Recipe: Petite Cheesecakes

Recipe by Elizebett Rocha Bento Eslinger

Mini Cheesecake with Lemon Curd and Chocolate Shavings

In the Azores Islands, where my family is from, there are many versions of “queijadas” which literally translate to mean “cheesecakes.” However, queijadas are different from a New York-style cheesecake, and they don’t always include cheese. This recipe is more like an American-style cheesecake and draws inspiration from a King Arthur Baking Company recipe. However, I’ve also replaced the cream cheese in this recipe with freshly-made, soft cow cheese--like they do on the Islands--and it’s delicious! There are a lot of ways you can personalize and make this cheesecake recipe to your preference. See the optional toppings at the end of the recipe. This recipe makes 12 small cheesecakes in a muffin tin. 

Cheesecake Crust

  • 120 g (~1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 35 g (~⅓ cup) almond flour
  • 30 g (~2 tbsp) brown sugar (dark brown sugar preferred)
  • ⅛ tsp table salt
  • 85 g (~6 tbsp) chilled unsalted butter, cubed

 Cheesecake Batter

  • 16 oz (~ 2 cups) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 100 g (~½ cup) granulated sugar
  • 30 g (~2 tbsp) sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch of salt

Directions - Making the Cheesecake Crust

  1. In your oven, move your baking rack to the middle and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place 12 baking cups in one standard-size muffin pan (note: if you’re planning to unmold the cheesecakes before serving them, you can spray the cups with baking spray to help with a cleaner release).
  2. Whisk together all-purpose flour, almond flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Use a pastry cutter (or you can use your fingertips) to break down the butter pieces until the mixture looks like sand. To test if it’s mixed enough: when you grab a clump of the mixture with your hand, it should stay intact.
  4. Divide the mixture between the 12 baking cups in the pan (it should be about 2 tbsp for each cup). Use your fingers or the bottom of a spoon to press the mixture firmly into the bottom of each cup.
  5. Bake for 7-9 minutes until the crust is just set and the edges are only just starting to turn golden. Allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  6. Reduce the oven to 325 degrees F.

Directions - Making the Cheesecake Batter

  1. In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese and sugar until no lumps remain. Add the sour cream, egg, vanilla, and salt. Beat well.
  2. Spoon the batter on top of the crusts, filling to the top of the paper baking cup (about 3 tbsp). 
  3. Bake the cheesecakes in the 325 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until just set (about 150 degrees F internal temperature and a slight wobble in the middle). Watch the cheesecakes carefully because they can go from undercooked to overbaked fairly quickly!
  4. Allow to cool on a cooling rack for at least 30 minutes. The centers may sink slightly. Allow to cool and set in the refrigerator for at least another hour before serving.

Optional - Toppings

  • Fresh berries or fruit (glazed or dusted with powdered sugar)
  • Good quality jam
  • Melted chocolate
  • Whipped cream
  • Caramel drizzle and toasted nuts
  • Lemon or other citrus curd

Mini Cheesecakes

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