Monday, June 13, 2011

Newton Fruit Thins/ Individual Black Currant Cheesecake

As part of the FoodBuzz Tastemaker program, I was sent a package of the new Newton Fruit Thins. Woo Hoo Free Cookies!

And they are tasty ones too. Not too sweet, and with only 140 calories in 3, that's about 50 calories each. And, they have some fiber in them too. They come in a resealable package, and with about 30 in each package, you can use 20 of them for a large cheesecake, and still have some leftover to snack on. And, they are great with yogurt for breakfast...just sayin'.

I got the Honey Fig ones in the mail, but have also tried the Cranberry ones, and they are just as good. I crushed up some of the Honey fig cookies to make a crust for this cheesecake below. If you want to make an 8" cheesecake, about 20 cookies crush into a bit over 2 cups of crumbs, which will give you a perfect crust for your cheesecake.

Now, I do want to talk a bit about this cheesecake recipe. I think black currants are a very under utilized berry in the US. And, I don't understand why. They are very tasty.

I used some black currant preserves to sweeten these individual cheesecakes, and they baked up perfectly. The honey fig cookie crust was a perfect accent to these little gems. And, some pureed raspberries were a great way to top off the entire thing.

For a printed recipe, click here.

Individual Black Currant Cheesecakes

For the crust:

10 Newton Fruit Thin cookies, crushed into crumbs

2 T. butter, melted

Combine both ingredients and mix until butter has been absorbed. Place 1 to 1.5 tablespoons of cookie crumbs in the bottom of each individual cheesecake tin. Press gently.

For the cheesecake:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

3 T. black currant preserves

2 T. sugar

½ t. salt

Preheat oven to 325. In a medium size bowl, combine all ingredients and mix for 1-2 minutes until a uniform color and ingredients are fully mixed together. Divide evenly between 12 mini cheesecake tins you have put the crust in. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until just set. Cool completely.

For the raspberry puree:

1 cup raspberries

1 T. sugar

Puree raspberries and sugar together. Adjust sugar to taste. Spoon 1 T. on top of each mini cheesecake right before serving.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pizza Puffs

This is a pretty heavy spin on the French Classic gougère, or choux pastry with cheese mixed in. Classically, the dough is mixed with a nice Swiss cheese, and it's amazing when mixed with gruyere cheese.

This is a heavily Americanized version of this classic. I've been thinking about this dish for a while, and for some reason, I thought it would work. And, it did. Think of it as a classier version of pizza appetizers.

I mixed all the pizza "toppings" right into the dough, but since this is the same dough that is used for cream puffs, so they are fairly hollow. Well, they are unless you deflate them, like I did to mine. Deliberately, not by accident...

So, if you want a yummy, yet good looking appetizer, give these a try, they are really tasty!

For a .pdf of this recipe, click here. Enjoy!

Pizza Puffs

1 cup water

1 cup flour

½ c. butter

½ t. salt

4 eggs

40 pepperoni slices, finely diced

6-8 sun dried tomatoes, finely diced

2/3 c. mozzarella cheese, grated

½ t. garlic powder

½ t. oregano

2/3 c. parmesan cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium sauce pan, add water, flour, and butter. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture forms a ball and doesn’t look wet. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add pepperoni, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, garlic powder, oregano, and 1/3 c. parmesan. Stir until evenly incorporated.

Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper or a silicon baking pad. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls on the parchment paper, leaving ½ to 1” of space between each puff. You can also put your dough in a piping bag and pipe small rounds on your cookie sheet.

Top each puff with a touch of the reserved parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes. Lower heat to 350 and bake an additional 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. Resist the urge to open the oven door…

Cool slightly before serving. Best served warm.