One of my sons gave me a set of 4 of these adorable 4-1/2" springform pans for my birthday this year. But I haven't been able to find any recipes tailored to these pans. So I made my own. With a freezer full of berries and whole-wheat flour and a fridge full of Neufchatel cheese, I decided to come up with a recipe for a raspberry swirl cheesecake. I've made strawberry swirl cheesecake where the puree is swirled in the cheeseake batter. This time, I decided to mix the puree with some of the cheesecake batter before swirling. And, because I was using these cute little pans, I thought the cakes would lend themselves to a Valentine's dinner, hence the heart design on one (just trying it out). Swirling with plain puree gives a more pronounced color contrast. When you mix the puree with the cheesecake batter, you get more of a raspberry pink, as opposed to a red. Tastewise, it's good stuff -- tastes like raspberry ice cream to me.....yummo. This recipe turned out great. The whole-wheat shortbread crust, with a hint of almond, paired well with the hint of almond in the cheesecake and the mildly tart flavor of the raspberries. The cheesecake, itself, is a New York
style -- very creamy and dense and rich. I'm so glad I got to use these adorable pans. Hopefully someone else out there has these pans and will appreciate that I did the homework. What to do if you don't have 4-1/2" springform pans? Try making this in an 8" springform pan, or even in foil cupcake liners.
Raspberry Cream Cheesecakes
Rating 9 out of 10
1/2 cup raspberries, frozen or fresh
1 Tbsp. raspberry preserves
1 Tbsp. your favorite liqueur (I used Limoncello, but almond liqueur would work)
1/2 tsp. cornstarch
additional sugar to taste (I added 1 tsp.)
Combine raspberries, preserves and liqueur in small saucepan and heat to boiling over medium heat. Cook about 3 minutes, or till raspberries are soft and can be mashed down with a spoon or fork. Press through sieve to remove seeds. Return puree to saucepan and taste for sweetness, adding sugar if needed. Stir in cornstarch; heat to boiling and cook till slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat; cover; set aside.
Almond Shortbread Crust:
6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, very soft
1/2 cup confectioner's (10X) sugar
1/4 tsp. sea salt
3/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/8 tsp. almond extract
Preheat oven to 325F. Beat butter in medium bowl until creamy. Add 10X sugar & salt; beat till light and fluffy. Blend in flour and extract. With fingers, press onto bottoms & slightly up sides of pans, dividing dough equally among 3 4-1/2" springform pans that have been lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake 14-17 minutes, or till set. Cool on wire rack.
Raspberry Cream Cheesecake Filling:
2 oz. white chocolate (I used Sam's Choice white chocolate chips -- high-quality chips, low price)
12 oz. Neufchatel cheese, room temp
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg + 1 large yolk, room temp
3 Tbsp. heavy cream, room temp
1 Tbsp. nonfat vanilla yogurt, room temp (I used Stonyfield Farms)
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. cornstarch
Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Set the cheesecake pans on it. Set aside.
In small custard cup, measure the white chocolate. Set the cup in a small pan of hot water over medium heat till chocolate melts. Stir with small spatula. (You can use microwave, but white chocolate burns easily, then clumps together, so beware. This is the safest way to melt it.)
Set aside to cool slightly while preparing the batter.
In a medium bowl, beat the cheese and sugar together till creamy. (I used an electric hand mixer for this.) Add the egg & yolk, one at a time, beating only till combined after each. Stir in remaining ingredients on low speed of mixer or by hand with spatula. Measure 1/2 cup of the batter and stir it into the raspberry puree, which is now cooled. Stir the slightly cooled white chocolate into the white batter. Spoon about 1/2 cup of the white batter into each pan; top with about 2 Tbsp. raspberry batter; then equally distribute the remaining white batter over tops. Dollop remaining raspberry batter over tops; drag a toothpick through batter to create a swirl effect. (Alternately, you can create a design with the final raspberry batter, such as a heart.)
Bake about 35 minutes, or till cheesecake is almost set. Run a sharp knife around edges of cheesecake pans after removing them from the oven. As the cheesecakes cool and start to pull away from the edges, this will keep the cheesecakes from cracking. Cool thoroughly before refrigerating. These are best left to the next day before eating, if you can control yourself. These are really, really dee-lish. Yield: 3 cheesecakes, 4-1/2" each