Mini Mascarpone Cheesecakes with Strawberry Balsamic Topping

Mini Mascarpone Cheesecakes with Strawberry Balsamic topping guten-free - BoulderLocavore.com

I have always loved cheesecake but feel a bit sheepish to admit I’ve never made a sweet one until now.  A favorite Boulder Locavore reader recipe, especially for fall and winter entertaining, is Savory Blue Cheesecake {appetizer}.  You’d think a sweet confection of the cheesecake variety might have preceded that but I suppose ‘better late than never’ applies here.  Or perhaps’ good things are worth the wait’!

My inspiration for making the cheesecake really belongs to friend and blogging colleague Roxana, of Roxana’s Home Baking.  Regular readers might recall her invitation to participate in a chocolate surprise endeavor that for me yielded Frozen Chocolate Fluffernutter {Peanut Butter-Marshmallow} Pie.  Roxana is famous for her cheesecake and she’s prolific, creating every size and flavor of cheesecake imaginable.   For this cheesecake extravaganza she lassoed almost 60 of us to participate and you can enjoy the other recipes through their links below!

Strawberries in a basket - BoulderLocavore.com

I have a bit of a thing for desserts in jars and small desserts.  Partially because at this time of the summer a mere bite of dessert can seem too much with the heat, as well as I think they are cute.  If a dessert is small you can always eat more than one but often a few delicious bites is all someone wants.

Mini Mascarpone Cheesecakes with Strawberry Balsamic topping  - BoulderLocavore.com The first idea that popped to mind stemmed from a very unusual dessert my husband made for my birthday celebration years ago.  Macerated strawberries mixed with balsamic vinegar and black pepper atop mascarpone cheese.  I’m imagining some wrinkled noses and secret thoughts wondering if he really likes me very much from the sound of that dessert.  It was fantastic and something I’ve clearly never forgotten.  It bore a wonderful combination of sweet fruit offset by a tang, and spiced by the pepper, complimented by the sweet, creamy marscapone cheese.  The flavors blend well allowing each ingredient to play its part without stealing the show.

I was so glad my fixation held as it made a perfect topping for the mini Mascarpone Cheesecakes, made in 4 ounce jelly jars.  I simply love the flavor combination in this dessert; it is a surprise to the palate and one I think you’ll agree is deliciously unforgettable.  Another fun thing about the jelly jars is they become portable with a lid.  The cheesecakes may be made the day prior and topped with the strawberry mixture just before serving.  I’ll confess we enjoyed this equally for breakfast as for dessert!  I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.

Mini Mascarpone Cheesecakes in jars- BoulderLocavore.com

Mini Mascarpone Cheesecakes with Strawberry Balsamic Topping

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 12 4-ounce Mini Cheesecakes

These miniature Mascarpone Cheesecakes are a perfect size for mixing desserts or when a little is just right. Of course more than one can be eaten! When topped with the Strawberry Balsamic mixture, they become a surprising delight no one will be able to resist.

The volume of the 12 jelly jar cheesecakes is equivalent of half a regular cheesecake for your planning. The recipe can easily be doubled if desired, keeping all ingredient proportions the same. Cheesecake may be made the day before serving and kept in the refrigerator once cooled, covered.

Ingredients

    Ingredients for Mini Cheesecakes:
  • 1 cup Graham Cracker crumbs, gluten-free or regular (I used Kinnikinnck S’moreables, ground in a blender to make crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon plus ¼ cup and 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 8-ounce package of Mascarpone Cheese, room temperature
  • 1 8-ounce package Cream Cheese, room temperature
  • 2 Eggs, room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Zest of ½ Lemon
  • Supplies: 12 4-ounce jelly jars
  • Ingredients for Strawberry Balsamic Topping:
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 cups smaller-sized Strawberries, hulled and quartered lengthwise
  • Generous pinch each Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
  • Optional garnish: mini spearmint leaves

Instructions

    Instructions for Mini Mascarpone Cheesecakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray jelly jars inside with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, add the graham cracker crumbs, 1 tablespoon of the sugar and the melted butter; stir to fully combine.
  3. Spoon crust mixture evenly into the twelve prepared jars (approximately 1 tablespoon per jar). Tamp crust down with the back of a dining spoon or a wine cork (something with a flat bottom) to evenly distribute crust on the bottom of the jars.
  4. In the bowl of a freestanding mixer, beat together the cream cheese, mascarpone cheese and remaining sugar (1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time; blend until incorportated. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract; blend until fully combined.
  5. Add the cheese mixture evenly to the jelly jars, filling to just below the lowest outer glass ring (approximately ¾ inches from the top of the jar; refer to photos).
  6. Place jars in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Fill the pan with hot water until the water level reaches hallway up the outside of the jelly jars.
  7. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove mini cheesecakes from the pan and allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack.
  8. Instructions for making Strawberry Balsamic Topping:
  9. Fifteen minutes prior to serving cheesecakes, combine sugar, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and dissolve sugar.
  10. Add strawberries and using a mixing spoon, combine the strawberries with the liquid so the berries are fully coated. Allow to sit at room temperature, stirring occasionally, After 15 minutes spoon evenly on the top of the cheesecakes.

Notes

Cheesecake recipe adapted from The Italian Dish

http://boulderlocavore.com/2014/07/mini-mascarpone-cheesecakes-with-strawberry-balsamic-topping.html

Mini Mascarpone Cheesecakes with Strawberry Balsamic topping  - BoulderLocavore.com

Hungry for more?  This delectable list should provide cheesecake inspiration for a very long time!

Baked Cheesecakes:

No Bake Cheesecakes:

Cheesecake Beverages:

Cheesecake Cookies and Bars:

Cheesecake Desserts and Treats:

Frozen Cheesecakes and Treats:

Comments

  1. says

    Oh, these look heavenly, Toni! If I knew these were in your kitchen, I would have jumped in the car and made that drive north to visit you :)

    • says

      I would have LOVED to see you while you were here Lizzy! Sadly I spent 4 full days at an Aquatics Center for the end of summer swim team. It did not seem a fun invitation for a friend visiting the area! We could have had coffee at the concessions stand!

    • says

      I agree Christie. Also it’s really the first bite that is the best. Having 4-6 more bites is about right and you leave happy rather than overstuffed!

  2. says

    I love strawberry and balsamic but have never tried with black pepper. Of course you got me all curious and can not wait to try it!
    Your single serve cheesecake turned out so pretty! Love that you baked them in mini jelly jars. Such a cute idea!
    Thanks for making your first sweet cheesecake to celebrate cheesecake day with us, Toni!

    • says

      Oh Cate I’m so glad I’m not the only person who has never made cheesecake! After making it I’m not sure why I waited so long but admittedly do love this mini size; it’s just right!

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