Ramekin Cheesecakes with Thin Mint Crust
Updated: Feb 2, 2021
A Minty Twist on a Classic Dessert
These mini cheesecakes are luscious and creamy. The Girl Scout Cookie crust gives them the faintest whisper of mint, and the bold and bright berries on top cut through the richness of the cheese filling. The custard is topped with a mixture of sour cream and granulated sugar in the last five minutes of baking, a trick to help you get that perfect white top, no cracking or browning!
The base recipe for the custard I used to create these little masterpieces was from The Professional Pastry Chef by Bo Friberg. I think this book was actually a textbook from my Culinary School days! You can try the same at home, just substitute any cheesecake recipe you trust, scaling up or down depending on how many ramekins you've got laying around. I cut Bo's recipe in half, and made five ramekin sized cheesecakes and one *very* short 6" cheesecake.
I think the best part of these cheesecakes is that they bake up in individually sized 3.5" ceramic ramekins. No need for fancy springform pans! The trick with baking cheesecake without a springform pan is twofold- always line the bottom of your pans with parchment paper, and leave a tag on two sides so you've got something to pull on when removing your cheesecake. And tip number two, is to freeze your cheesecakes overnight before you even think about touching them. You can use a hot spatula (a mug of boiled water and a towel will be your friend) to de-pan them in the morning. Patience and freezers are a baker's best friends, at least, when it comes to making cheesecakes without a springform pan.
See the cute little tags here?
I traced the bottom of my baking dish on parchment paper and drew a tags coming off two sides, before cutting and placing into well greased ramekins. Very important! Don't skip this part!
I made several alterations to this recipe, adjusting the overall quantity to match the vessels I had, swapping out the cookie crust, and changing the topping. These were small changes, but created a totally new experience. Don't be afraid to take a basic recipe and add your own twist!
STOP RIGHT HERE. Yes. Here.
Don't skip this step. Graham crackers are terrible. I avoided them here entirely, and recommend you use literally any other cookie for your cake and pie crusts. Not only is it a valuable opportunity for you to add a unique and unexpected flavor into your baked goods, it will truly impress whoever you're baking for. Trust me on this one. Girl Scout cookies for the win, graham crackers in the bin!
The basic recipe I used here is a very simple mix. But before you begin mixing- remember, set your oven and set your pans! In this case, your pans need to be very well greased, and lined with a parchment round. Then a mixture of melted butter and cooke crumbs is pressed into the bottom. Don't skip the parchment paper if you're using ramekins or cake pans to bake off cheesecake, it's crucial!
Cheesecake is typically a very simple cake to mix, though many home bakers (and professionals, too) find that actually baking your cheesecake is a tricky step. Keeping your cheesecakes small shortens the baking time tremendously, and helps them bake easily because the custard heats through evenly and quickly.
Your typical cheesecake recipe calls for you to cream your cheese very well, and separately whisk your eggs and sugar (and sometimes flour!) together. Then, slowly pour your egg mixture into your cheese with the mixer on low, scraping the bowl frequently throughout. Your goal is to keep your batter lump free, so the scraping at every stage is incredibly important.
Once your base is mixed, these little guys just ask you to pour them into your prepared ramekins and bake! No water required for the ramekin sized cakes. I was a little worried about my 6" cheesecake over baking, so I decided to bake that layer in water. I simply put my 6" cake pan inside a 10" cake pan and poured half an inch of water in before popping in the oven. Because these cakes are so small, they bake very quickly. So keep an eye on your oven!
This dessert feels incredibly special, and is pretty easy to whip up the afternoon before you've got a reason to celebrate. I really loved this project, as it is tricky these days to bake large cakes when we can't see all of our people due to social distancing. Finding or altering recipes to bake individual portions of our favorite desserts, that we can later drop on the doorsteps of our loved ones, is a very special thing indeed.
Friends, thank you for taking the time to scroll through! I hope these images made you hungry, and inspired you to make something a little fancy this week.
You deserve it.
In other news, I am excited to share that Cascadia Kitchen will be branching into the world of video reels in the very near future. And those reels will eventually turn into full blown videos all about food and photography. I can't wait to see where this all leads. Stay tuned for video uploads coming soon!