Reading food blogs can be dangerous to your health. Seriously, after perusing my favorite food blogs I often become obsessed with dishes – they keep me up at night thinking about them, they invade my dreams and I spend hours in kitchen experimenting with them. In short, they have the ability to drive me a bit insane (and hence the reasonthey can be dangerous to your health). Such was the case recently when I was drooling reading a wonderful dessert blog – Bakers Royale and came across these amazing little individual cheesecakes. They are cute if not downright adorable and the flavor combinations/possibilities are endless (hence the reason I was up all night thinking about them). My musings though took a turn and I started thinking about – what else? Savory cheesecakes!! A perfect individual sized portion brimming with tender and sweet crab and earthy mushrooms. Paired with a small mound of lightly dressed greens, it the perfect starter for an elegant meal – or if you are feeling really indulgent, a luxurious brunch entree. Like all perfect starters, this one can be made and baked in advance and then re warmed slightly before serving.
Miniature Crab and Mushroom Cheesecakes
For these cheesecakes, I used the Chicago Metallic Mini Cheesecake Pan that is available from Sur la Table
1 1/2 cups ground melba toast rounds
3/4 stick butter, melted
1 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup minced shallots
1/2 cup minced roasted red bell pepper
2 cups assorted wild mushrooms, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Tbsp. dry sherry
2 – 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs
1/4 cup whipping cream
1 cup crab meat, drained and picked over
1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh chives
1/8 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
For these cheesecakes, I used the Chicago Metallic Mini Cheesecake Pan available from Sur la Table.
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, mix melba toast crumbs with melted butter. Place 1 Tbsp. of the crumb mixture in the bottom of each cup. Tamp down the crumbs with your fingers or a tart tamper if you have one. Bake crust until golden brown – about 10 minutes.
Heat 1 Tbsp. of canola oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are brown. Add the shallots and saute until shallots are soft – about 2 minutes. Add the sherry and cook until sherry evaporates. Set aside and cool.
In a mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the whipping cream and beat until thoroughly combined. Mix in the mushroom mixture, bell pepper, crabmeat, gruyere and chives. Spoon filling into each cup about 2/3 of the way full. Place pan on a sheet pan and place in the oven. Bake for approximately 20 minutes until tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cheesecakes cool on a rack. To remove, run a knife around the edges of the cheesecakes and remove.
If making ahead, refrigerate cheesecakes in the pan and remove when cold.