I originally found this recipe on Pinterest and pinned it because it just looked gorgeous, and who couldn’t love cheesecake! All I knew, is that I wanted to make this at some point. Last Christmas, I finally made an excuse to make it for friends and family and they were a MAJOR HIT! Everyone that loves cheesecake will adore and crave these miniature cakes.
This year, I decided to make them again for a Christmas dinner, but couldn’t find raspberries at the grocery store. I ended up picking up blackberries instead, and it ended up being an excellent substitute! So really, you can make these with any of your favorite berries, but here’s what I suggest when deciding on a fruit to choose:
- Raspberries – Tart with a mild sweetness
- Blackberries – Mild sweetness
- Strawberries – Very sweet
The following is for a batch of 18 individual cheesecakes.
- 3/4 cup graham crackers, crumbled (about 4 graham cracker strips)
- 2 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 Tablespoon sugar
- 3 oz. fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, or strawberries)
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
STEP 0: Preheat oven 325˚ F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners.
STEP 1: If you’re like me and decide to make this last minute, you don’t have enough time to get the eggs or the cream cheese to room temperature. To bring them to room temperature: put a small amount of hot water in a large bowl. In a slightly smaller bowl, add cubed pieces of cream cheese. Do the same with the eggs.
STEP 2: To crumble the graham cracker, add 4 graham cracker pieces to a ziplock bag. Place inside another ziplock bag, cover with a towel, and pound with a meat tenderizer (or your fist… or a hammer, whichever you have accessible). Continue to check until the crackers are evenly crumbled.
STEP 3: In a small bowl, melt butter. Add graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Stir together with a fork until well blended and all the dry ingredients are moistened.
STEP 4: Press 1 Tablespoon of the mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner. (The base of the souvenir glass from Old Spaghetti Factory works perfectly). Bake 5 minutes to set. Transfer to a cooling rack.
STEP 5: To make berry puree, combine the berries and sugar in a blender or food processor (I used the small container that comes with the NINJA). Process until smooth.
STEP 6: Pour blended berries through a fine mesh sieve to remove seeds. To speed up the process, I move the seeds back and forth with a spoon so the liquid can escape through the fine mesh.
STEP 7: Check to make sure the cream cheese and eggs are about room temperature. When I made these, they were a little cooler than room temperature, but worked just as well. Add the cream cheese to a large bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until fluffy.
STEP 8: Blend in sugar until smooth. Mix in salt and vanilla.
STEP 9: Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
STEP 10: To assemble, spoon 2 heaping Tablespoons of cheesecake batter over the crust in each cupcake liner.
STEP 11: Dot a 1/2 teaspoon of the berry puree in a few dots over the cheesecake filling.
STEP 12: User a toothpick to lightly swirl and create a marbled effect. You can even make designs in each, like a heart for your loved one 🙂
STEP 13: Bake until filling is set, about 20 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through baking. Transfer to a wire cooling rack and let cool to room temperature. Batter will rise, but quickly return to normal while cooling.
STEP 14: Once at room temperature, transfer to the refrigerator to let chill at least 4 hours before serving.
Everyone seems to love these, even if they aren’t cheesecake fans. They are perfectly sweet without being too much. Make sure you make at least two for everyone you wish to serve 🙂
This was the first time trying this recipe with blackberries and I actually really love it! It’s not as tart and gives a beautiful rich purple marbled color. Raspberries or strawberries look more festive for the holidays, but I figured I would give it a shot this year for something a little different.