Quick-and-Easy Blueberry Cheesecakes
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© Paden Reich
More frequently than you might imagine we will have guests over for an impromptu dinner and I’ll need a quick, last-minute dessert. Do you know the drill? Rather than pull out store-bought cookies or a quart of old ice cream whose top is a layer of milky ice clusters from the last time we served it, I turn to this blueberry cheesecake. Every experienced home cook has a bag of tricks, and this is one of mine. My fridge always has mascarpone or ricotta cheese in it, and
I always have frozen fruit and phyllo pastry shells in the freezer. The rest is as quick as the recipe claims. Mix the mascarpone with lemon zest and vanilla extract and voilà, cheese cake filling. Pipe that into the phyllo pastry shell, add a bit of fruit on top, and in an hour or less you have a party-worthy pickup dessert that’s super simple, quick, and delicious.
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the phyllo shells on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
2. Beat the cream cheese, lemon zest, vanilla, and 1/4 cup of the sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until the mixture is smooth and the sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the mascarpone until just blended. (Do not overbeat.) Spoon the mixture into a ziplock plastic bag; seal the bag, and snip about 1/2 inch from 1 corner of the bag. Pipe the mixture evenly into the phyllo shells (about 11/2 teaspoons per shell).
3. Combine the blueberries, water, cinnamon, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium, stirring constantly. Cook until the berries burst and the mixture is thickened, 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat, and cool completely, about 20 minutes. Spoon the blueberry mixture over the cream cheese mixture in the phyllo shells. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
Ingredient Note / Variation
INGREDIENT NOTE: Mascarpone cheese, or Italian cream cheese, can be found at specialty markets. You could substitute crème fraîche in a pinch.
VARIATION: You could easily substitute raspberries or raspberry jam or chopped strawberries for the blueberries.
2 (1.9-ounce) packages frozen mini phyllo pastry shells, thawed
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1⁄2 teaspoon lemon zest
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1⁄2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, softened
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
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