Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Heaven In A Ramekin

These should be illegal. But they aren't, so make some. (Sorry for the bad photo)

I made mine in little glass ramekins, but you could easily do these in lined muffin tins as well, or you could double or triple the recipe for a full cake.

The Crust:

I was making six individual cheesecakes, so, to make the crust, I threw four graham crackers into my food processor, along with about 2 tablespoons of butter (at room temp) and a handful of chocolate chips. I whirled it all around until it looked like delicious, delicious sand. I didn't need the crust to be uniform in the ramekins, so I just spooned some in and packed it down with my (clean) fingers.

The Cheesecake:

- 2 (8 oz) packages of cream cheese at room temperature
- 3/4 C white sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice
- splash of vanilla extract
- 1/8 C sour cream

I make this in the food processor as well, so that the batter is very, very smooth and integrated. You can do it with a stand mixer or hand mixer, but I like the food processor, because it's fast and easy, and I'm lazy.

Pour the batter into the ramekins and shake them a little to get bubbles out. I bake mine at 350F until they're done, which, in the case of these particular vessels, is about 40 minutes. It would be less if you were using muffin tins and more if you were making a whole cake. They're done before they crack, but you don't want them to be really jiggly in the middle. I always set the little ramekins inside a larger, glass baking dish, and sometimes, I pour an inch and a half of water into the bottom of that baking dish as well.

Once you're satisfied that the cakes are baked, let them cool a little, and then put them in the 'fridge.

Chocolate Ganache: ridiculously easy. It's cream and chocolate. I always measure out the chocolate, then use half that measure of cream. For these, I only needed a tiny bit, so I heated a quarter cup of heavy cream on the stove (you can use milk, no worries) until it just started to climb the sides of the saucepan. Then, I poured it over a half cup of chocolate and stirred it until it was smooth. I spooned it over the cooled cheesecakes, spread it out, and then put the cakes back in the 'fridge.

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce:

This recipe, I got on Pinterest, and I'm pretty sure it would go well on pretty much anything. Anything. I'd probably eat it on beef, is what I'm saying.

- 240 g white sugar (about 1 &1/4 C)
- 80 ml water (about 1/3 C)
- 115 g salted butter (a little more than 1/2 C)
- 150 ml heavy whipping cream (a little less than 2/3 C)

Heat the sugar and water in a heavy saucepan over medium to low heat until the sugar dissolves, then add the butter.

Bring that to a boil and cook it until it is a golden caramel color. This took longer than I expected, but it did happen, and it was very rewarding when it did.

Remove from the heat and add the cream. It will spatter and freak out, but don't you do the same. Just add it slowly and stir with a long handled spatula until it calms down. Then, return it to the stove.

Bring it back to a boil, then lower the heat and cook it for about 10 minutes, until it's a creamy consistency and looks like you'd maybe want to drink it, right then and there.

I poured mine into a glass jar, because it was way more than I needed. I spooned a good amount onto the top of each of my cheesecakes, over the ganache, and saved the rest for...I don't know. Something. Anything. James and I are trying not to eat sugary stuff except on the weekends, so I have all week to come up with something good.

And that's it. It seems like a lot of steps, because it is, but the difficulty level isn't high, and the reward is ridiculous.

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