Gordon has been cooking and experimenting with food since childhood. He loves coming up with new and tasty culinary creations.
Mini Christmas Cheesecakes
Blueberry cheesecake is a popular and incredibly tasty dessert in its traditional and most basic form. This recipe, however, takes blueberry cheesecake to whole new levels of scrumptiousness.
What's special about this recipe is that it incorporates Christmas pudding—a rich, substantial, and often boozy pudding widely enjoyed in the UK each year on or around Christmas Day.
If you have leftover Christmas pudding, this cheesecake recipe is a fantastic way to use it up. Or, if you prefer, you can pick up a Christmas pudding specifically with this recipe in mind.
Note that because of the alcohol content, many Christmas puddings have a long shelf life and do keep for a longer period of time than you may expect. This means they can often be picked up really inexpensively in the months of January and February, in particular, when supermarkets are looking to clear their shelves to make way for new seasonal produce.
Prep time: 3 hours 45 min (includes chilling times)
Cook time: 5 min
Ready in: 3 hours 50 min
Yields: 4 mini cheesecakes
How to Make the Mini Cheesecakes
The nature of this recipe makes it incredibly difficult to give precise quantities for the ingredients. Factors like the size of your ramekins are of course a huge variable. You can buy ramekins exactly like the ones used in this recipe online or simply adapt the ingredient quantities to suit whatever size you have available. What you may wish to do is make sure you have just a little bit extra of everything on hand just in case.
- 8 digestive biscuits (UK) / 12 graham crackers (US), aim for around 4 tablespoons of crumbs when the biscuits/crackers are crushed
- 2 ounces / ½ stick unsalted butter
- 2 heaped tablespoons Christmas pudding
- 2 teaspoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons soft cream cheese
- Small tub fresh blueberries
- Double/heavy cream and grated chocolate to serve (optional)
Step 1: Prepare the Biscuit Base
- The biscuits first have to be broken up into crumbs. You can of course do this any way you choose but the way I do it is simply to roll them with a rolling pin, one or two at a time, on a large chopping board.
- Melt the butter very gently in a large saucepan.
Note that you may be wondering how to get the assembled and set cheesecakes out of the ramekins. The answer is very simple. All I do is begin by lining each ramekin with a torn-off piece of clingfilm/plastic wrap. Make sure you have plenty of wrap overhanging the ramekins as this will be necessary to pull the cheesecakes free.
Add the crumbs to the melted butter and stir with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be of a consistency where no liquid butter remains but the crumbs are evenly moist.
Divide the mixture between the four ramekins and press down fairly firmly with the back of a teaspoon. The ramekins should be roughly one-third full when the mixture is compressed. Put the ramekins into your fridge for at least an hour until the base is cool and firm.
Step 2: Add the Christmas Pudding Layer
- The alcohol in this Christmas pudding was a mixture of apple cider and brandy. Spoon the Christmas pudding and the water into a microwaveable bowl and heat for about a minute on high. Take from the microwave, stir and leave for a couple of minutes or so to cool slightly.
- Remove the ramekins from the fridge, spoon in the Christmas pudding and compress as before, though not quite as firmly this time. The ramekins should now be about two-thirds full. Return to the fridge for a further hour.
Step 3: Top With Cream Cheese
- Use a teaspoon to fill the ramekins with cream cheese. Smooth level with a knife.
- Refrigerate again for a further hour. (Note that if you don't chill the cheesecakes again at this stage, you are more likely to spoil the shape of the cream topping when you reach the stage of removing them from the ramekins.)
Step 4: Decorate With Blueberries
- One at a time, carefully gather the edges of the clingfilm around the ramekins and gently but firmly pull the cheesecakes free. The clingfilm should then easily peel away. If you have caused the cream to bulge slightly at the edges by removing the clingfilm, simply smooth it with a wide-bladed knife dipped in boiling water.
- Sit the cheesecakes on a large plate, cover and leave them for 30 minutes or so to come up to something approaching room temperature. If you fail to do this, it will be difficult to break the biscuit base with a spoon.
- Wash the blueberries thoroughly in cold water and shake dry in a colander. Do take a few minutes to evenly arrange them on top of the cream cheese to fully cover the cheesecakes in order to achieve the best presentation.
Various Serving Options
This is merely one serving suggestion for your blueberry and Christmas pudding cheesecakes. Pour some cream into a deep plate to a depth of no more than half an inch. Grate over some chocolate and carefully sit a cheesecake in the centre.
Alternatively, sit the cheesecakes in the cream before grating on the chocolate that tops the cheesecakes as well as the cream.
© 2014 Gordon N Hamilton