Sunday, November 11, 2012

(Award-winning) Mini Butternut Squash Cheesecakes w/Gingersnap crust

Mini Butternut Squash Cheesecakes w/Gingersnap crust

(I use a mini cheesecake pan for this recipe, but you could use a muffin pan w/liners if you don't have cheesecake pan available)

Yield: approx 36 mini cheesecakes

2 cups ground gingersnap cookies (pulse in food processor until crumbs)
4 tbsp brown sugar
4 tbsp melted butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves

2 – 8 oz packages of cream cheese, softened
3 cups butternut squash puree*
¾ c sour cream or plain greek yogurt
½ c half and half
3 eggs
3/4 c brown sugar
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray the insides of the pan.
In a medium sized bowl, mix crust ingredients with a fork. Scoop about a tbsp of crust mix into each cup in the pan and press crust down using a spoon or a pestal.
In separate bowl mix the filling ingredients with a hand blender/mixer until smooth. Spoon about 1 ½ tbsp of filling into each cup.
Place pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool (the cakes will puff up and then deflate). Once they deflate and are cool enough to touch, carefully push them up out of the pan and place each cake on a cooling rack.
Repeat process for two more batch.
Let cakes cool completely then serve or refrigerate.

Top with whipped cream & sprinkled cinnamon or habanero-cranberry sauce

*About 2 large whole butternut squashes. Cut squash in half lengthwise, place cut side down in a baking dish and cover halfway with water, bake at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until pierced easily with a fork. Remove, let cool, scoop squash out of shell and puree in food processor.

Habanero-Cranberry Sauce

2 cloves garlic, minced
2 habaneros, seeds removed, minced (can adjust to desired heat level)
1 12 oz package cranberries
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated (or ground ginger if fresh is unavailable)
¼ c sugar
¼ c honey
¼ tsp turmeric
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
juice of 2 oranges plus pulp
1 tsp zest of the orange peel

Saute garlic and habaneros for 5 minutes, then add cranberries and saute until they begin to pop. Add remaining ingredients except orange zest. Simmer for about 30 minutes- if too thick, add water. Blend with immersion blender, food processor or blender to desired consistency.