It’s my sister-in-law’s birthday today and I wanted to try to bake a sweet treat for her to enjoy and share with her friends.  I took FOREVER deciding what to make.  That’s probably the hardest part!  I was busy perusing through cookbooks and websites and then considering the familiar, tried-and-true recipes and then going back to the new recipes which flaunt pretty pictures.  These pictures are misleading because you always assume your end result will match! Well, this time I went for the pretty picture.  I’m so superficial.

 

Rose Elliot is a vegetarian/vegan cook from the UK and she has published several cookbooks.  If you haven’t picked up a copy of any cookbooks by Rose Elliot, you are missing out!  She does wonderful work and her dishes are very creative.  On many vegetarian recipes, she also offers a vegan alternative.  Her books make a wonderful gift! 

 

 

 
In her cookbook, Vegetarian Supercook, she shares a recipe for Little Lemon cheesecakes with Blueberries.   With the onset of a Texas summer, and an outdoor celebration this afternoon, I couldn’t resist making these for my sister-in-law.

 
Our friend, Janice, who is an incredible baker, says she always makes a recipe “as is” first and then makes changes the next time.  That’s the right thing to do and I believe that is the oath that a lot of cooks and bloggers take.  And you can always count on me to do the exact opposite.  And that’s not because I’m rebellious.  That would be a more glamorous reason.  I’m just not good at following directions and have a short attention span.  This problem dates back to pre-school at Busy Bee Academy when my teacher Ms. Holly asked, “What crayon color are you using?” and I responded “Are we coloring right now?”  True story.

 
Mini Lemon Cheesecakes with Honey-Rosemary Crust
(adapted from Rose Elliot’s “Little Lemon Cheesecakes with Blueberries” – my notes in italics)
Preparation 25 minutes; Serves 6 (or 12 small portions)
Ingredients:
  • 6 oz ginger cookies (I used 6 1-oz bags of Annie’s homegrown honey “Teddy Grahams” – from costco)
  • 1/2 cup less 2 Tablespoons butter, melted  (Does that mean 3/4 stick of butter (6 Tablespoons)? That’s what I used)
  • 2.5 Tablespoons minced Rosemary (lemon and rosemary go together!)
  • 1.5 cups blueberries (a generous handful or two will do)
  • confectioners sugar for dusting
  • 1-2/3 cup low fat soft cream cheese (I used this, but had a lot of extra left – one (1) 8-oz pkg would be enough)
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar (I used 5 Tablespoons, and maybe more if you have a sweet tooth)
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream (I added this, but in retrospect, don’t think it’s necessary.  If you leave this out, then I imagine you need the full amount of cream cheese)
  • 4 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
 
Directions:
1. Put the cookies into a polythene bag, close the top, then crush with a rolling pin.  Tip the crushed cookies into a bowl, add the minced rosemary, add the melted butter, and mix to combine.  Divide mixture between 6 x 3-1/2 to 4-inch flan rings with a removeable base, pressing it onto the base in an even layer (don’t attempt to go up the sides).  Place in the freezer or refrigerator while you prepare the topping.  (I tried the ziploc bag, but decided the food processor was faster since I had one.  Didn’t have flan rings or mini springform pans, so I used 12 cupcake liners and cupcake pans.  I used a small spice jar to press the mixture into each cupcake liner)

 

 

 

2. If there is any liquid on top of the cream cheese, pour it down the sink, then put the cheese into a bowl and add the lemon zest and sugar.  Stir to make a creamy mixture, then add the heavy cream and whisk until thick.  Add the lemon juice and stir with a spoon – the acid in the juice will make the mixture even thicker. 

 

3.  Spoon the cream cheese mixture into the flan rings. Take the mixture to the edges, but don’t try to smooth the surface.  Refrigerate until required.  (This is the point when I realized that this is a no-bake recipe. The filling was not as thick as I like, which is why I believe the cream is not necessary?)

 

4.  To finish, lift the little cheesecakes out of the dishes – they will come out easily – and gently slide them onto individual plates, removing the bases of the dishes as you do so.  Decorate the tops with blueberries, dust with confectioner’s sugar, and serve as soon as possible.  (I had to transport my cheesecakes to the birthday venue, so I needed to create “compartments” to keep the cheesecakes from colliding in transit.  Thanks to my husband’s advanced craft skills from Highlights magazine, we were able to deliver 9 mini cheesecakes, as opposed to a giant mess-in-a-box)

 
Happy Birthday, sister-in-law!