With Texas flirting with triple-digit temperatures, Bob and I are focused on keeping our cool. We're wearing shorts, eating salads and craving goodies that offer a little chill.
That's why I wanted to try these no-baking-required cheesecakes from the Muffin Tin Chef (Ulysses Press, March 2012, $15.95). Besides being a cool choice, author Matt Kadey's take on one of our go-to desserts is downright delicious. These creamy, lemon-inspired cheesecakes rest on a bed of graham cracker and walnut crumbs. You refrigerate them overnight instead of baking. Then serve with a dollup of fresh raspberry sauce. Yum!
What could be better? Making this concoction in muffin cups means portion control's no problem (unless you're like us and can't stop at one!). Plus, the crust, filling and sauce are homemade using only four to six ingredients each.
Start by setting out the cream cheese so it can come to room temperature and placing paper liners in 12 muffin tins. Use a food processor to grind the graham crackers and walnuts. Mix them with maple syrup (I needed about a teaspoon more than called for) and ginger (optional but I had it on-hand).
Moving on, put all five filling ingredients in a large bowl and stir with a fork. (Trust me, it works like a charm.)
Once combined, put about one and one-half tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture in each muffin paper, smooth the tops with a butter knife (nice tip courtesy of the Muffin Pan Chef), cover the pan and put it in the frige overnight.
Go ahead and make the raspberry sauce so it has a chance to cool.
Stir the raspberries, 1/4 cup water, sugar and the juice from half a lemon together in a medium-size saucepan, simmering over medium-low heat. Meanwhile, mix the cornstarch and 2 to 3 (in my case) teaspoons water. After about 10 minutes on the stove, the raspberries should be "broken down" and ready for you to blend in the cornstarch-and-water thickener. Cook another minute; then cool the sauce and refrigerate.
The next day, carefully remove the paper liners and WOW! You're rewarded with 12 petite prizes so pretty you'll want to throw a party. How's that for cool?
For the Cheesecakes:
Line 12 medium muffin cups with paper liners. In a large bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, walnuts, maple syrup and ginger, if using, until everything is moist. Add a small amount of additional maple syrup, if needed. In a second large bowl, use a fork to stir together the cream cheese, ricotta cheese, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Divide the crumb mixture among the prepared muffin cups and press down flat. Divide the cheese mixture among the muffin cups and use a butter knife to smooth the tops. Place the muffin tin in the refrigerator to chill overnight.
For the Raspberry Sauce:
Combine the raspberries, water, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Simmer until the raspberries have broken down, about 10 minutes. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Add to the sauce and heat for 1 minute. Let cool before serving over the cheesecakes.
Author: Matt Kadey
Publisher: Ulysses Press
Penned: March 2012
Other Works: Matt Kadey is a registered dietitian, freelance nutrition writer, recipe developer and travel photographer. His articles have appeared in Men's Health, Women's Health, Shape, Prevention and more.
Time Out: 160 pages
Available: $15.95 at Amazon and most book retailers
* Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
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