Thursday, October 13, 2011

Strawberry and White Chocolate Mini Cheesecakes

I adapted this recipe from Bon Appétit to make it lactose-free. I also couldn’t find gingersnaps anywhere and I wasn’t in the mood to make my own, so I used Graham crackers instead (though next time, I’ll throw some ground ginger in there for good measure). I love that Graham crackers now come in boxes of sealed packets (3 to 6 per box), and you can make most recipes with 1 or 2 packets only. The rest of the crackers stay freshly sealed in the box until you’re ready to use them (and if, like me, you’ve ever eaten stale Graham crackers in a pie crust, you’ll appreciate this feature). I used about 4 oz of crackers instead of 3.5 oz, which gave me enough crumbs to make an extra crust. Since my gelatin was also in little packets, I used the equivalent of 1 Tbsp diluted in ½ cup of water, and I used the whole 4-oz package of white chocolate instead of 3.5 oz; this gave me extra filling to put in the extra crust, so it all worked out. I got 9 mini-cakes, and I absolutely loved them! They were really awesome. Keep in mind that even though these are lactose-free, they’re not dairy-free. You also need to make them about a day ahead, as they rest in the fridge for a long time.

3 ½ oz gingersnap cookies (about 13; or use Graham crackers)
2 ½ Tbsp unsalted butter or margarine, melted
4 oz high-quality white chocolate (such as Lindt or Perugina), chopped
½ tsp unflavored gelatin
1 8-oz package Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
½ cup plain whole-milk lactose-free yogurt (I used Greek)
¾ tsp rose water (or vanilla extract if you must)
¼ cup sugar
8 oz fresh strawberries, hulled, halved or quartered if large, divided
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

Brush 8 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups lightly with vegetable oil. (I had more crumbs, so I brushed 9 cups.) Line each cup with plastic wrap. Finely grind cookies in processor. Add melted butter; process to blend. Press crust mixture firmly onto bottom of prepared muffin cups, dividing equally (about generous 1 Tbsp for each).

Stir white chocolate in medium metal bowl set over saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth. Reserve saucepan, adjusting water level to reach depth of ¾ inch to 1 inch; set aside.

Place 2 Tbsp water in small bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over; let stand until softened, about 5 minutes. Bring water in saucepan to simmer. Place small bowl with gelatin in saucepan and stir until gelatin dissolves. Remove small bowl with melted gelatin from water. (If you are using a packet of 1 Tbsp gelatine, you can follow the instructions on the packet, which should call for a total of ½ cup water; you’ll have more filling, and it’ll be a bit blander. You can also reduce the amount of water called for.)

Purée cream cheese, yogurt, rose water, and sugar in processor until smooth. Add melted white chocolate and gelatin; process until smooth. Divide mixture among prepared cups, pouring atop crusts. Cover and chill overnight.

Place half of strawberries in processor. Add powdered sugar and process until smooth. Transfer to small bowl.

Using plastic wrap as aid, lift cheesecakes from cups. Remove plastic wrap and transfer cheesecakes to plates, crust side down. Arrange remaining cut strawberries atop cheesecakes. Spoon strawberry purée over and serve.

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