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Brûléed Mini Cheesecakes

Servings: Makes 12 mini cheesecakes
These mini cheesecakes make a sweet and creamy dessert for Valentine's Day. Using a kitchen torch to carmelize the sugar topping gives them a nice crispy taste.

Make them in a heart shaped mini cheesecake pan (made by Chicago Metallic) or a regular mini cheesecake pan (made by NorPro). Either type of pan make 12 mini cheesecakes which is just right for this recipe. Regular or heart shaped mini cheesecake pans can be found at cooking stores and also online at various cooking and bakeware stores such as chefscatalog.com or zaccardis.com.

Kitchen Torch:
Traditionally used to caramelize sugar on crème brûlée, a kitchen torch is also handy for creating a crispy caramelized topping on individual cheesecakes.

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp. plus 1/3 cup granulated sugar
12 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
2 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 tsp. superfine sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F/160 degrees C. Lightly butter the wells of a mini cheesecake pan (regular or heart shaped).

In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and the 2 tbsp. granulated sugar and stir until blended. Divide the mixture among the prepared wells. Using the bottom of a shot glass or other small glass, press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the wells. Bake the crusts for 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool.

Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F/135 degrees C.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the flat beater, combine the cream cheese and the 1/3 cup granulated sugar and beat on low speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl often. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Add the cream and beat until blended. Pour the filling into the crusts, dividing it evenly among the wells.

Bake until the filling is set, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the pan to the wire rack and let cool to room temperature. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or up to 2 days before serving.

Just before serving, sprinkle about 1/2 tsp. of the superfine sugar evenly over each cheesecake. Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the cheesecakes from the pan and serve immediately.

Makes 12 mini cheesecakes.

Photograph taken by Diana Baker Woodall© 2007

Source: Williams-Sonoma Kitchen
Date: January 20, 2007