthetics I would definitely let the cream cheese soften entirely next time – especially if it’s for a party.
Dump the whipped topping into a Ziploc bag, snip off a corner and add a frosting tip. This is actually my first time piping cream successfully.
You can tell that some of them ended up lopsided…and just lumpy and weird, lol.
But still delicious! Mr. Dumpling loves them :)
Gotta be honest here though, I never had anything pumpkin flavored before. They taste pretty good to me, but it isn’t my favorite flavor for sure. I had the same experience a few weeks ago making blueberry muffins…turns out I am not a fan of blueberries. (I know! Such blasphemy…) I think my next round of cheesecakes will be chocolate or toffee :) Stay tuned!
Recipe from PinchMySalt.