This Monday is extra special.
First, we’ve got Mini Cranberry Pistachio Cheesecakes. AND it’s my birthday. I told y’all last year that I’m shameless about my birthday. Although now, another year older, and closer to 30 (!!!).
I also feel like I’m in a weird birthday-stage.
I’m still super excited to celebrate, even though I have to keep reminding myself it’s that time of year. It just doesn’t feel like it should be here yet, and with that, it definitely doesn’t feel like the celebration has to be over-the-top. I’m a Grandma at heart, and that’s definitely not changing as I turn another year older. ?
I still celebrated all weekend long (because, why not?!), but in the way I do: eating lots of good food, spending quality time with people I love, and relaxing! Tonight I’ll be eating my favorite Margherita pizza, with a glass of wine, and of course, dessert.
Easy peasy Mini Cranberry Pistachio Cheesecakes. And Molten Chocolate Cake. Calories don’t count on birthdays here in my world.
Why mini cheesecakes?
Let’s get straight to these cheesecakes now. I love cheesecake. It seems like over the years I’ve worked on making the cheesecake servings smaller and smaller, but only for a very genius reason.
When you go for the second piece of cheesecake, it feels a little extra indulgent, right? Like maybe you’re torn – do I do it, do I not?
BUT THEN – then when there are mini cheesecakes – you can pop them in, one by one, and feel ZERO GUILT! I’m always looking for cheesecake winning solutions.
I love every part of these cheesecakes. Including that I can eat 12 in one sitting and tell myself it was equal to just one slice of cheesecake. And it’s all good.
The Pistachio Shortbread Crust
Let’s start talking about the crust. A mix of buttery shortbread and rich, nutty pistachios. It has the perfect crunch and holds up so well with luxurious cheesecake on top.
Luxurious is almost an understatement. This cheesecake filling is so uber-duper creamy, and light, and fluffy, and basically melts-in-your-mouth.
Then the cranberry swirl on top adds a bit of sweet-tartness to the cheesecake, balancing out all of the flavors. Between the buttery, crunch, and luxury, you cannot go wrong.
The cranberry swirl is from a simple cranberry sauce that’s swirled in with a toothpick. If you’re not into cranberries you could do a little chocolate swirl or a different kind of berry swirl.
Now, I did buy a Mini Cheesecake Pan especially for this recipe, but you can absolutely use a mini muffin pan. I’d recommend using muffin liners if you do go the muffin pan route, otherwise, the crust will likely crumble when you try to take them out. The nifty thing about the cheesecake pans is that there is a separate bottom that you can push up on to remove the cheesecakes. It’s super slick.
Mini Cranberry Pistachio Cheesecakes are just what this season’s holiday parties called for: easy to make, easy to enjoy, and don’t require extra utensils for your guests to enjoy – because we know those are always a hot commodity at parties. Not to mention they are so festive with their pink swirls and green pistachios!
Mini Cranberry Pistachio Cheesecakes
- 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 cups shortbread cookie crumbs ~6.5 ounces of cookies
- 2/3 cup shelled pistachios
- 2 Tablespoons butter melted
- 16 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 eggs room temperature
- Cranberry Sauce: In a small saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice to a slow simmer over medium heat. Simmer for 7-8 minutes, crushing cranberries with a spoon as they begin to pop. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Once cool, push through a mesh sieve to remove skins.
- Crust: In a food processor, blend together shortbread cookies and pistachios until a sand-like mixture forms. Add butter and mix thoroughly.
- Cheesecake: Using an electric mixer, whip together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until combined, light, and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, slowly mixing in between each addition until just incorporated.
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Assemble cheesecakes by placing approximately 1 Tablespoon shortbread and pistachio crust into the bottom of each mini cheesecake tin. Tamper down until a uniform crust forms. Add cheesecake filling to the top of each tin. Add 1/4 teaspoon of cranberry sauce to the top of each cheesecake and swirl around with a toothpick.
- Bake cheesecakes for 18-20 minutes until set around the edges; the centers may still jiggle and that's ok. Let cool at room temperature for 45 minutes to an hour. Chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours. The cheesecakes will set up in the fridge and be much easier to remove from the mini cheesecake pan after chilling.
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