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SERVES: makes 12
• 12 cupcake liners or 12 small circles of parchment paper (see hints below)
• 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
• lemon zest from one small lemon (approx. 1 Tbs)
• juice of 1/2 small lemon (approx. 2 Tbs)
• 12 small ginger snap cookies
• fresh blueberries tossed with sugar (as needed)
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and use a mixer to cream two 8-ounce packages of room temperature cream cheese with 2/3 cup sugar.
At that point add 2 large eggs, one at a time, and when they're well incorporated, add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, add the lemon zest from one small lemon and the juice of 1/2 small lemon and turn the machine off.
As far as the muffin pan goes, you can line it with cupcake liners or place a little circle of parchment paper into the bottom of each one like I'm doing today.
Then place one small ginger snap cookie into each cup, divide the batter equally over the top of those, and then place the muffin pan onto a rimmed baking tray and place that onto the center rack of the preheated oven.
Very carefully add 2-3 cups of hot water to the baking tray and then bake the cheese cakes for exactly 20 minutes. (see hints below)
At that point, very carefully take the tray out of the oven, remove the muffin pan from the baking tray and let the cheesecakes cool down to room temperature.
Once they have cooled down, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top and pop the tray into the fridge to chill for a few hours or, better yet, overnight.
And then, at that point, run a knife around the outside edge of each cheesecake and carefully pry and lift the cheesecake out of the pan. Remove the parchment paper and serve them up with a few blueberries tossed with sugar right on top!
Fold a 12-inch square of parchment paper into a multi-layered 3 x 3-inch square and then cut that once with scissors to make your circles for lining the pan.
Having said "bake for exactly 20 minutes" I must note that all ovens are not the same. Use your judgment, they make take a couple of minutes longer than that, the cheesecakes should appear mostly firm when pulled from the oven. They will continue to set up as they cool down.
You can pop the muffin pan into the freezer for 20-30 minutes, to help really firm up the cheesecakes before removing them from the pan.
: Chef Dan Eaton spent his early years on a dairy farm in Vermont where he developed a fondness for foods "straight from the land." Cooking seasonally was more of a necessity then but Dan still finds local ingredients, in season, a driving force behind his menu creations.