Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 19th wedding anniversary. I can honestly say it's been a blast. 19 years of laughter and love and hopefully many more to come.
We decided to keep our special day fairly low-key and enjoy it with our children. The weather was spectacular with lots of sunshine and temperatures in the high 70's. Perfect!
We started our day with a lovely brunch of salmon and different cheeses along with artisan bread, fruit and of course mimosas (for the adults). We spent the afternoon just hanging out on the back porch, reading and sharing a good bottle of wine. Our dinner was just as lovely and truly a combined effort. My husband grilled some nice looking T-bone steaks and fresh asparagus, while I made roasted herbed fingerling potatoes and my Favorite "Fancy" Salad. I knew I wanted something special for dessert and knowing how much my husband loves anything with fruit that's not too sweet, I thought a cheesecake would fit the bill.
I found this great recipe on foodnetwork.com for a white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. I did make a few changes to the written recipe and it turned out great. Instead of making one big cheesecake I thought it would be fun to make mini cheesecakes. There is something that appeals to me every time when presented with a "personal" dessert. The crust is simply composed of graham crackers and slivered almonds, ground up in a food-processor until well combined and mixed with butter. That's it, no extra sugar required, which I really liked considering the filling is quite rich. The cheesecake part is pretty much your average recipe, but is in enhanced with melted white chocolate which takes away a little more of the tartness of the cream cheese and leaves you with an incredible smooth mouth-feel with every bite. It also helps adjust the sweetness level since the filling only calls for a little more than 1/2 cup of sugar. To make my cheesecakes even more special, I decided to add dollops of seedless raspberry jam to each of my Mini Springfrom Pans and gently swirl it into the filling with a toothpick. The mini version of this dessert bakes up in just 25 minutes. You will however have to cool the cheesecakes in the refrigerator over night which really helps "set" the finished dessert.
We ate these fantastic cheesecakes with fresh raspberries on the side and they were indeed a fitting ending to a wonderful Anniversary! I think these cheesecakes would be wonderful for any occasion. I could definitely see them being served for baby showers, birthdays, a special dinner, or simply as the perfect dessert for the perfect husband!
Mini White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecakes
(adapted from "Foodnetwork")
For the crust:
1 cup slivered almonds
2 cups (7 ounces) graham crackers
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
7 ounces fine-quality white chocolate
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam, slightly warm and whisked to remove any lumps
Fresh raspberries for decoration (optional)
For the crust: Finely grind almonds and graham crackers in a food processor and add butter, blending until combined. Press over bottom and 2/3 up the sides of 6 mini springform pans*. Set aside.
For the filling: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth, and remove from heat.
Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer at medium speed until fluffy, then beat in sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well at low speed and scraping down the bowl after each addition.
Beat in flour and vanilla until just combined, then add melted chocolate in a slow stream, beating until filling is well combined.
Pour filling over crust. Add a couple of teaspoons of raspberry jam to each pan and gently swirl with a toothpick to get a marble effect being careful not to overmix.
Set mini-pans on a baking sheet and place in the middle of oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until cake is set, but center is still wobbly when pans are shaken gently shaken.
Remove from oven, run a thin knife around edge of cake to loosen, then cool completely in pans on a rack. (Cake will continue to set as it cools). Serve chilled with additional raspberries if desired.
*Alternately you can just make this in a 10-inch springform pan.
Yield: 6 Mini Cheesecakes