What could be better than cherry cheesecake? Perhaps mini-cherry cheesecakes, everything is always cuter in cupcake form. My grandmother went to her high school reunion on Saturday and requested that I make some type of little dessert for her to take for everyone.
The recipe I used is a condensed form of my usual go to cheesecake recipe from Barefoot Contessa. After trying to look up other "mini-cheesecake" recipes I just decided to modify slightly what was already good. A few years ago I probably would have just skipped the lemon zest in the recipe but I'm sort of obsessed with lemon zest in recipes and it make the cheesecake taste much fresher and not so heavy.
Makes 18 cheesecakes
1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers (about 10 crackers)
3/4 stick of butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
Two 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 cup of sugar
zest from one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can of cherry pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place paper liners in cupcake tins.
Add the melted butter to the graham crackers and sugar and mix together. Spoon about 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each cupcake liner. Using your fingers, press the crust down until it's fully covering the bottom and is flat. Place in oven for 3 minutes then sit on a rack to cool.
For the cheesecake, mix together cream cheese and sugar. Add the eggs and mix until it is well blended together. Add lemon zest and vanilla and stir just until it is combined. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full and bake for 20 minutes or until edges are golden.
After you take them out of the oven the middle will sink a little bit and makes a perfect little cup for the filling. These would be great with blueberry pie filling as well. I wanted to make some with raspberries, strawberries, and chocolate but time got away from me. Before delivering them to my grandmother I did test out one and although it was still a little warm it was very good. I hope that they turned out well once they sat in the fridge for a while.