If you are anything like my family, we are crazy for cheesecake. I guess it all began with my mom, who started baking cheesecakes for the family parties many years ago. Traditionally, she made a classic cheesecake with a sour cream topping and then branched into other flavors like chocolate, pumpkin, berry and lemon. I love the rich creamy decadent feeling of the first bite of cheesecake, it’s always the best. So, I thought why not create smaller cheesecakes — a three-biter — reminiscent of the first few lovely forkfuls? This way you get the luscious flavor, without committing to a whole slice.
Petite Meyer Lemon Cheesecakes are baked in a muffin pan or removable bottom mini cup pan — both work great. The hint of tang from the Meyer lemon reminds me of Spring and after a chilly winter, these are the perfect sunny bite of the season.
12 graham cracker squares or 6 rectangular crackers
4 tablespoon butter, melted
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 Meyer lemon
1/2 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
(Makes 12 Petite Cheesecakes)
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spray a muffin pan or removable bottom mini cup pan with cooking spray or brush with oil. Set aside. In a food processor, add the graham crackers and melted butter. Puree until soft crumbs, about 1 minute.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of crumbs to each cup and press down with your finger. Bake in the oven 8 minutes, remove and let cool while you make the cheesecake batter.
3. Zest the lemon and slice in half. Rinse out food processor and add cream cheese, eggs, sugar, juice of half of the lemon, 1/2 the zest and flour, puree until smooth. Pour mixture into a measuring cup.
4. Pour the cheesecake batter over the mini crusts, until it reaches 2/3 full. Place on a sheet pan and bake for 18-20, or until set. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature, about 40 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours.
5. Loosen the cheesecakes around the perimeter with a table knife. Mix the other half of zest with 1 teaspoon of sugar and sprinkle over the tops of cheesecakes. Enjoy!