Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mini Lemon cheesecakes!

My beautiful and most wonderful sweet friend Trina is due any day now with a precious little Lillian Rose! Last week her and her husband Jesse were coming over for dinner. I had the day off so i obviously had to make something that was fun, had multiple steps and then of course, tasted good. I always love working on my cheesecake skills (I LOVE CHEESECAKE) and so i opted for little mini cheesecakes! Fun and cute! I know that my Trina likes lemon (and so do me and Caleb) so I wanted to go with lemon flavored cheesecake. I had some trouble finding a recipe that looked good (if it looks ugly in the picture then i don't try it usually) so I adapted one from an old issue of Martha Stewarts Magazine called Everyday Food. The April 2009 issue. I included some pictures of the steps below and i can explain it too! to fill 4 little mini pie plates i only made a half recipe (there was a little left over) If you want to make this for a regular cheesecake (8-9inch springform pan) then double it.

First thing's first, you gotta make the crust, I like to go with the classic graham cracker crust but i never buy the name brand graham crackers - too expensive! pulse about 2 or 3 tablespoons melted butter with a little bit of sugar and graham cracker crumbs. Now, about how much - that is kind of up to you because sometimes i like ALOT of crust, and sometimes i make one without crust for my husband who shouldn't have gluten... so maybe the crumbs from about 8 graham crackers... (its ok if you don't have a food processor, i didn't have one until dad and karen got me one when i graduated from college, just mix it up in a bowl.)
Then, take the crumbs and press them into the bottom of the dishes and bake the crusts for about 10 mins ish until the crusts are browned. over at 375. Once you take out the crusts - turn the oven down to 325.
Now, make the filling! yum! I use 2 bars of cream cheese. I use whatever cream cheese is on sale because if you don't seriously the cheesecake will cost like 30 dollars and that is a little over the top for me - i DO have a budget. (although at times it may not seem like that....) beat the ROOM temp (or as close as you can get it) on medium or so until fluffy. The room temp thing is important because if you use cold ingredients the cream cake will crack, not that it will taste bad or anything but i have a personal mission everytime i make a cheesecake to make it without cracks, once you achieve it it's hard to go back... anyway, once its fuffy add white sugar a bit at a time, about 3/4 of a cup. Then, beat in the zest from one lemon (a regular size one, not a mini one or one from trader joes, im talking about a legit bright yellow lemon) and roughly 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. obviously fresh lemon juice is wonderful and since your zesting a lemon you should have some, but if you have a cut on your hand and sqeezing the lemon is painful no one will notice if you use lemon juice from the little plastic lemon. Now, beat in 2 eggs (room temp again). If you forget to put the eggs out early i like to put them in a bowl of warm water to get them up to room temp - i DID NOT come up with that all on my own, I read it in a magazine. once the eggs are blended then beat in a little salt and then 1/2 cup of sour cream. Don't use nonfat sour cream - you are already making cheesecake so just commit to it and know that its a treat. don't try to make it healthy, it will just be a gross and expensive and you'll have wished you made it different. i really like sour cream (sad to say) so sometimes I add a little more... but not too much. DON'T beat the batter too much. Another cause of cracks is OVER-beating the batter. so just beat it enough to get it all mixed up and smooth, but don't leave the kitchen aid on a sweep the floor or check your email - im all about multitasking but NOT when a cracked cheesecake is at stake!
Now, fill up your dishes with the batter. i put my little dishes on a jully roll pan (9x13 would work too) and then fill the bottom with boiling water. as the cheesecakes bake, the water will get hot and create steam in the over which will also help prevent cracking! (I didn't think of that either, i read it on an article called "cheesecake tips" on
Bake the cheesecakes for about 40-50 mins, until the centers are set. This can be tricky to know when they are done, but go with your gut. or call me. i can run over and give 'em a look. turn off the oven and open the door a little bit and leave the cakes in there for about 30 mins or so. but letting them gradually cool down, you guessed it... Helps prevent cracking! Then, take them out and put them on the counter and let 'em cool. once they are pretty cool cover with saran wrap and put them in the fridge.
This is the finished product! I forgot to take a picture and I got so excited and took a bite! whoops... but you get the idea. I topped each one with a candied lemon which looked cute but they were gross... I don't think I made them right...(probably because I was trying to multitask) Try to make these - they are SO good! i didn't eat all of mine so I had the rest the next morning for breakfast with my coffee. I gave one ot Jesse for breakfast too. Trina is no fun when it comes ot having dessert for breakfast so we didn't give her one. (Love you T) if you are going to make these - enjoy! PS - cheesecake is NOT as hard as it may seem and the creamy goodness is WORTH it!


  1. They were so so yummyy!!!!!!!!! And yes, cheesecake is not for breakfast in my book :) Although I just made some oatmeal scones for dessert with butter and strawberry preserves on top! Maybe someday i'll venture into dessert for breakfast, just not today. :)

  2. UM YUM! OFFICIALLY on my to do list.