Berries are on sale at the store and I went a little overboard buying them because they were so cheap (only $1.99/each!). Mr. Surly requested berry crumbles, which I made a couple times. But I wanted something different, something new to try that involved berries. It’s been awhile since I’ve browsed through my Jamie Oliver cookbook so I decided to look through it and see what kind of recipes he had involving berries. I came across this cheesecake recipe. It sounded yummy, I had all the ingredients, and it looked simple. Also, the fact that you don’t have to bake this was also a plus for me. Our temperatures are already in the mid-80’s to low 90’s and I hate turning the oven on because it warms up the kitchen. Jamie's recipe calls for a large 9” cheesecake with 3 blocks of cream cheese. There is no way Mr. Surly is going to eat anything with that much cream cheese, especially raw cream cheese, so I had to cut down the recipe to use only one 8 oz block of cream cheese. I only made a few minor changes and used two 4 ½” springform pans. Jamie’s cheesecake is completely raw, only the oatmeal gets toasted. Since I was making two cakes I decided to experiment; I bake one crust and left the other one uncooked to compare them. After sampling both, it was hard to tell a difference. But if you plan on keeping it in the fridge overnight, the baked crust might be a better choice. The unbaked crust has the potential to get soggy if it sits in the fridge too long (my unbaked crust started to get soggy after two days in the fridge). I know it's unusual to have such a small cake go uneaten for that long, but I have been sick the past couple days and have been unable to eat much.
Mini Vanilla Cheesecakes with Raspberry Topping
For the crust:
4 Tbsp butter
1/3 c oats (not instant; I use Bob’s Red Mill Extra Thick Rolled Oats)
2/3 c graham cracker crumbs
2 tsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
For the cheesecake:
8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temperature
¼ c sugar
½ c heavy cream
1 small lemon, zested and juiced
½ vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
For the topping:
6 oz fresh raspberries
1 Tbsp sugar or agave
Grease two 4 ½ “ springform pans with butter or cooking spray. Line bottom with parchment paper, then grease paper. In a skillet or in the oven toast oatmeal until browned. Combine toasted oats, graham cracker crumbs, 2 tsp sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Melt butter and pour over oat mixture, stir with a wooden spoon til mixture comes together. Divide evenly between prepared pans, pressing gently into an even layer. If you want to bake the crust, add it to a preheated 325 F oven and bake until fragrant and brown, about 15 mintues. If you don’t want to bake the crust, pop the pans in the fridge for at least an hour.
When ready to make filling add cream cheese and ¼ c sugar to bowl. Split the vanilla bean in half, scrape out the seeds, and add the seeds to the cream cheese mixture. Mix together. Add some to all of the lemon zest and juice, depending on personal taste (I added all of it because I love lemon).
In another bowl, whisk heavy cream til soft peaks form. Add half of the soft whipped cream to the cream cheese mixture, gently fold in. Then fold the remaining cream into the cream cheese til blended. Spoon filling into the crust pans and smooth out the top. Refrigerate at least an hour.
When ready to serve, run a sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove cheesecake from pan and transfer to serving plate. Prepare the topping by adding raspberries and sugar to a bowl and scrunch together with your fingers. Pour half the fruit topping onto top of cheesecake, smooth out with back of spoon. Serve and enjoy. I only top one of the cheesecakes and refrigerate the rest of the topping for a day or two until we’re ready to eat the second cake, which I top with raspberries before serving.
Source: adapted from Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver