Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
These little cheesecakes pull off a neat magic trick: They come together in an effortless few minutes while looking and tasting like a much-labored-over dessert. Their dainty size adds to the dazzle — you don’t expect maximum flavor and texture from something so petite.
The recipe starts with a classic graham cracker crust, then we layer on a classic batter that bakes up smooth and even in well under an hour without a water bath. Water baths are prized for keeping cheesecakes from curdling in the oven, but they’re also notorious for getting water everywhere and generally being a pain. We solve the problem with a simple piece of tin foil; spread it over the cake as it bakes and it comes out velvety and perfect, no splashing water required. The strawberry topping is crisp, juicy and just tart enough to balance the sweet, tangy cake,
These Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes make an elegant dessert for a spring picnic, or a sweet family treat wherever you eat it. And they have one final magic trick up their sleeve: After cutting out the mini cheesecakes with a cookie cutter, you can enjoy the leftover pieces as a snack or whirl them in the blender with ice cream, milk and leftover strawberries to make the world’s most enviable milkshake.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
For the crust:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Kosher salt, to taste
For the cheesecake:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, room temperature
For the topping:
½ pound strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- Heat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9×9 baking pan with butter, line the pan with parchment paper, leaving 1 to 2 inches hanging over two of the sides, and grease the parchment.
- To make the crust: In a medium bowl, fold together the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, melted butter, vanilla and a pinch of salt. Transfer the mixture to the parchment-lined baking pan and, using the back of a spoon, press it into an even layer across the bottom of the pan.
- Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.
- To make the filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and a pinch of salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Reduce the speed to low and mix in the eggs, one at a time, until incorporated.
- Transfer the filling to the baking pan and spread it evenly over the crust. Cover with foil and cut a 3-inch line through the foil to create a vent, making sure the foil does not touch the filling.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the edges are set and the cheesecake jiggles slightly in the center. Cool completely on a wire rack, about 1 hour.
- To make the topping: In a medium bowl, toss the strawberries with the sugar until well coated. Cover and let sit at room temperature to macerate for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When the cheesecake has cooled, carefully remove it from the pan and transfer it to a cutting board.
- Lightly spray a 2 to 3-inch round cookie cutter with cooking spray. Cut 9 rounds out of the cheesecake to create individual portions.
- Top each cheesecake with 2 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture and serve immediately. The cheesecake and topping can be stored separately in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.