I’ve said it so many times, I’m surprised y’all can’t read my mind at this point: Winter is the best reason to live in South Florida. Putting the exclamation point on that, is Strawberry Season. For the next couple of months, we will be awash in the sweetest, juiciest strawberries ever. And the prices are starting to come down as the crops increase. Just in time for Valentines Day. They even look like little hearts, don’t they?
Tonight I’m teaching a strawberry jam class at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. I’m not just teaching these fine folks how to make a basic strawberry jam – oh, no! I’m showing them different things you can do with it, too. Now, for those of you not inclined to make your own, of course, you can buy it. In which case I would highly recommend one of Freakin’ Flamingo‘s excellent strawberry varieties, such as Strawberry Daiquiri or even Strawberry Joe. Oh, what? I shouldn’t get a plug in here? Please.
Anyway, one of the items on the menu tonight is Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes. How many different ways can I
adulterate adapt Abby Dodge’s delightful base recipe from Desserts 4 Today? Well, so far, I’ve done it 3 or 4 times. And I’ll do it again! Abby doesn’t seem to mind. 😉
Mini Strawberry Cheesecakes
(makes 6 mini cheesecakes) (Recipe adapted from Desserts 4 Today by Abigail Johnson Dodge)
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 Tbs. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
4 Tbs. strawberry jam
Preheat oven to 300º F.
In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric hand-mixer until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until incorporated. Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl between each step.
Add the vanilla and the egg, beat thoroughly. Add the strawberry jam and mix completely.
Take a regular-sized muffin tin and place foil liners into 6 of the cups, then spray lightly with no-stick cooking spray. Alternatively, you can use reusable silicone cupcake liners without the cooking spray. Fill each cup about 2/3 full.
Bake for 15-18 minutes. The centers should barely jiggle when you nudge the pan. Set the muffin tin on a rack to cool completely, and refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours.
Unmold onto serving dishes and garnish with a fresh strawberry and/or additional jam and/or whipped cream, as desired.
These uncomplicated little cheesecakes are light and creamy, and portioned to be the perfect ending to that special, romantic Valentines Day dinner. Or anytime you want a sweet bite at the end of a meal.