A friend of mine was here the other day helping me to experiment with cheesecake recipes. We came up with this delightful doozy of a raspberry cheesecake almost spontaneously. Rather than making a "serves 20" classic cake, we thought why not a smaller batch of single servings? How about with raspberries for Valentine's Day? With some raspberry sauce! And an Oreo crust!
So there's this trend going around for cooking things in mason jars that I didn't quite understand until now. I mean, why would you want to eat a fancy dessert out of a jar?
Think of it this way, mason jars are like see-through ramekins with lids! So if you have a particularly pretty layered dessert, it will look even lovelier in a mason jar, and if you want to give it as a gift, it comes with a convenient lid for easy transporting.
In the case of making cheesecake, using a mason jar has an added advantage. Many cheesecake recipes (like the popular classic cheesecake on this site from Dorie Greenspan) require the use of a springform pan placed in a water bath. As careful as you can be with wrapping the pan with foil, water sometimes leaks in, resulting in a soggy crust. There are no leakage issues when you use a mason jar, and you have convenient single serving containers.
Single serving cheesecakes baked in jars also cook much faster and cool much faster than large cakes, which usually require chilling overnight in the fridge.
Now as single servings go, these are rather generous, given the richness of the cheesecake. Feel free to share one with your sweetheart (I did!)
Raspberry Cheesecake in a Mason Jar
- 1 12-ounce package frozen raspberries
- 3/4 cup sugar, divided 1/2 cup and 1/4 cup
- 1/3 cup water
- 10 Oreo cookies, without the filling, or 20 chocolate wafer cookies
- 2 Tbsp melted butter
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- Pinch salt
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup sour cream
- Whipped cream for topping
- Fresh raspberries for garnish
- 4 Wide-mouthed 8-ounce mason jars
Make the raspberry sauce:
Set aside 1/2 a cup of the frozen raspberries from the package. With the remaining raspberries, place them in a medium saucepan. Add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup of water. Bring to a simmer on medium high heat, then lower the heat to maintain the simmer, and gently cook, whisking frequently, until the raspberries have completely broken down, about 10 minutes.
If you want, strain the raspberry sauce through a sieve to remove the seeds, and then return the sauce to the pan and continue to gently simmer until the the sauce is syrupy. Set aside to cool.
Make the Oreo cookie crust:
Grind the chocolate cookie wafers (Oreo or other brand) in a food processor, mini chopper, or by placing in a plastic bag and crushing with a rolling pin, until finely ground.
Place in a medium bowl and stir in the melted butter. Divide evenly among the mason jars, packing the chocolate "crust" at the bottom of each mason jar in a layer about 1/4 to 1/3-inch thick.
At this point you can put in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes to bake the crust in, which will make it easier to pour in the cheesecake filling without it mixing in with the crust. (Or if you don't care if the bottom is a little messy, you can skip this part.)
Make the cream cheese filling:
In a mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed for 4 minutes, until smooth and light. Add 1/4 cup of sugar and beat 4 minutes more. Add a pinch of salt and the egg, and beat another minute.
Add the sour cream and beat another minute, until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the cooled raspberry syrup from step one, and beat until incorporated.
Layer raspberries and filling on top of crusts in mason jars:
Place the reserved raspberries on top of the chocolate crusts in the mason jars in a single layer. Pour the raspberry cheesecake filling over the raspberries in the jars.
Bake in water bath:
Place in a roasting pan and add about an inch of boiling water to the pan to create a water bath, which will help the cheesecakes cook more evenly. Bake at 325°F for 40 minutes. Then turn off the heat in the oven and let the cheesecakes continue to gently cook in the residual heat of the oven for another 30 minutes.
Chill and top with whipped cream and raspberry sauce:
Remove from oven and let cool to room temp. Chill for at least a half hour before eating. Don't worry if there are cracks on the surface of the cheesecakes. Top with the remaining raspberry sauce, whipped cream, and fresh raspberries.