Mini Strawberry-Swirl Cheesecakes
- Strawberry Compote:
- 3 baskets fresh strawberries, 1 pint each, hulled and cut into thick slices
- 3/4 C. granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 cinnamon sticks
- Spago Cheesecake Filling:
- 1 1/2 lb. cream cheese, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 C. granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 C. sour cream
- 1 Tbs. dark rum
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 eggs
- Sliced fresh strawberries or whole blueberries, for garnish
Position the rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. With nonstick cooking spray, coat each of a dozen 1-C. ramekins. Set aside.
First, make the Strawberry Compote: In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the berries, sugar and cinnamon sticks. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture thickens slightly and just coats the back of a spoon, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the Spago Cheesecake Filling: Put the cream cheese, sugar and salt in the large bowl of an electric mixer or in a large mixing bowl. Using the paddle or beaters of a handheld electric mixer, beat at medium speed until smooth, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides and the beaters with a rubber spatula. Raise the speed to high and continue to beat until the mixture is creamy. Add the sour cream, rum, lemon juice and vanilla, and continue beating at medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs and beat just until combined.
Bring a kettle of water to a boil.
Meanwhile, spoon about 1 Tbs. of the cooled Strawberry Compote into the bottom of each ramekin. Reserve the rest covered in the refrigerator. Fill each ramekin with the Spago Cheesecake Filling.
Arrange the ramekins in a large baking pan with sides. Open the oven, carefully slide out the shelf and place the baking pan on the shelf. Pour boiling water into the pan halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Carefully slide in the shelf, close the oven door and bake until the cheesecakes begin to pull away from the sides of the ramekins and are almost firm to the touch, 35 to 40 minutes.
Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven. Carefully lift out the ramekins and place on a wire rack and let cool. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.
When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around the inside edge of each ramekin and invert the cheesecake onto a serving plate. The compote will run down the sides of each cake. If they stick, dip the bottoms of the ramekins in hot water for 30 seconds to loosen the cheesecakes and try again.
Garnish with slices of fresh strawberries or a few blueberries. Serve immediately, accompanied by extra Strawberry Compote.
© 2007 WOLFGANG PUCK WORLDWIDE, INC. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.