For me to not feel hard done by, Christmas really must include mince pies. So, I would always have a tin of traditional ones along for the ride. However, the need is very nicely met in this combination of two of my favourites — Christmas mince pies and creamy delicious cheesecake. These freeze beautifully so can be prepared ahead of the season.
Makes: 12 mini cheesecakes | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cooking Time: 12–15 minutes | Chilling Time: 2 hours
1 cup biscuit crumbs (I use Digestive biscuits)
½ teaspoon mixed spice
75g butter, melted
250g traditional cream cheese (not lite or spreadable)
½ teaspoon vanilla
½ cup caster sugar
½ cup prepared Christmas fruit mince whipped cream or thickened cream to serve
extra ¼ cup fruit mince to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Spray a 12-hole mini-cheesecake pan (see Cook’s Tip) with non-stick baking spray. Just spray in the holes of the pan and the bases, not all over the surface of the pan.
Mix the biscuit crumbs, mixed spice and melted butter together. This can be done in a food processor (including crushing the biscuits into crumbs). Divide the mixture amongst the 12 little cups, pressing down firmly. A little round spice jar seems the perfect implement to press in the mixture.
Beat the cream cheese, vanilla, egg and caster sugar together until well mixed. Spoon a teaspoon of mixture into each cup then top with a generous teaspoon of fruit mince. Cover the mince with the remaining cream cheese mixture.
Bake for 12–15 minutes. The cheesecakes will puff up and the tops be golden brown and firm when pressed gently. Remove from the oven and cool. The cheesecakes will sink but don’t worry about this.
The whole tray needs to be chilled for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
To serve, carefully press the bases and push up the cheesecakes. I usually run the tip of a small sharp knife around the edge to help ease them out. Use the knife to remove the bottom metal base and place on a serving plate. The cheesecakes can be removed to a plastic-covered container and frozen at this stage. I would take them frozen to a picnic and they will be thawed by the time you need to eat them.
Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream and a spoonful of fruit mince.
Mini-cheesecake pans with push-up bases are available in good cookware stores — the compliments the dessert will get you soon outweigh the purchase price of the pan. This piece of kitchen equipment makes cheesecakes and small individual desserts an absolute breeze. I have also used a silicon mini-muffin tray with good success as an alternative.