There is a cheesecake recipe closely associated with my family. My mother has made it for my whole life. Countless of my father’s and brother’s birthdays were celebrated with this cake. It is around at the holidays. Friends and family request it over and over and over again from my mother. She can probably make it with her eyes closed.
It was one of the first things I learned to make on my own after I left home.
It is a cake my mother would prefer to make for you than to share the recipe.
It was my wedding cake.
What can I say? I don’t really like regular cake that much.
I’ve often thought about toying with it…adding lemon, changing the crust, putting in a caramel filling…and it always feels akin to blaspheme, so I never do it.
But last week I was making one for a friend for her birthday. I used a smaller springform pan than usual, so I had more crust and filling than I needed. My husband suggested the little tart pans peeking out of the cabinet. (My guess is that he was a little disappointed about the whole cheesecake going to someone else’s house and was trying to figure out how to get just a little bit of it to stay in his refrigerator!) Whatever his inspiration, it was a stroke of genius.
As delectable as the original recipe is, it is a little tricky to get the pieces sliced thinly. And you want them kind of thin because it is so rich. (At least I usually do…but, not everyone agrees with me on this!)
Baking these in the little tart pans keeps them small and thin…no messy slicing. I almost planned a dinner party just so I could serve individual cheesecake tarts for dessert!
I had a stash of blackberry plum sauce in the freezer which was promptly defrosted and served on the side for my husband’s dessert the next evening. (These photos were taken when I taste-tested one for breakfast.)
I was also reminded of some little pecan pie tarts I made years ago in them. Yum. So, if you have little tart pans like this, get them out and start experimenting…everything seems better when it’s tiny, right?