Individual Maple And Mascarpone Cheesecakes
- 2/3 cup raw sugar - (about) see * Note
- 2 cups pure maple syrup
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 12 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 pounds mascarpone cheese see * Note
- Fresh berries (optional)
- Fresh mint sprigs (optional)
* Note: Raw sugar, also called turbinado or demerara sugar, is available at natural foods stores and most supermarkets. Mascarpone cheese is an Italian cream cheese sold at Italian markets and many supermarkets nationwide.
Butter twelve 3/4-cup custard cups. Sprinkle raw sugar in each buttered cup, turning to coat bottom and sides and tapping out excess raw sugar. Arrange prepared custard cups in large roasting pan.
Bring maple syrup to boil in heavy large deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and boil gently until maple syrup is reduced to 1 cup, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes (syrup will bubble vigorously). Remove saucepan from heat and stir in whipping cream (mixture will bubble up high). Return saucepan to medium heat and simmer until any crystallized bits dissolve and mixture is reduced to 1 cup, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs 1 at a time, then beat in vanilla extract. Add mascarpone cheese and beat just until blended and smooth. Add cooled maple syrup mixture to cheese mixture and beat until well blended.
Pour batter into prepared custard cups, dividing equally. Add enough hot water to roasting pan to come halfway up sides of custard cups. Bake until cheesecakes are light golden on top and centers move slightly when custard cups are gently shaken, about 1 hour. Cool in water bath 15 minutes. Remove custard cups from water bath. Refrigerate uncovered overnight. (Cheesecakes can be prepared 2 days ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated.)
Run small sharp knife around sides of cheesecakes to loosen. Place dessert plate atop 1 cheesecake. Invert cheesecake onto plate; shake gently to release. Repeat with remaining cheesecakes. Garnish each with fresh berries and fresh mint sprigs, if desired. Serve cold.
This recipe yields 12 cakes.
Be careful when boiling down the maple syrup for this recipe. It gets very hot, as a caramel syrup does. Use a heavy, large, deep saucepan because the syrup bubbles up high and vigorously when boiled. Let the syrup settle before measuring it.