Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mini-Christmas Cheesecakes

When my children were small, I decided to make an Advent Calendar for them that contained a new Christmassy activity for each day from December 1st until December 24th. Some of the activities were simple, some more complex, some silly and some sweet. We made Christmas-shaped biscuits, we had red and green themed dinners, we went out driving at night to look at the Christmas lights. We also went into the city to have lunch with Daddy (a big adventure when they were small), and we spent afternoons on the beach. We made cards and went to see Santa.

Much to my surprise as they have gotten older, they are still keen to do our Advent activities, although the activities have certainly evolved. Things that I thought were charming are now labelled "so embarrassing". The girls have managed to persuade me that new items like "get a new bikini" should be incorporated into our traditions - for Northern Hemisphere readers, a new swimming costume is a pretty normal thing to do at this time of year. They are also getting a bit resistant to things they don't feel like doing (this year, sadly, going out driving to look at the Christmas lights was voted down by the rest of the family). It is possible that this year will be the last year of this Christmas tradition, but I know it will be something that they will remember and possibly will do with their own families in the future.

I have also decided that I don't want their Christmas memories to include a crazy, out of control stressed mother. My highly ambitious plan to stay calm and organised for Christmas this year, is still mostly in place. In a personal best, I have only had two enormous whines to my husband about the goings on of the household, and we are already the Eve of Christmas Eve (although there are bound to be a few more before we finish up with ham and turkey for the year). Part of the key has been my "get dessert out of the way" strategy, with a bought pudding and some home made petit fours to have as a dessert platter. One of the petit fours I chose were these mini-cheesecakes, that have been living in my freezer for a week or so. While the recipe calls for making them in a regular sized muffin tin, I wanted tiny bite-sized cheesecakes, so I used the mini-muffin sized silicon cups that you can get at the supermarket. They peel back easily when you want to serve them. Like I said, just keeping it easy.

Mini Fruit Mince Cheesecakes
delicious Dec 2005

200g digestive biscuits
120g unsalted butter, melted
250g cream cheese
200g creme fraiche
1/2 cup (75g) pure icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml thickened cream, whipped
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins)
2 tbs brandy
410g jar fruit mince

Line a 12-hole muffin pan with plastic wrap (or use silicon baking cups). Process the biscuits in a food processor to fine crumbs. Add butter and process until just combined. Press biscuit mixture into base and sides of prepared muffin holes, using a spoon to press down firmly. Place muffin pan in freezer while you make the filling.

Combine cream cheese, creme fraiche, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Fold in whipped cream using a metal spoon. Fill muffin pan with spoonfuls of filling. Freeze for a further 30 minutes, or until you plan to use them.
Meanwhile, for topping, place cranberries and brandy in a saucepan over low heat. Heat gently over low heat for 2-3 minutes to plump fruit, then add mince and warm through for a further 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. To serve, carefully remove cakes from pan (or cups) and serve with fruit mince topping.

1 comment:

Debinhawaii said...

I love your tradition--that is so much fun. I am sure your children will look back upon it fondly. Your mini cheesecakes look delicious!

Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!