Cake-of-the-week for the Heavenly Cake Bakers is a cheesecake, baked in individual servings in muffin pans. The recipe was for Lemon Cheesecake, the lemon being added by a topping of lemon curd. Curd...Heavenly Cakes...I flashed back to the White Gold Passion Génoise and its lovely passion fruit curd, and lemon seemed so...tame. I already had a bag of passion fruit puree in the freezer, even.
First off in the cheesecake recipe was making a biscuit (do your French accent: bis-KWEE), a flat sponge cake, which gets cut into rounds and used as the cheesecake base/crust. Then came the cheesecake itself, a fairly light version with less cream cheese to eggs and sour cream. The recipe suggests using 12 silicon muffin cups, but my only silicon pan is a 6-holer. I grabbed down my mini-cheesecake pan for the rest of the batter, and that was just about the right volume. There was lots of biscuit left over, though--I think a half recipe might have done it.
The cheesecakes should bake in a water bath. I did that for the silicon pan, but the mini-cheesecake pan has removable bottoms, and my last attempt at covering it with foil and using it in a water bath was, um, not very successful. (The results were edible, after the crusts dried out a little...) I decided to just bake it as it was, for a shorter time. That was a mistake--at my first check, the little mini cheesecakes had high sides and collapsed middles and were over-done. Next time, I'll put the mini pan in at a lower temperature after the pan in the water bath is done. I got the internal temperature on the muffin pan cheesecakes a little too high, too, but it didn't seem to hurt the final product.
Once baked, the cheesecakes get chilled before the curd is added. I made the full recipe of passion fruit curd (a little more yield than the lemon curd) thinking that a little extra would be nice for other uses. Both nieces had wanted some--older niece asked that I make her an entire recipe (right....), younger niece offered to help make the curd with an eye, I'm sure, to getting tastes and first crack at any leftovers. As it was I made the curd solo, and used it all topping the cheesecakes. The collapsed tops of the minis provided a little crater to hold curd, and that helped compensate a little for their over-baked-ness.
Tasting results: Older niece of the often-small appetite reportedly finished her muffin-sized one, and nephew ate all of a mini. (Younger niece did the running back and forth between houses, so I didn't get any first-hand comments.) Younger niece herself doesn't like cheesey things much including cream cheese, and so took only half a mini. I wouldn't be surprised to hear she ate the curd topping and discarded the cheesecake.
My comments? Excellent combination of creamy cheesecake and curd--the passion fruit works beautifully here. My minis are indeed over-baked and a little hard, but the regular muffin size ones are lovely. I'm ambivalent about the biscuit base--it's almost not there, and I wonder if I might prefer a no-crust version. The biscuit wasn't hard to bake, but it took a lot of additional time and mess and didn't contribute much in my opinion. On the other hand, I may try a shortbread crust sometime for a textural contrast and more flavor.