What's For Dessert: Strawberry Cheesecake Bites

These mini strawberry cheesecakes are a little tangy, a little sweet, and a little spicy. 



Last night I met up with a group of girlfriends for our June wine -- er, I mean, book -- club get-together. This month's choice was Wildfire by Mary Pauline Lowry. Lowry worked on the Pike (Colorado) Hotshot (wildfire fighting) crew and the book is basically a fictionalized (and highly dramatized) version of her experiences. The book's description of life on a hotshot crew was fascinating, although the writing was a little cheesy in places.


As is typical for most of our book club get-togethers, we often spend 5 minutes or less talking about the book and spend the rest of the evening eating, drinking, and catching up on our lives. I like book club as it gives me an excuse to make new recipes and share them with friends.

  
This time, I brought along one sweet and one savory treat to share. The sweet treat? Mini strawberry cheesecakes. These cheesecake bites have a little tang from the cream cheese, a little sweetness from the strawberry topping, and a little spice from the ginger snap crust. And, bonus, the recipe is also gluten-free.

Strawberry Cheesecake Bites (printer-friendly version)
makes 24 mini cheesecakes

For the crust:
1 cup ginger cookie crumbs (I used about 15 gluten-free mini ginger snaps)
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecakes:
1 (8 oz) package neufchâtel cheese (or regular cream cheese), softened
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon tapioca starch (you can substitute all-purpose flour if gluten isn't an issue)

For the strawberry topping:
2 cups chopped fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
2. In the bowl of a food processor, use the steel blade attachment to make crumbs from the ginger cookies. Add in the brown sugar and pulse a few times to incorporate into the crumbs. Carefully add in the melted butter and process until incorporated.
3. Spoon the crumb mixture into each lined mini muffin cup, filling each cup about 1/4 full. Use the back of the spoon or your fingers to press the crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of each muffin cup. (The round end of a muddler also works quite well to tamp down the crumbs as well.)
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix the neufchâtel cheese, Greek yogurt, egg, vanilla, and sugar together at high speed. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as necessary. Add in the tapioca starch and beat until thoroughly combined.
5. Spoon the cheese mixture on top of the ginger cookie crumb layer, filling each muffin cup almost completely full.
6. Bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes, or until the cheesecake layer has set and appears matte, not glossy. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake bites cool in the tin on a wire rack. Once cooled to the touch, place the tin in the refrigerator to chill.
7. While the cheesecakes are chilling, make the strawberry topping: In a small sauce pot, add together the chopped strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook over medium heat until the mixture just comes to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until slightly thickened and the strawberries have softened, 7-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, then stir in the vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together the cornstarch and water. Then add this mixture to the strawberries and stir to combine. Pour the thickened strawberry sauce into a container, top with a lid, and refrigerate until cooled.
8. To serve, remove the cheesecake bites from their paper liners and then carefully dollop each mini cheesecake with the strawberry topping.

Comments

  1. I'm going to request that I wake up to a fridge-full of these on my birthday. It's now my only wish.

    ReplyDelete

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