Indulging in a decadent treat doesn’t have to be a gluttonous affair. Making smaller portioned desserts can be filling enough and lends opportunity for both an elegant and/or fun presentation. A mini cheesecake pan added to my kitchen’s repetoire over four years ago, finally saw some action!
The mini cheesecakes’ base uses a graham cracker crust with a creamy filling. A drizzle, piped or brush of bittersweet chocolate ganache paired with a tangy, yet eye-catching adornment of sugared kumquat slices pulls these cakelets together.
Although the active time when making these little cuties is minimal, make these a day ahead to give the dessert time to properly set, easily unmold them from the pan, and allow the flavors to develop.
I really love mini desserts, especially when the treat is not only filling but decadent as well. It’s the idea of portion-controlled, miniature sized treats that allow you to enjoy a taste of dessert without “making it a meal.” This is something my Dad lovingly reminded me and my sisters when we were kids when it came to after dinner treats…
“It’s only a taste. Don’t make it a meal.“
This week all the kumquats from my one little Nagami tree were harvested. I’m going to experiment freezing a portion of them for use during the hotter months when kumquats won’t be as plentiful or available. With some of the fruit, I’ve whipped up some sugared kumquats to incorporate it and its syrup in another dish. So the reason for these mini cheesecakes was for me to showcase and utilize these mini citrus gems.
A mini cheesecake pan was used. The great thing about making them smallish and using the special little pan was no water bath for the cakelets and there’s a removable bottom so unmolding the little desserts was so clean and easy (see notes about unmolding). Like previous posts featuring kumquats, the pairing of the fruit with a chocolate element is deliciously complimentary…it’s that tangy/tartness contrasted with the sweetness of choco-goodness.
I love how these turned out. Texture, flavors, petite size, and inspired options for presentation and plating!
- NOTE: Recipe’s yield and timings are based using the Chicago Metallic Mini Cheesecake Pan. Make the necessary adjustments depending on your molds/baking pan.
- For best results in texture, unmolding the desserts, and flavor development, make at least one day in advance.
- Graham Cracker Crust Yield: You will have at least 1 tablespoon leftover of the graham cracker crust mixture. Divide the rest evenly among the mini cheesecake wells OR use as part of the assembly garnish.
- Chocolate Ganache Yield: You will have plenty of chocolate ganache leftover depending on how much you use to drizzle, paint or pour over the dessert. If you feel your use will be minimal, cut the recipe in half.
- Suguared Kumquat Yield: You will have more than enough sugared kumquat in its syrup. If you are not planning to utilize the sugared kumquats for other uses, make half the recipe. I use the extra to drizzle over ice cream and use for other touches of sweetness.
- The cream cheese filling part won’t rise much when baking. Fill the mini cake wells in your pan to a hairline from the top.
- Watch baking time. You don’t want to overbake and thus drying them out. If they start cracking on the top, you’ve overbaked them. They’re still edible, they just won’t be as creamy in texture. Cover those cracks with ganache!
- It is easier to unmold the cheesecakes after they have been in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to overnight.
- Would like to try adding some mint extract to the chocolate ganache.
Makes 7 individual/mini cheesecakes
Equipment: Mini Cheesecake Pan, pastry brush (optional)
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
6 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
zest from 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons light sour cream
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray the pan of mini molds with nonstick spray.
Make the Crust
Combine graham cracker crumbs with the sugar. Add the melted butter and mix until the butter is evenly incorporated. Measure 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon for each mini mold well. Use a tamper to pack and even out the crumbs on the bottom (optional: form a well in the middle of the crumbs so that the crumbs come up the sides about 1/4 way.)
Make the Filling
Using an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese, sugar and flour at low speed until smooth. Scrape the mixing bowl a couple of times to make sure ingredients have combined.
Add and mix in the lemon zest, vanilla and pinch of salt.
Add the egg and mix until incorporated. Stir in the sour cream.
Divide the filling among the mini molds, filling to the top (the filling will not rise much).
Bake for about 14-15 minutes – ROTATING the pan half-way through baking time. The edges will appear more firm while the middle may appear in movement like firm jello.
Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for about 45 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while still in the pan for a couple of hours or overnight.
Make the Chocolate Ganache, Assemble & Plate
Pour cream in a small saucepan and warm just until before it starts to boil. Remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate is melted and fully incorporated with the cream. Let the ganache cool slightly before using it to drizzle, spread or brush on the desserts.
After the cheesecakes have been in the refrigerator for at least several hours to overnight, carefully unmold each cakelet. Drizzle, pipe or use a pastry brush to add chocolate ganache. Garnish each mini cheesecake with 2-3 slices of the sugared kumquats.
Store covered (to prevent the cheesecake from drying out) in the refrigerator.
Makes about 8 ounces
30-35 fresh kumquats, sliced in half or thirds – crosswise
1/2 cup sugar
Gently fold sugar with kumquats in a small saucepan and let stand at least 10 minutes.
Stir slowly over low heat until sugar dissolves. Transfer to a smaller bowl and cover to chill 2 hours, or preferably overnight before using.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Previous Posts Featuring Kumquats
- Kumquat-Chocolate-Chunk & Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
- Kumquat & Chocolate Chunk Muffins with Cardamom, Coconut & Honeyed Oats
- Dark Chocolate Mousse with Sugared Kumquats in Syrup
- Kumquats – Symbols of good luck and prosperity – feature & food photography