12.08.2011

holiday baking: cheesecake petit-fours.

Let the holiday baking begin! Remember how I was knocked up last year 'round this time? I barely got any baking in, and did I miss it. This year: game on.
This recipe is my all-time favorite dessert. I learned at a very young age that I'm a cheesecake person because of these little bites of delight. They are pretty, festive, delicious and easy (and easily doubled) - and are even better after having sat in the frig for a few days. I love to pop them in my mouth with a little chill on them, and it's nearly impossible to stop at just one.

We enjoyed these cheesecake petit-fours, wrapped in gold on Thanksgiving, and at Christmastime, I use silver.

My mom's Cheesecake Petit-Fours
Makes about 22 petit-fours

1 8-oz. 'brick' of cream cheese, at room temperature
1 egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
6 double squares of graham crackers, roughly broken up
1 can cherry pie filling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, and line mini muffin tins (mine are 1-3/4") with liners. I find foil works really well with the buttery (read: can be greasy) crust.

Place graham cracker pieces in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until they break down into fine crumbs. Melt butter in a medium-sized, microwave safe bowl and add the crumbs to the melted butter. Mix until well combined. Using a 1/2 teaspoon, spoon the mixture into the lined muffin tins and use your fingers to press lightly to mold them into the bottom and sides of the tins to form a crust.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the cream cheese with the sugar until silky smooth (get rid of all the lumps!). Add vanilla, and then the egg. Scrap down the sides of the bowl as you mix.

Using a teaspoon, spoon the cream cheese mixture into the muffin tins to about 2/3 full. Bake for 10-12 minutes and cool in tins for 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before refrigerating at least 2 hours. (Note: when you pull the petit-fours out of the oven, they'll look underdone, but they'll firm up as you let them cool. Promise.)

I like these best chilled, so once they are completely cooled, I throw them in the frig, but you can certainly serve at room temp, if you prefer. They refrigerate beautifully and last for a few good days.

Prior to serving, top each treat with a cherry (note: if you're transporting the dessert, easiest to do cherry topping at your destination).

1 comment:

Karen said...

I remember eating those at a party for graduation for you or Jeff from high school. Yummy. I love the taste and simplicity. Thanks for reminding me of these.
Karen