When I think of classic holiday desserts, cheesecake always comes to mind. I always enjoy these mini treats, as they are just the right size. The lemon keeps the cheesecake light, while the raspberry balances out the sweetness. A delicious twist to a holiday staple that is sure to please everyone.
48 shells of pre-made graham crumb tart shells or other pre-made pastry shells
3 egg whites, beaten with fork
For the filling:
4 8-oz pkgs cream cheese, room temp
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tbs lemon zest*, plus more for serving
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
For the coulis:
3 cups frozen raspberries
1 cup deep red wine, such as Merlot or Malbec
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs warm water
1 tsp corn starch
*Feel free to add more zest if you prefer a stronger lemon flavour.
Special equipment: pastry brush
Preheat oven to 350F.
Using a pastry brush, brush the graham crumb shells with egg white wash. Place tart shells on baking trays. Bake in oven for 5-7 mins, or until golden brown. If you cannot fit all of the shells in the oven at one time, bake them in batches. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon peel in a large bowl using an electric mixer until fluffy and smooth (no lumps!). Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the sour cream, heavy cream, lemon juice and vanilla. Beat until just blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend in after each addition. Ensure entire mixture is smooth.
Pour filling into cooled tart crusts until just over 3/4 full. Bake cheesecakes until top is set, puffed and slightly golden at edges – about 25-30 mins. The cheesecakes will jiggle if shaken. Set aside to cool.
Place raspberries, wine and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Let simmer until berries are melted and sauce has slightly thickened, about 15 mins. In a small bowl or ramekin, combine warm water and corn starch. Stir to melt corn starch. Add corn starch mixture to raspberries sauce. Heat through for another 3-4 mins. Remove from heat and let cool.
Top cheesecakes with raspberry coulis and cool in fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.
Makes 42 tarts