Thursday, August 30, 2007

Another Dessert.

Someone needs to stop me. I'm so bored waiting for the results of the bar so I can actually be a lawyer, I have been filling my hours trying to perfect my baking skills. The muffins were super great and the cookies were darn good as well, so my confidence this afternoon was pretty high. I'm not the best baker- I much prefer cooking- but today I decided to revisit my arch nemesis, cheesecake.

I saw Giada make these on her show Everyday Italian the other day and decided to try them. The initial plan was to include these with the muffins, but that's not going to happen. The recipe was ok I guess, but I cannot successfully make a cheesecake. There is something or someone in the universe that has decided I will not make a cheesecake that is not cracked, sunken in the middle, or otherwise ugly looking, underdone, or overdone.

This recipe appealed to me because they were bite sized and I could use my newish mini muffin pan. Yesssss. I also figured they would be less likely to fall in the middle if they were smaller. Turned out I was wrong, but you can't blame me for hoping. The water bath was a little bit of a disaster (some of the cheesecakes went for a pre and post baking swim), but the process seemed to go alright. After I pulled them out, a few of them fell, gosh darn it, but the rest looked alright.

Then I tried to pop the darn things out of the pan. They did not want to come out without a fight. The recipe only has you butter the sides, not the bottom, of the cups and as one might expect, the bottoms didn't want to come out. They were not the prettiest dessert, but the taste was good. I may just try the recipe as a whole cheesecake. That is, if I ever decide to make a cheesecake again.

Individual Orange and Chocolate Cheesecakes

1/3 c finely crushed chocolate wafers
2 T butter, melted
1/4 c ricotta cheese
2 oz cream cheese
1/4 c sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 orange, zested
1 egg
Butter, for greasing

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine the crushed chocolate wafers and the melted butter. Place a tightly packed teaspoon of the wafer mixture into each mini-muffin cup and press down firmly.

In a food processor combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 1/4 cup of the sugar, half of the orange zest, and the egg. Blend until smooth. Lightly grease the sides of the mini muffin tin with butter. Fill the cups with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the cheesecake mixture. Place the mini muffin tin in a baking dish and pour enough hot water in the baking dish to come halfway up the sides of the mini muffin tin. Bake for 25 minutes. Transfer the mini muffin tin to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Refrigerate for 15 minutes. Use a small knife to gently pop the cheesecakes out of the cups.

Just before serving, combine the remaining orange zest with the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Top each individual cheesecake with about 1/4 teaspoon of the orange zest mixture and serve.

Makes 12 mini cheesecakes.

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