I am going to start by saying that I love cheesecake. It is probably my one major vice out of all desserts. Most others I can put down and not eat after a few bites, but cheesecake is another story. In fact, when I made the cheesecake for a Daring Baker's challenge a few months ago I ate the whole thing , by myself. Now we aren't talking about a small cheesecake, we are talking about a 13x9 pan full of cheesecake. I left it in the fridge with a fork and would just come back throughout the day for a few little bites. Before I knew it, the cheesecake was gone.
I have been wanting to make cheesecake for a few weeks now. And was planning on making a full pan of cheesecake, but over the weeks, I used the cream cheese for other things. So, when I decided to make the these yesterday I only had one package of cream cheese left. I decided that the cheesecake would have to be mini. Now, this could be just as dangerous, the cheesecakes are perfectly bite size and just waiting there in the fridge for me to eat them. I had some pumpkin left over from those cookies and also some chocolate ganache from a cake and so I thought that I'd use those up too.
These little cheesecakes with pumpkin and chocolate turned out so delicious. I really need to get them out of the house before I eat them all! I tell you what, I could not for the life of me get my pumpkin hating husband to try these. So, more for me, he doesn't know what he is missing out on.
6 long sheets of graham crackers
1 Tbs. sugar
a pinch of salt
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1 pkg. (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt
1 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/3 canned pumpkin
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Add the graham crackers, sugar and salt to food processor and process until graham crackers are fine crumbs. With the machine running, add the melted butter and mix to combine.
3. Put about 1 Tbs. of the crumb mixture into each mini muffin cup (it will make 16 mini cheesecakes). Press the crumbs into each cup. Bake the crusts for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on cooling rack while you mix the filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
4. Rinse out the food processor. In food processor cream the cream cheese until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the sugar and cream for another minute or two. Add the egg and mix for another minute or two. Scrape down the sides as needed. Add the vanilla, salt, pumpkin pie spice and pumpkin and mix for another minute to combine. Scrape down the side and the bottom of the bowl and give it one last quick mix.
5. Pour the mixture into the crusts, filling to the top. Place the muffin pan onto a baking sheet. Place in the oven. Carefully pour the water into the baking pan being sure not to let it get into the muffin tin. you want the water to come about halfway up the muffin pan. Bake the cheesecakes at 325° for about 24 minutes. Carefully remove the muffin pan from the baking sheet and let cool on a cooling rack for 20 minutes. Then refrigerate them in the pan for another 30 minutes.
6. Carefully run a small thin knife around the edges of each cheesecake and pop them out the pan. Pour about a teaspoon of ganache (recipe follows) onto each cheesecake and spread if desired. Return to the fridge to let the ganache harden.
6 oz. (good) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, like Lindt
6 oz. (¾ cup heavy cream
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
¾ tsp. vanilla
1. Break the chocolate into 1-inch pieces and place in the basket of a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer into a medium sized bowl and set aside.
2. Heat the cream and corn syrup in a saucepan, on low, until it reached a gentle boil. Once boiling, immediately and carefully pour over the chocolate. Leave it alone for one minute, then slowly stir and mix the chocolate and cream together until the chocolate is melted and incorporated into the cream. Carefully blend in vanilla. The glaze will thicken, but should still be pourable. If it doesn’t thicken, refrigerate for about 5 minutes, but make sure it doesn’t get too cold!