Monthly Archives: February 2017

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

One of our Federal holidays here in the USA is Presidents’ Day.  It is a celebration of two of our great presidents, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Washington’s birthday was originally celebrated on February 22nd but was changed to the third Monday in February to include Lincoln.  This also allowed a three day weekend for Federal workers.  Presidents’ Day is also a time to remember all of our former presidents.

As a child, I always loved to read about George Washington and how he chopped down his father’s cherry tree.

Although he did not chop down that cherry tree, Washington was indeed fond of cherries.  The story about chopping down the cherry tree and not telling a lie about it was from one of his biographers, Parson Mason Weems (1759–1825). Mr. Weems  made up the story hoping to demonstrate Washington’s honesty.

If you want to learn more about George Washington, visit mtvernon.org.  This site is a great source about George Washington, Martha and the estate itself.  It also provides a look at the unfortunate slave population that was at Mount Vernon.  There are a few recipes such as the one for hoecakes.  Hoecakes were a favorite breakfast food of Washington.  He liked them covered with butter and honey.

I have been fortunate to visit most of our national parks.  One that really stands out in my memory is the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. It has the faces of four Presidents carved in the granite of Mount Rushmore. They are Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.  If you get a chance, be sure to visit this wonderful park.

Each of the four presidents were chosen because they represent some of the most important events in the history of the USA.  Washington’s face is the most prominent and represents the birth of the United States.  I visited long before the digital age of photography so here is a picture of Mount Rushmore courtesy of  NPS.gov.

Mount Rushmore

These Mini Cherry Cheesecakes are very easy to make and take very little time to prepare.  They are tasty and look pretty with the cherry topping.  Also, they are a perfect serving size for rich cheesecake.  If you want to celebrate Washington’s birthday with a dessert made with cherries, try this one.

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: easy
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12 vanilla wafers

2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream, room temperature
½ cup sugar
2 egges, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract

cherry pie filling

Preheat the over to 325 degrees.

Line muffin tin with foil liners. Place one vanilla wafer in each liner.  Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until creamy and smooth, about 1-2 minutes.

Add in the sour cream, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix until well combined, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle.

Spoon the cream cheese mixture over the vanilla wafers to 3/4 full.  Bake 18-20 minutes at 325 degrees.

Remove from the pan when cool. Chill. Top with about a tablespoon of the cherry pie filling on each cheesecake.

Mini Cherry Cheesecakes

Mini Cherry Cheesecake

Notes:
1.  It will only take about a cup of cherry pie filling for the mini cheesecakes so plan a use for the excess pie filling  (if purchasing the 21 ounce size).
2.  The mini cheesecakes are made in a regular sized muffin tin.
3.  Recipe adapted from Kraft Recipes Cupid’s Cherry Cheesecakes and can be found here.

 

Coeur a la Creme

Valentine’s Day is next week and I am already looking forward to one of the heart shaped boxes of candy that is often received on Valentine’s Day.  Mine from last year.

Valentine's Day Candy

We can thank Richard Cadbury for these ubiquitous boxes of candy that appear on store shelves in early January.  Mr. Cadbury was part of a chocolate manufacturing family in the UK.  It is believed that he produced the first such box in 1868. These were pretty boxes and once empty could be used to store various trinkets from locks of hair to love letters.  history.com

Below is a photo of one of the Victorian heart shaped boxes by Richard Cadbury . Photo credit candyfavorities.com.

Victorian Heart Shaped Candy Box

While the Coeur a la Creme is not chocolate, I guarantee it will satisfy any sweet craving you may have.  It is a delicious and beautiful dessert made with cream cheese and whipped cream.  It is then served with a raspberry sauce.  For a French dessert, it is remarkably easy to make.

The name translates to “heart of the cream“.  It is traditionally served in a heart shape and usually prepared in a porcelain Coeur a la Creme mold.  I think I purchased my 7-inch mold from Amazon for about $13.00.  I recently bought a set of four  4-inch molds.  If you do not have the mold, simply line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth and set over a bowl so it can drain.

I find that this recipe makes more cheese mixture than will fit into the 7-inch mold.  I have used the fine mesh sieve to mold the excess cream mixture but for this post I used my recently purchased smaller molds for the excess.  The last picture of the Creme is one prepared in the smaller mold.

The recipe is adapted from Ina Garten’s cookbook, Barefoot in Paris: Easy French Food You Can Make at Home. It is one of my favorite cookbooks. One can sense her love of Paris and all things French. The book also has a lot of beautiful photographs and is a pleasure to read.

I have made this elegant dessert several times.  It is really easy to make and requires no baking.  With its heart shape and red raspberry sauce, I think It is a perfect dessert to serve for Valentine’s Day.

Coeur a la Creme

  • Servings: 6-8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Coeur a la Creme

12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted
2 1/2 cups cold heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Raspberry Sauce

1 -10-ounce bag frozen raspberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 cup seedless raspberry jam
1 tablespoon Raspberry di Amore liqueur

For the Coeur a la Creme

Prepare a 7 inch Coeur a la Creme mold by lining it with a few sheets of cheesecloth so the ends drape over the sides. Place in a pan large enough to hold it.  Make sure that there is space between the bottom of the mold and the bottom of the pan for the liquid to drain. Set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.  On slow speed, add in the sifted powdered sugar until combined.  Then beat on hight speed for 2 minutes.  Scrape down the bowl and beater.  Change the beater for the whisk attachment.  With the mixer on low speed, add the heavy cream, vanilla, and vanilla bean seeds.  Beat on high speed until the mixture is very thick and has a consistency like whipped cream.

Pour the cream mixture into the prepared mold and fold the ends of the cheesecloth over the top. Refrigerate overnight to allow the mixture to drain.

For the Raspberry Sauce

Place raspberries, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 4 minutes. Pour the cooked raspberries, the jam, and liqueur into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process until smooth.  Strain the sauce through a fine mesh sieve, so that there won’t be any of the raspberry seeds in the sauce. Chill until ready to serve with the cream.

To Serve the Coeur a la Creme

Discard the liquid in the bottom of the pan.
Unfold the cheesecloth on top of the mold.
Place a serving plate on top of the mold and invert the mold.
Carefully remove the remaining cheesecloth.
Drizzle Raspberry Sauce around the base.
Serve with extra sauce.    

Notes:
1.  Original recipe calls for 1 half pint of fresh raspberries for the sauce.
2. Garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired.
3.  If you would like to omit the liqueur, replace with water or raspberry extract.
4.  I don’t care for raspberry seeds so I strain the raspberry sauce at least 3 times.

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