When it comes to desserts, I prefer them small and bite-sized, obviously for portion-control and because they are so darn cute. So when I came across this Mini Black-Bottom Cheesecakes with Jam recipe in Food & Wine’s September 2008 issue, I knew I had to rip it out and make it one day. That ‘one day’ finally came and I can now share this with y’all! These mini cheesecakes have a nice amount of richness and creaminess, without being overly sweet. I was able to yield 48 of these, so I had to share it with other people, who also enjoyed them – a little too much if you know what I mean. So if you want to make an ‘oh-my-god-it’s-so-good’ kinda dessert, then I highly recommend making this for your next event, or just to have around the house. But I do have to warn you – don’t sit on the couch like Peg Bundy and pop them in your mouth like Bon-Bons. They are addicting!
In a food processor, finely crush 24 chocolate wafer cookies, preferably Nabisco's Famous Chocolate Wafers. Then, add 3 tbsp unsalted melted butter and process until fine crumbs form.
You can either use the 12-cup muffin tins or 24-cup mini muffin tins. I used the mini ones! Also, make sure you get the foil baking cups, instead of the paper ones that I used. The foil ones will come out nicer, but since I didn't have that, I worked with paper. Spray each of the cups with vegetable oil spray and spoon the cookie crumbs into the baking cups and press the bottom to compact the crumbs. Bake this for 5 minutes at 350-degrees or until the crusts are almost set.
Meanwhile, beat 8 oz. cream cheese with 1/4 cup sugar at medium speed until smooth. (You can either use the big mixer, or a handheld mixer). Next, add 2/3 cup of crème fraiche (see below) at room temperature until incorporated, and finally 2 large eggs and 2 tsp pure vanilla extract. Beat until smooth.
For those of you who are not familiar with crème fraiche, I've taken a photo of it for your reference. Crème Fraiche is a cultured cream that is basically a thinner form of sour cream first developed by the French. It has a slight hold and tanginess because it contains bacterial cultures.
Now, pour the cheesecake batter into the baking cups, filling them 3/4 full (I went overboard, which is ok), and bake them for about 15 minutes, or until the centers are slightly jiggly.
Remove from the oven and spoon a little bit of warmed fruit jam (I used strawberry jam) or preserves on top of each cheesecake. Transfer the muffin tin to the freezer and chill the cheesecakes until cooled, about 15 minutes. (If you're not in a hurry, you can let the cheesecakes cool to room temperature and then refrigerate them.) When they're ready, carefully remove the cheesecakes from the muffin tin and peel off the baking cups.
These tiny little cheesecakes are so easy to make! Unfortunately, mine weren't as pretty as the one in the magazine because I used the mini-muffins and it was much harder to work with - and didn't use foil liners. But in any case, they still resulted in delicious cheesecake bites. Don't be tempted to eat the whole batch, and remember to share!
To view or print-out this recipe, click here: Mini Black-Bottom Cheesecakes with Jam