Diana's Desserts - www.dianasdesserts.com

Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes

Servings: Makes 24 mini cheesecakes
These little indulgences are scaled-down versions of a dessert favorite: the classic New York cheesecake. They combine the sweet fruitiness of fresh strawberries with the rich creaminess of cheesecake, and they taste every bit as luscious as any full-size version.

For the Topping:
1 lb. fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

For the Filling:
1 1/4 lb. cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs, at room temperature
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour

To Make the Topping:
In a nonreactive saucepan, combine 1/2 lb. of the strawberries with the sugar. Using a fork, gently mash the strawberries. Set the pan over medium-high heat and cook until the strawberries are softened, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining 1/2 lb. strawberries and the lemon juice. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool completely. (The topping can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

Preheat an oven to 350°F/180°C. Line a 24-cup miniature muffin pan with miniature paper or foil liners.

To Make the Filling:
In a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce the speed to low, gradually add the sugar and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and sour cream and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour and beat until combined.

Divide the filling evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Bake until the cheesecakes are just set in the center, about 15 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cheesecakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Using a small offset spatula, transfer the cheesecakes to the rack and let cool completely, about 45 minutes.

Refrigerate the cheesecakes in an airtight container for at least overnight or up to 3 days. Spoon about 1 tbsp. of the strawberry topping onto each chilled cheesecake and serve immediately.

Makes 24 mini cheesecakes.

Adapted from Cupcakes, by Shelly Kaldunski (Weldon Owen, 2008).

Date: December 2, 2008