Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Baby Cheesecakes with Fresh Figs

Baby Cheesecakes with Fresh Figs
Serves 4
What better pair than fresh figs and cheese after dinner? I can’t think of anything, so I bought a pound of Mission figs at my local market with the intent of bruleeing  them over individual cheesecakes. I baked the cheesecakes in adorable little green ramekins. Dessert perfection. They were rich, creamy, and delicious. However, the normally wonderful caramelization of the sugar in a brulee preparation didn’t complement the figs as well as I had hoped. So serve with the fruit sliced raw, or another fruit or just enjoy these precocious little cakes naked.
1 8-ounce package cream cheese (not light)
½ cup granulated white cane sugar
2 eggs
1 cup of sour cream (not light)
Zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup of graham crackers, pulsed to a fine crumb
¼ cup butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and set a kettle of water on the stove to boil.
Pulse the graham crackers and melted butter in a food processor until it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Spoon this mixture into each of the ramekins and press down lightly. Don’t pack it too tightly or you’ll end up with a rock solid crust after baking. Not delicious.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl whip the cream cheese with a hand mixer until it’s smooth and creamy. Blend in the sugar thoroughly then add the eggs, one at a time, blending after each addition. Mix in the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest. Divide the mixture evenly between each of the ramekins.
Pour the boiling water from your kettle into a 9x13” glass pan until it’s about 1-2” deep. You want it to be about three quarters of the depth of the ramekins but not so high they’re in danger of drowning. Settle each of the ramekins into the water bath and put the whole pan into the oven. Bake for about 25 minutes until the sides are set but the centers still look wobbly. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the stovetop for about half an hour, then remove each of the ramekins, cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill completely. If you wish to speed up this process, and I can’t blame you, pour out the hot water bath after the pan has cooled on the stovetop, and create an ice water bath, cover and refrigerate.

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