Makes 12 small cheesecakes
Preparation Time: 30 minutes (+ refrigeration and cooling time).
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
80g unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
¾ cup (110g) plain flour
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
1/3 cup (50g) pecan nuts, roasted, coarsely chopped
¼ cup (80g) apricot jam, warmed
Vanilla bean filling
1 vanilla bean
250g cream cheese, softened
500g ricotta cheese
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
12 chocolate covered nut or other chocolates
- Prepare a 12 hole muffin pan (1/3 cup/80ml capacity) with paper cases.
- Combine butter, vanilla, flour, spices, sugar and pecans in a medium bowl. Using a teaspoon, divide mixture evenly amongst the paper cases. Use the back of the spoon to press the mixture over the base. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
- Preheat oven to moderate, 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Bake bases for about 8-10 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven, and then reduce oven temperature to slow (150°C /160°C fan-forced). Using a pastry brush spread each base with jam.
- For the vanilla bean filling: Split vanilla bean in half lengthways and scrape out seeds. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, vanilla seeds, half the sugar and juice in a small bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, add ricotta, and beat until just combined; do not over-beat. Transfer to a large bowl. Combine remaining sugar and eggs in a small bowl, beat with an electric mixer for about 5 minutes on high speed or until thick and creamy. Fold egg mixture into cheese mixture. Pour over the prepared bases. Bake in a slow oven for 15-20 minutes, or until just firm to touch. Cool cheesecakes in oven with door ajar for 30 minutes, and then refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.
Lyndey’s Note: A deliciously fun and easy way to serve these little cheesecakes is to top each with a chocolate covered hazelnut or other favourite chocolate. Place it in the centre and dust with sifted icing sugar. Other nuts can be used in place of pecans.