Monday, October 5, 2015

Mini Frozen Blueberry Cheesecakes

Truth be told, I'm actually a little embarrassed as to how long it has taken me to write up this post. I think I first made these cheesecakes at the beginning of the summer...maybe June or July. I don't quite remember since it has been so long. The cheesecakes met all the requirements for a post: I had good pictures, good reviews, and a good recipe. I just couldn't find the time or energy to actually sit down and write it all out. But now, finally, many months later I can share it on my blog.

Part of the reason why I think these cheesecakes were so successful was because of their semi-frozen nature. We experienced a very beautiful, although hot, summer in Vancouver this year. When it's close to 30 degrees Celsius outside, the last thing anyone wants to be doing is turning on the oven. That's why I looked to more no-bake type desserts to fulfill the need for sweetness on a warm summer day. I adapted a pre-existing no-bake cheesecake recipe I already had and incorporated fresh blueberries, my favorite summertime fruit. Because of their mini size, the cheesecakes were able to freeze quickly and also thawed at a slow enough rate that they remained semi-frozen if eaten about ten minutes after serving.

Mini Frozen Blueberry Cheesecakes 
Note: I used my mini cheesecake pan and was able to make 18-21 cheesecakes (different sized blueberries resulted in varying amounts of batter). A cupcake pan with liners would also work.

For the crust:
  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1½ tbsp sugar
  • ¼ cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted
Combine all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Add one tablespoon into each well of a lined cupcake tray. Press down gently. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for seven minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

For the cheesecakes:
  • 1 block (8 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1½-2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and dried
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
  • 1 cup powdered sugar (split into ¼ and ¾)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp unflavored gelatin
  • 4 tsp cold water
  1. Beat the cream cheese on medium-high speed for a few minutes, until whipped and smooth.
  2. Turn down the speed to low and beat in the ¾ cup powdered sugar. Increase the speed and continue mixing for a few minutes until well mixed. Set aside.
  3. In a small pan, combine the gelatin and cold water and let it stand for a minute until thick.
  4. Place the pan over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves. 
  5. Remove from the heat and set aside so that it cools to room temperature, but do not let it set.
  6. Meanwhile, start whipping the cream on low speed. Once bubbles start to form, add the ¼ cup remaining powdered sugar and vanilla and increase the speed slightly.
  7. Slowly pour in the gelatin while continuing to whip the cream. If the gelatin has set, place it briefly over the heat to loosen it again, however make sure it is not hot when adding it to the cream as it will set upon contact with the cold cream and create chunks.
  8. Once all the gelatin has been added, increase the speed to high and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
  9. Using a spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture. Make sure it is all incorporated but try not to overmix so that it keeps its airiness. 
  10. Gently fold in the blueberries, trying not to squeeze them so that they don't leak.
  11. Divide the batter amongst the wells of the pan, filling them completely to the top. Use a spoon or spatula to even out the tops, making them smooth.
  12. Put the pan in the freezer for two hours. Touch the tops of the cakes to make sure they are solid before removing from the pan and transferring back to the freezer in a container. 
Note: I recommend removing them from the freezer about 10-15 minutes before wanting to serve them so that they have time to thaw a little but still remain semi-frozen.

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