Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Minis

It’s spring and with warm weather on the horizon, it’s time to trade in decadent, comforting desserts for some light and airy cheesecakes. Bright springtime days seem to call for a change of flavors as we leave winter behind and rush headlong into the season of renewal. It doesn’t get much better than classic cheesecake. Smooth, creamy, and incredibly rich, it’s one of the few desserts we can eat with different fillings, and anything piled on top.

It has ‘cake’ in its name, but in many ways, it is more like a pie. It can be made with ricotta, mascarpone, cream cheese, or quark. It can have a crust or not, be topped with fresh fruit or jam; spend time in the oven or be no-bake and turn out anywhere from very sweet and creamy to dense and only slightly sweet. Cheesecake is a dessert beloved the world over.

When I think spring baking, I instantly think of lemon and blueberries! These mini desserts feature a light lemon cream cheese filling, ginger cookie crumb crusts and are topped with a homemade blueberry sauce. Yum!

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Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Minis
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Servings
MINIS
Ingredients
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
Blueberry Topping
Servings
MINIS
Ingredients
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
Blueberry Topping
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
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Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Lemon Cheesecake Filling
  1. Dissolve the Jell-O powder in boiling water. Set aside to cool. Combine cream cheese, sugar & vanilla in a mixer bowl. Beat until well combined. Stir in the cooled lemon Jell-O, until well combined. Place in refrigerator until slightly starting to gel.
Gingersnap Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a small bowl combine gingersnap crumbs & sugar (if using) & mix well. Add melted butter & mix until it is well blended. Using a mini cheesecake pan, divide crumb mixture evenly between the 12 cups. Bake for about 5 minutes. Cool completely.
Blueberry Topping
  1. In a small saucepan, mix together cornstarch, sugar & salt. Add water & blueberries & cook until 'clear' & bubbling.
Assembly
  1. Place slightly thickened lemon filling in a pastry bag with an open nozzle. On top of the cooled crumb base in each cup, divide the lemon filling evenly. Cover lightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 2 hours or more.
  2. When firm enough, remove cheesecakes from the pan. Place on a serving dish & top each one with some blueberry topping. Garnish with lemon zest if desired.

Mini Persimmon Cheesecakes

Persimmon fruit is delicious in their natural state, but they also add wonderful moisture and flavor to baked goods. Fall and winter is the season for persimmons, and with persimmons you can make the most wonderful, sweet or savory things.

A good persimmon (at its peak) has a mild taste that has been described ‘honey-like’. Its texture is similar to that of an apricot and its skin is tougher than an apple.

For Fuyu persimmons, make sure they are very ripe. Peel them, chop them, and remove their seeds. Use a food processor to puree the fruit. If you have ripe persimmons but aren’t ready to make use of them yet, you can freeze the pulp for up to six months. Freeze the puree in 8-ounce containers or ice cube trays. You can add frozen persimmon pulp to smoothies right out of the freezer. If you want to bake with it, bring it to room temperature and use it when thawed.

These little minis are a wonderful mouthful of  light and creamy cheesecake made with fresh persimmon puree and warm holiday spices. Take advantage of this wonderful fruit—in season October through February.

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Mini Persimmon Cheesecakes
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Base
Cheesecake
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Base
Cheesecake
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Base
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place inserts into bottom of each of the 12 cavities of a mini cheesecake pan.
  2. In a small bowl combine gingersnap crumbs with melted butter. Divide between the 12 cavities & press down firmly with the back of a spoon.
  3. Bake on middle rack of oven for about 8 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while filling is being prepared.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the brown sugar, persimmon puree, sour cream, egg, spices & vanilla. Beat until smooth & well combined.
  2. Divide filling between the 12 cavities in the cheesecake pan.
  3. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until set. Begin checking for doneness after 10 minutes, as oven temperatures vary considerably.
  4. Cool 20 minutes on a wire rack, then using your finger, push up through the hole in the bottom of each cheesecake & remove each one. Remove metal insert & cool completely in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
  5. Garnish with fresh persimmon slices & a bit of whip topping or your choice.

No Bake Mango Cheesecake

No matter how you slice it, cheesecake is truly a dessert that has stood the test of time. From its earliest recorded beginnings to its current iconic status around the world, this creamy cake remains a favorite for dessert lovers of all ages.

The no-bake cheesecake, turned the process of making cheesecake into one that consisted mostly of stirring and chilling. Simply combine cream cheese, milk and Jell-O instant pudding mix, pour into a crust, and chill for an hour or two. The pudding mix sweetens and stabilizes the filling. Essentially foolproof, its a recipe that works every time and tastes custardy and rich with a lighter texture than the traditional cheesecake.

The original recipe for no-bake cheesecake has spawned numerous iterations, many of which were popularized by ‘Jell-O’ itself. The best part about the original formula was that it created harmony between industrialized shortcuts and the real thing. Jell-O eventually launched an entire ‘N0-Bake’ dessert line in 1966.

The simplicity of the recipe makes it endlessly adaptable. Of course, you can use different flavored pudding mixes or add spices or extracts to the filling for extra flavor and variation such as cinnamon, cardamom, lemon zest or almond extract. In addition you can serve the cheesecake with fruit or glaze as I’ve done here .

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No Bake Mango Cheesecake
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Glaze
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Crust
Glaze
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine crust ingredients, mixing well. Divide between mini cheesecake pan cups & press down firmly. Bake 5-7 minutes; allow to cool completely.
Cheesecake
  1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese 1/2 cup milk until smooth. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk, cardamom & instant pudding mix; beat until smooth. Divide between mini cheesecake pan cups, filling almost to the tops. Allow to chill for at least 2-3 hours.
Glaze
  1. Place all glaze ingredients in saucepan & heat. As it comes to a boil, lower the heat & simmer 3-4 minutes. Turn off the heat & allow the glaze to cool slightly. Divide glaze between mini cheesecakes & allow it to set for 3-4 hours. Ensure that the cheesecake is properly set before topping with the glaze.
Recipe Notes
  • For a bit of a different look, I filled my cheesecake cups right to the top. Then I poured my mango glaze into a cake pop pan to set a bit. When the glaze was firm enough I topped each cheesecake with one forming a dome instead of a flat layer. 

Rhubarb/Rose Turkish Delight & Rhubarb Cream Cheese Truffles

Anyone following my blog is well aware of my love for rhubarb. I think I’ve tried to use it in every capacity possible. Well, get ready for my next adventure — rhubarb Turkish delight! I refrain from eating a lot of chocolate bars, not that I don’t enjoy them, but seriously –. In Canada, the Nestle company sells a chocolate bar called ‘Big Turk’ for which Turkish delight forms the basic foundation. Of course, I love it!

Just a bit of food history background on the subject first. The Turkish name for the sweet comes from the Arabic rahat-ul hulkum which means ‘soothe or heal the throat’. This was abbreviated to rahat lokum and then lokum. The name ‘Turkish Delight’ was coined in the 18th century to make it easier to pronounce. As an improvement on the original recipe of honey or molasses, a mixture of water, flour, cornstarch and refined beet sugar were used to make a firm, chewy jelly.

Little has changed in the last 240 years. Although there are more than 24 different flavors, the biggest seller that still remains is a plain jelly studded with pistachios. Traditional Middle Eastern flavors include rose-pistachio, orange-blossom walnut, mint and rose-lemon.

Back to the rhubarb. Somewhere in my travels, I came across a recipe for rhubarb truffles that peeked my interest. After more research, I decided why not go right out on a limb and test my skills at making some rhubarb/rose Turkish delight. Actually, the end result was not bad. I have acquired a taste for the use of floral water in baking, Brion, not so much. It has to be used very sparingly or it becomes overpowering. I made three versions: Turkish delight plain or covered in white chocolate and a rhubarb truffle. A bit time consuming but a very unique flavor.


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Rhubarb/Rose Turkish Delights & Chocolates


Instructions
Rhubarb/Rose Turkish Delight
  1. In a saucepan, put 1 1/4 cups water with sugar, rhubarb & lemon juice. Cook over low heat , stirring until sugar has dissolved, then increase the heat a little; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat; leave the rhubarb to infuse for 10 minutes, then pass through a sieve, reserving the juice & pulp separately (the pulp can be used in the truffles that follow).

  2. Line a baking dish with cling film (the size will depend on how thick you want your candy) & set aside. In a small dish, blend cornstarch with remaining 1/4 cup water until smooth. In a saucepan, add rhubarb juice, gelatin powder, dissolved cornstarch & heat gently, stirring until gelatin has dissolved, then bring to a rolling boil.

  3. Keep mixture at a steady rolling boil, stirring constantly, for about 12-14 minutes or until syrup reaches a soft ball stage. Cool slightly & then pour mixture into lined baking dish. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 12 hours or until the mixture is set; do not refrigerate.

  4. Once the jelly is set, cut into pieces. Combine 1 Tbsp cornstarch with 2 Tbsp powdered sugar in a bowl, then roll the jellies in this mixture to coat them. Keep jellies in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 3 days; do not refrigerate. If you want to dip some of your jellies as I did, I found using a mini ice cube tray as a mold was helpful. I just set the piece of jelly in each cup & poured the white chocolate over & around it. Can be frozen until needed.

Rhubarb Cream Cheese Truffles
  1. In a double boiler over medium heat, melt 55 grams of white chocolate chunks. Transfer to a bowl; add remaining ingredients EXCEPT milk chocolate & beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Cover & chill until solid enough to roll or scoop into balls.

  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Melt milk chocolate. drop balls of rhubarb/cream cheese mixture, one at a time, into milk chocolate to coat. Carefully remove onto parchment paper & allow to harden. Can be frozen as well until needed.


Recipe Notes
  • I also tried freezing the plain jellies without putting cornstarch/sugar mixture on them and it worked fine. They were actually nice tasting right out of the freezer.

Sweet Delights

Christmas without making a few candy treats just wouldn’t seem right. Even if its not at the top of your baking list, they are just so handy to have on hand to add to those holiday gift trays. 

There was only one very special candy  treat my mother made at Christmas that I remember. A small group of ‘neighbor’ ladies in our farming community had formed the ‘Willonor Club’. It wasn’t just to gather for coffee and chit chat. They were all very hands on women that enjoyed ‘networking’ about a variety of subjects. Each meeting would be hosted by one the members in her home. They would always have a specific focus to learn or do something new. One of the ladies had learned how to make dipped chocolates with her church group. She, in turn taught the Willonor Club members. Now these were not just your average chocolates. They looked every bit as professional as the ‘Pot of Gold’  brand but tasted so much better. None of this sugary sweetness — just a creamy, not overly sweet center, covered in a milk chocolate. Yum!! I came across the recipe in her little file box, written in her lovely handwriting and there I was, reliving the ‘taste of a memory’ by just reading it.

I decided to limit this candy blog to three, tried and true favorites. They are  KAHLUA BALLS * PUMPKIN CREAM CHEESE TRUFFLES * APRICOT DATE BALLS.  Easy to make, taste great and freeze well — perfect!

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Sweet Delights
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Rating: 5
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Votes: 1
Rating: 5
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Kahlua Balls
  1. In a large bowl, combine cookie crumbs, walnuts & powdered sugar. Add Kahlua & corn syrup; mix well. Shape into 48 balls & roll in desired toppings such as cocoa powder, fine colored sugar, sprinkles, finely crushed walnuts or oreo crumbs. Chill overnight then either freeze or store in refrigerator in an airtight container.
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles
  1. In a double boiler over medium-low heat, melt the 55 grams of white chocolate. Transfer to a bowl. Add remaining ingredients & beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Cover & chill until solid enough to roll into balls. Once mixture can be formed, roll into 16 balls.
  2. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Chop almonds in almond bark then carefully melt in double boiler. Transfer to a small, deep bowl. Drop a few balls at a time into melted chocolate. Working quickly, spoon chocolate over truffle to coat. Using a small spoon or fork, lift truffle out of chocolate & shake off excess, transfer to prepared sheet. Chill truffles until chocolate is completely set. Place in an airtight container & either freeze or store in refrigerator.
Apricot - Date Balls
  1. In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup sugar, apricots, dates & eggs. Cook over low heat for 6-8 minutes or until mixture pulls away from the sides of saucepan, stirring constantly. Remove from heat & stir in walnuts & vanilla. Allow to cool until mixture can be handled. Line an airtight container with wax paper. Shape apricot/date mixture into 30 balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Place in container & either freeze or store in refrigerator.
Recipe Notes
  • If preferred, use all gingersnap crumbs instead of graham crumbs in the original recipe for Pumpkin Cream Cheese Truffles.