Show of hands – have you ever tried creme brulee? It’s such an odd but delicious dessert and I’ve only ever tried it when I’ve been on vacation and/or not paying for it myself. I guess that’s what makes it special though. I’ve only had it a few times, but it’s a delicious treat that always makes me feel like I’m celebrating a special occasion.
For my birthday, my parents gave me a kitchen torch, which I was super excited about but didn’t really know what to use it for at the time. Creme brulee is a pretty advanced thing to make, and I haven’t given it a try yet (yes, it’s on my to-do list). Instead, I’m taking baby steps with the kitchen torch. Other than using it to make s’mores (highly recommended), it’s great for caramelizing things to achieve a similar look to broiling.
And that’s how I turned regular ‘ol cheesecake into fancy mini creme brulee cheesecakes. See what I did there? Yeah, it’s just super basic cheesecake with beautiful caramelized sugar, homemade whipped cream and beautiful berries. It doesn’t take much to make a beautiful dessert, and these mini cakes are the easiest type of cheesecake you could ever make because they use very few ingredients and don’t require any special methods like water baths or messing with oven temps. Easy peasy!
- 1/2 cup vanilla wafer crumbs
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
Grind up the wafer cookies in a food processor until fine. Add the melted butter and pulse to combine. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of the cavities. Set aside.
- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the cream cheese for about 2 minutes until completely smooth. Add the sugar and beat well. Then mix in the egg and vanilla. Scoop spoonfuls of cheesecake into the cavities until it reaches the top and smooth it out as best you can.
Bake for about 15 minutes until the filling does not jiggle. The outsides should not brown at all.
Let cool for about 20 minutes until pan is cool to the touch. Cover with aluminum foil and move to the refrigerator to set for at least one hour.
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- Whipped cream (see my recipe here)
- Strawberries, raspberries or other fruit
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Remove the pan from the fridge and turn it over to flip the cheesecakes cleanly upside down onto the foil. Turn right-side up with your hands and sprinkle top with sugar. Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar until it caramelizes. (If you do not have a kitchen torch, you can use a broiler setting on your oven but pay very close attention to the baking time so that you do not overcook the cheesecake.)
Top with a small dollup of freshly made whipped cream and a strawberry slice, or use your favorite fruit or other toppings to finish it off! These little bites of heaven are a simple solution to any cheesecake troubles and they look/taste really fancy without the added effort. Enjoy!