Amaretto Mini Cheesecakes with Black Cherry Topping


Jim loves cheesecake. Seriously loves cheesecake. I must be a horrible wife because I have yet to make him one. Now, in my defense, I have purchased him a few slices from The Fresh Market, as we have discovered they have a killer New York Style cheesecake that is totally worth the monetary and caloric splurge. Speaking of calories, that’s another reason I have haven’t performed my wifely duty of baking my man some rich, decadent cheesecake. All of that noted, I was please to find a cheesecake recipe on The Way the Cookie Crumbles that was baked in muffin tins and noted to freeze well. Perfect. A decadent treat that is portion controlled and doesn’t have to be eaten up before it goes bad.

Unfortunately, this recipe didn’t pan out like I was hoping it would. In defense of the blogger I got the recipe from, I have a very hard time following step by step recipes to a t. This is why I am not the world’s best baker, and am working on getting better at that character flaw, among others. What I also found was that the cakes were a little dry, which might have something to do with the fact that these cheesecakes, unlike many others, were not baked in a water bath. I think this may have helped with the texture. Jim also informed me that he “likes plain old cheesecake. Nothing fancy.” Which in his terms means, “what the heck did you do with my graham cracker crust?” I may try these again, with a graham cracker crust of course, and encourage you to try they out, as they had a presentation lovely enough for a fancy dinner or dessert buffet.

 


 

*To make a full cheesecake instead of miniatures, use a 9-inch springform pan; bake the crust for 10 minutes and cook the cheesecake in a water bath for 90 minutes, keeping the same temperatures noted below.

Ingredients

Crust:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • cup (2.33 ounces) sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup (3.6 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour

 

Cheesecake:

  • 4 (8-ounce) boxes cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (10.5 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup amaretto
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Topping

  • 1 12 oz. bag of frozen black cherries, thawed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

 

  1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with nonstick spray. (You could also line the muffin tin with cupcakes liners.)
  2. For the crust: Beat the butter on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg, mixing until thoroughly integrated. Gradually add the flour, mixing just until combined. Divide the batter evenly between 24 muffin cups and spread over just the bottom of each tin. Bake 7-10 minutes, until the crusts are firm and just slightly browned around the edges. Cool on a wire rack. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, beat the cream cheese in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until soft and smooth. (Of course, you can also use a hand mixer for this.) Add the sugar and salt and continue beating until smooth and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute between each addition. Add the cream, amaretto, lemon juice, and almond extract and beat until combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the crust-lined muffin cups. It won’t rise significantly, so feel free to fill the cups. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a cheesecake measures 150 degrees.
  5. Let the cheesecakes cool on a wire rack until they’re at room temperature. Use a thin-bladed knife or offset spatula to remove the cheesecakes from the pan. (If you can’t seem to get them to budge without breaking them, try putting the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes first.) Refrigerate for several hours, until cool. Top with something peachy and lightly toasted sliced almonds, if desired.
  6. Place all ingredients, reserving about 12 whole cherries, in a 21⁄2 quart saucepan. Over medium heat bring mixture to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes to melt the sugar.
  7. Using an immersion blender, blend, using an up-and-down motion until ingredients are well combined, about 30–40 seconds.
  8. Strain the sauce through a fine mesh strainer if desired. Mix in reserved whole cherries and serve.
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