Friday, October 25, 2013

20--- Mini Maple Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust and Caramelized Pecans {Gluten-Free Option}

Tis the time of year when I start to test out Thanksgiving dessert recipes.

Odd that desserts are my contribution to the meal?

I don't think so.

Stick with me and I will deliver a true 20 experience; traditional flavors without playing it "safe" with pumpkin pie.  Consider it a Thanksgiving adventure.  This one's a GO!

Mini Maple Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust and Caramelized Pecans
Serves 10

4- 8oz packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups pure maple syrup
4 eggs

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar

2 cups gingersnap crumbs (from homemade or store-bought gingersnap cookies- use gluten-free if desired)
4 Tbsp butter, melted

For crust: Pulse gingersnap cookies in a food processor until crumbs are formed.  In a medium bowl, mix crumbs with melted butter until moistened.  

Spray 10 ramekins lightly with baking spray, then add ~1 1/2 Tbsp crumbs to the bottom of each ramekin.  Use the back of a spoon (or your clean fingers) to press crumbs to form a bottom crust.

For pecans: Heat butter on the stovetop in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add pecans and brown sugar and cook until sugar begins to melt, shaking the pan occasionally.  Reduce heat to medium-low and stir until sugar caramelizes and thickens to a syrup-like consistency.  Remove from heat.  Spoon pecans onto parchment paper, spread evenly and allow to cool completely.  Break apart if needed once cooled.

For cheesecake: Use a mixer to whip cream cheese until smooth.  Continue to mix as sour cream is added.  Mix well.  Add in one egg at a time, then add maple syrup.  Continue to mix until very smooth.

For assembly: Preheat oven to 350 degreees.  Sprinkle ~1 1/2 Tbsp caramelized pecans onto the crust in each ramekin (save some pecans for garnish if desired).  Top with ~1 cup of the cheesecake mixture.

Place ramekins in a baking dish (or two) and fill the dish with water until it comes up halfway on the sides of the ramekins.  Place the dishes into the oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center of each cheesecake is set.  Remove from the oven, allow to cool, then place ramekins into the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour prior to serving (can be made the day before- BONUS for holiday meal prep!).

Top with a sprinkle of caramelized pecans and a drizzle of maple syrup if desired!

1 comment:

  1. This recipe is quite healthy because of the inclusion of pecans. they are good source of omega 3 fatty acids.