Mason Jar Cheesecakes
I admittedly got very carried away. It happens a lot, especially in the kitchen.
All I wanted to do was deliver a passover cheesecake. Something that I could bake, freeze, and drop off. Dorie Greenspan posted a delightful cheesecake recipe on Serious Eats that I spotted a few weeks ago, which allowed my mind to rest safely in my passover dessert plans. But I started looking on pinterest (which I only recommend if you, unlike me, have absolutely nothing to do for a few hours). I saw cakes in jars, breads in jars, chili in jars,
and I started to think that I should start a restaurant in which everything is cooked in mason jars and, there it was, cheesecake in jars. I got excited.
Armed with two dozen mason jars, lots of cream cheese, and a helping hand (my mom, my favorite) I began the cheesecake.
First I got all prepared.
The crust starts with a bunch of blanched, slivered almonds. You could use any nut I suppose, but the almonds do taste mighty delicious. Throw them in a skillet and toast them until they are fragrant and a shade darker.
Let them cool. If you’re in a hurry, don’t be like me and let them cook in a small bowl. It takes forever. Spread ’em. (Fine, spread ’em out).
Melt some butter.
Gather some matzah meal, sugar and salt, and throw it in the food processor. Throw in the cooled almonds and pulse until the mixture is a finely ground, flour-like consistency.
Pour melted, cooled butter into the flour and stir to combine.
I know you’re getting excited. I am too. Hang in there. Go preheat the oven and scavenge through your kitchen for a roasting pan. Then, bring the crust mixture over to your mason jars, and put about two tablespoons of loosely packed crust into each jar. Don’t jam the crumbs in there, but pack them down enough so that it looks solid and kinda neat.
I used the plunger from my juicer to pat down the crumbs. You can use anything with a flat end, like a wooden spoon. Bake for ten minutes at 350F for ten minutes.
Meanwhile, make the cheesecake. Be prepared to lick your fingers over and over again.
Whip up some cream cheese. Also, put a pot of water on the stove and allow it to come to a boil.
You want it to be super creamy, light, and fluffy, so keep it beating on medium high until its reaches that consistency.
Add sugar, butter, vanilla bean seeds, and salt. Mix on medium speed for another four minutes. Add in eggs and mix after each one. Stir in cream.
DO NOT go to town on this bowl of silky-smooth, vanilla-flaked, creamy cheesecake soup. I was very tempted. Instead, pour about a half cup in to each mason jar (which you removed from the oven afyer ten minutes and allowed to cool).
That’s my mom’s hand. She helped me with this. She took her job very seriously. Transfer jars into roasting pans.
Pour in boiling water to half-way up jars.
Almost there, I promise. Just lower the oven temperature to 325F and bake for thirty minutes. Take them out when cheesecake is a shade darker and has cracks on top.
Transfer cheesecakes to cooling rack and let rest. For a while longer than you’d wish.
Mason Jar Cheesecakes (kosher for passover)
8 tablespoons butter
3/4 almonds, blanched
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 matzah meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Melt butter. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
2. Now, roast the almonds on the stove until fragrant and toasted. Spread toasted almonds out to cool.
3. Combine sugar, matzah meal, and salt in a food processor. Add cooled nuts, and pulse until the mixture is combined into a fine flour.
4. Scoop two tablespoons of crust into each mason jor. Pat down until the crust looks neat and packed, but be gentle and don’t pack it down too hard.
5. Put jars into a roasting pan and bake for ten minutes.
6. Remove and allow to cool.
from Dorie on Serious Eats
2 lbs. (4 8 oz. boxes) kosher for passover cream cheese (or regular)
1 1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoons salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
seeds from one vanilla bean
1 1/3 cup cream (or sour cream)
1. First, reduce heat to 325F. Put a pot of water on the stove and allow it to boil.
2. Using a stand mixer, whip cream cheese four minutes on medium speed. Add sugar while the mixer is running and continue beating for another few minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating for a full minute in between each addition. (Use room temperature eggs. The easiest way to bring eggs to room temperature is to put them into a bowl of warm water for a few minutes.) Reduce mixer speed to low, add in vanilla bean seeds and cream.
3. Pour 2/3 to 3/4 cup of the mixture into each mason jar in the roasting pan.
4. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it reaches halfway up the mason jars.
5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven (or turn oven off, prop it open, and allow cheesecake to absorb steam) and allow to cool.
6. Top with yummy jam, if you want, when all the way cool. Cover and refrigerate or freeze.