Cheesecake baked in little jars with roasted nectarines

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Here’s an easy, delicious and totally adorable dessert to do this weekend, fromage blanc cheesecake, baked into cute little jars.  You can make it even lovelier by topping with roasted fruits.  In this case I use tangy sweet nectarines scented with lemon verbena.  Nothing stops you from making this your own by using a combination of fruits, herbs, and even nuts of your choice.  What makes this cheesecake truly special, besides its oh-my-god-this-is-adorableness quality, is the luscious texture, like caressing you with satin, and the fact that you can make it by pretty much dumping all the ingredients in your food processor.

This is also a recipe that exemplifies my thieving ways as a cook.  I lift ideas, recipes, presentation tricks and others from cook books, kind friends, talented chefs I know, and restaurants I love, to mix, match, and generally muck with them until I come up with something I can roughly call my own.  I’m a polite thief, mind you, I always give credit to those I borrow from.  For this one, the fromage blanc cheesecake recipe is adapted from the one given to me by my friend Mark Denham, whose new restaurant Bishop cannot open fast enough for me.  (Later this year he said.)  The idea to serve it in a jar is shamelessly cribbed from another friend, the Manresa pastry chef Deanie Hickox.  Deanie has been doing a cheesecake-in-a-jar dessert for ages.  I adore the idea, but her recipe requires things that are not widely available for home cooks, so I adapted Mark’s instead.

So there, that’s how this recipe came to be.  It might just be the summer dessert for me this year.  It can be made well in advance, and used as a blank canvas to play up a variety of poached/roasted/stewed fruits.  You can even top with store-bought preserves directly from the jar.  Fresh berries, perhaps macerated briefly with a bit of sugar, lemon juice, and/or liquor would do very well too.  Also good with this, my strawberries in hibiscus and vanilla syrup.

Fromage Blanc Cheesecakes baked in little jars, with lemon-verbena roasted nectarines

makes 8 servings in little 200 ml or 7 oz jars


Preparingthejars

Preheat the oven to 350F | 175C.

First you make the crumbs
1 stick | 120 g butter
7 oz | 200 g Graham crackers (about 12 pieces)
1/4 cup | 70 g brown sugar
a pinch of salt

Melt the butter in the microwave.  Roughly crumble the Graham crackers into the bowl of your food processor, add the sugar and the salt, process until they become fine crumbs.  Transfer the crumbs into a medium bowl, pour the melted butter over the crumbs, stir with a fork until the butter is evenly distributed.

Use about 2 tablespoons of crumbs per jar, press down the loose crumbs until you have a somewhat packed crust on the bottom of the jars.  Wipe the side of the jars down if you’ve made a bit of a mess.  Set aside for the cheesecake batter.

Spread the rest of the crumbs evenly on a pie plate or a small baking sheet.  Set aside for now.

For the fromage blanc cheesecake batter

1 lbs cream cheese
8 oz | 225 ml fromage blanc (I use Cowgirl Creamery)
4 oz | 110 ml crème fraîche or sour cream (The only difference I can tell is about $5.  Be sure to use natural sour cream with no stabilizer or stuff you can’t spell.)
1 cup | 200 g sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon (reserve the other half for the fruits)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 large eggs
1/4 cup | 30 g AP flour

Put all the ingredients except the flour in the bowl of your food processor.  (Just rinse and wipe it down after you’ve made the crumbs, no need to really wash it.)  Process until fully incorporated, wipe down the sides a couple times to make sure all the ingredients are completely blended.  Then, sprinkle the flour over the batter and process again until fully incorporated.  Depending on the brand and consistency of your ingredients, this batter may be loose enough to pour, or something more like the consistency of mayonnaise.

If you don’t have a food processor, or you got them guns like FLOTUS, go ahead and do it with a whisk and a mixing bowl.  I salute you.

Filled
Pour or spoon the batter into each jar, making sure to leave enough room  (1/2 inch or 1.25 cm) on the top so you can fill with the topping later.  Tap the jars on the counter (line it first with a tea towel so you don’t chip your pretty jars or, worse yet, your expensive counter top), this will let out the air bubbles so your cheesecakes don’t end up looking like the surface of the moon later.  Note: If you’re using canning jars with an attached top, you might want to remove the top first so they’re not so unwieldy in the oven.  A pair of pliers and a little dexterity should do the job just fine.

ready for oven

Place the filled jars in a deep roasting pan, carefully fill it with hot tap water until 2/3 way up the side of the shortest jar.  Set the oven racks to have one in the middle of the oven, and another just below it (with enough room to put your glass or ceramic baking dish.)  Lower the oven to 325F |160C. Place the cheesecake pan on the top rack and bake for 40 minutes.  Place the pan with the excess crumbs on the lower rack and bake for 10 minutes to crisp up, meanwhile you can deal with the nectarines.

Now the roasted nectarines
6-8 medium nectarines | about 800g
1/4 cup | 50 g sugar
1 tablespoon flour
juice from the other half of the lemon
7 leaves of lemon verbena (optional)

Cut up the nectarines into small wedges (about 8-10 pieces per fruit), put them on a pyrex glass or ceramic baking dish.  Add the sugar, flour, lemon juice, and crumple up the lemon verbena leaves over the fruit wedges.  Toss with your two hands until the fruit wedges are evenly coated.


Fruits

After the crumb pan has been in the oven for 10 minutes, remove it from the oven, stir with a fork to loosen the crumbs, and set aside to cool.  Now place the fruit pan on the lower rack and bake until the cheesecakes are done.

Bakedcheesecakes
The cheesecakes should be ready right at the 40-minute mark. Check about 5 minutes earlier if you’re using smaller or thinner jars than you see in the picture here.  You’ll know they’re done when they look set on the outer edge, but the middle still jiggles and wobbles a bit.  Remove the roasting pan from the oven, then transfer the cheesecake jars to the counter to cool.  Let them cool completely to room temperature before serving.  They are also nice after they’ve chilled out a bit in the fridge (after first coming to room temperature on the counter.)  For the summer I think they’re more refreshing when they’re cold.  You can make the cheesecakes the day before and serve them the next day, they’ll still be perfect.

Also remove the fruit pan from the oven. You can tell it’s ready when the fruits are cooked through and softened, but not completely mushy.  Stir gently with a wooden spoon, and let sit on the counter until cool completely.  Depending on how ripe your fruits, you might want to leave them in the oven for 5-10 minutes longer after the cheesecakes are done.  Remember to remove the lemon verbena leaves before serving.

Cheesecakeinajar2
To serve, divide the roasted fruits evenly among the jars.  If you’re crumb-crazy like I am, then spoon a generous mound of crumbs on the side of each jar as well.  If not, you can sprinkle them lightly, then put the rest of the crumbs in a bowl and serve it along side the cheesecakes.  Your guests can top their own with as much crumbs as they’d like.

A note on the tools: you will need
8 jars, each about 7oz or 200ml.  Don’t worry if you have a mish-mash of sizes, it won’t make much of a difference.  These and these are similar to what I use, but any old jars or jam jars you have around should do fine.
1 deep roasting pan, big enough to fit all the little jars
1 large glass or ceramic baking dish
1 pyrex pie dish or a small baking sheet

P.S. I know I haven’t been posting much lately, but Chez Pim is in redesign, and will relaunch in a jiffy.  You’ll like the new look and new offerings, I promise you.  Just check back often or follow me on twitter so you’ll be the first to know when it happens.

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  • http://nojuju.blogspot.com NOJuju

    Wow! This instantly goes on the list of things I MUST do someday, once I get it together enough to get the doodads (jars and whathaveyou) for it. The other thing on that list is your bergamot madeleines, for which I have no bergamot and no madeleine pans but which nonetheless haunt my baking dreams.

  • Katie C

    A quick trip to your local thrift store and you can find’s all kinds of interesting jars to use for super cheap. Don’t put off your baking dreams! I am all over this recipe this weekend ;)

  • http://www.atastyblog.com Lameen

    Looks nice and very creative.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Katie is totally right. (Thanks Katie.) You can pick up all kinds of cute jars at a thrift store. Or you can use old jam jars you have around. You don’t have to wait!

  • http://nojuju.blogspot.com NOJuju

    Jam jars! *smacks forehead* I’ve got Bonne Maman jam jars! Thanks ladies.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just come back to tell me how it goes for you, that goes for both of you ladies!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/thelacquerspoonblogspotcom the lacquer spoon

    Jam jars work as baking trays, great! With the fresh fruits with a herbal hint, I can survive the summer heat :)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1219738586s26857 Gastroanthropologist

    I’m absolutely obsessed with roasting fruits this summer, just did a load of slow roasted cherries and strawberries with vanilla and can’t wait to eat them with cheesecake. This is such great idea so I will be “borrowing” from you and Deanie too.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p0133f0364d51970b Alina

    I absolutely loooove cheesecake. I’ll be trying this soon. Those nectarines would also be delicious over a creamy vanilla ice cream.

  • http://awoodennest.blogspot.com Lindsay Jewell

    Uh oh. Looks like I’ll be baking cheesecake in jars. :)

  • http://aol.com Beverly

    Any hope for a chocolate version?

  • http://www.indiainktattoo.com Julianne Fuchs-Musgrave

    can’t wait to try this–too hot in DC to crank up the oven. Thanks & thanks to David Lebovitz for including this in his post on jars!

  • http://storybookwoods.typepad.com/storybook_woods/ clarice

    Oh what a brilliant idea. I have not cooked in canning jars but will have to try. I do make raosted apple sauce and will try your nectarines. Clarice

  • Jenn

    Hi Pim,
    What an adorable idea! I’m thinking it’d be lovely to give these out to friends as gifts–how well do you think these would keep in the fridge? Thanks!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/1222378794s18904 Lemon Tart

    I’m giddy about this idea for picnics!

  • http://www.cozydelicious.com Katie@Cozydelicious

    What a fantastic and adorable idea! These are coming to my next picnic for sure! Yum!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Thank you.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    That’s how I plan to myself.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Borrow away, and please come back to post a link if you blog about it.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Yes, or my brown butter ice cream.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Join the club!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Hmm, you just gave me an idea…

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    325 is not that hot, you can do it!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Roasted apple sauce sounds good.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    I had four jars ledt in the fridge so I took them to a friend’s backyard barbecue a couple days later, they held up just fine.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Yes you’ll be the darling of the picnic.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    See above comment :-)

  • http://www.aglioolioepeperoncino.com Eleonora

    I am a total cheesecake fan!! These are superb, especially the roasted nectarines and crumb abundance.
    I only have one question (I live in Italy) what is the difference between cream cheese and fromage blanc? And what would the Italian equivalent of Cowgirl Creamery be?? Aiuto!
    Ciao and again thanks for sharing this divine recipe.
    Eleonora

  • http://profile.typepad.com/alvinbrwn73 Alvinbrwn73

    looking the sweet is making me want some cake. I like your site.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Cream cheese is an American thing, but someone in Italy just told me that you can get Philadelphia Cream Cheese now all over Italy.
    For the fromage blanc part I’d substitute with mascarpone, but I’d also reduce some of the sugar since mascarpone is sweeter than fromage blanc. Try using just 2/3 or even half of the sugar? You can always add more later but if you add too much to start you won’t be able to take it out.
    If you try this please do come back and let us know how it turns out.

  • Javier Bonnemaison

    Ah the myth of originality… All talented creative people are consummate thieves, so don’t be so modest. This recipe is wonderful and your own unique style shines through all the more clearly because of its elegant simplicity. I can’t wait to try it, and I am also looking forward to seeing the new site.

  • http://tastyeatsathome.wordpress.com Alta

    These are so adorably awesome. And besides that, they sounud delicious!

  • http://chasingjamesbeard.com/ joyce

    Ohmigosh, this is adorable!!

  • http://onemomentatatime-niece.blogspot.com/ Janiece

    stopping in from Be Differnt Act Normal…
    this is a great idea for a widow or widower…or for a special birthday gift. I can not wait to try it

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Hmm…I didn’t think of that, but I’ll take your word for it.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    OMG thank you! :-)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Hey I know you!

  • http://cottageinthemaking.blogspot.com/ Joanne Kennedy

    YUM! I just printed this out. I think I’m making these for 4th of July and will top with strawberries or cherries and some with blueberries for the red, white and blue effect!
    Perfect to hand out and eat outside watching fireworks!
    Hugs,
    Joanne

  • http://www.chocolatebliss.biz susie

    Love that 4th of July idea!

  • http://www.foodfix.me Rachel Willen, Kitchenista

    Packed into the right containers, little cakes like this would surely be a hit in dorm rooms next fall. Great idea and thanks for giving credit to other chefs. Poaching is good on fish, borrowing is best among friends and colleagues.

  • Jetset

    Great recipe, as usual, Pim. I noticed that the crumbs in the oven just turned into kind of a pasty-mush after 10 min. I left them in 15+min and they crumbed up a little better.
    Used vanilla-roasted strawberries as topping. Nectarines are just starting to show up in the markets now and they are still tasting little early in the pacific northwest.

  • http://outsideoslo.wordpress.com/ D. @ Outside Oslo

    So adorable. Thanks for sharing that brilliant idea.

  • http://applesandonionsla.com/blog/ ApplesandOnions

    This is one of the most original dessert presentations I have seen in a long time–love it!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Yes me too.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    I think I use a larger pan to bake it than you did. I’ll add a note to the recipe, thanks!
    Vanilla roasted strawberries sound awesome. Recipe?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Thank you!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/gillordeincateringwordpresscom Gillordeincatering.wordpress.com

    The presentation here is perfect for banquet dining – 200 plus of these would make quite an impression!

  • http://www.zomppa.com Elyssa J.

    I love love love this! I make
    cheesecake more often than I like
    to admit and this is one of the best
    presentations I’ve ever seen! Very
    adaptable – thank you for posting!

  • http://thewischlist.com/ Heather @ The Wisch List

    Thanks Pim. Beautiful. One can never have too much cheesecake or too many excuses to get lost in the Container Store.

  • http://www.pixhome.blogspot.com kissmo

    Thanx,…and I Love this…Cheesecake is one of your best stuff….

  • http://www.fifideli.com Fifi

    Hi There,
    I absolutely love your amazing blog. The pictures are just mouthwatering!!
    I was wondering if you visit my blog, and tell me what you think by leaving a wee comment.
    My blog’s at: http://www.fifideli.com
    Thanks,
    Fifi

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pairofbartletts Wife of Rob

    Caught you on Foodography…love the site! I have jars…which means we’ll have cheesecake in cute little jars! Fabulous idea, keep them coming!
    Blessings,
    Jen

  • chris

    Pim, thank you for introducing me to my first ever foray in Cheesecake making. The recipe was easy to follow and took me about 2 hours total time. The only difficult part for me was slicing the nectarines since they don’t pry from the pit all that easily. One discovery tip: I used the small end of a pestle to help smooth and pack down the crumbs

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    If you’re doing it in that scale I would skip making the bottom crust and just pour the cheesecake batter right into the jars. Spooning the crumb on top later will cut down your prep time a huge amount.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Thank you, yes it is. I might try out a chocolate version soon.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    I like how your mind works.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Thank you. Nice blog, where in the Mediterranean are you from?

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    Thank you! I love jars. When the whole of Paris seemed to be serving their desserts in jars – even those that didn’t really fit in them – it drove my friend David Lebovitz crazy but I loved it.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    If the most difficult part of the recipe was cutting up the fruits I think my mission here is accomplished! Glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the tip. I must try it next time. I think I have a small pestle somewhere, my usual one from a Thai mortar/pestle set wouldn’t even fit down the jar.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/gillordeincateringwordpresscom Gillordeincatering.wordpress.com

    Thanks for the tip :)

  • Darell

    I’m from Texas and we love our cobblers here. Peach cobbler would be nice in jars like this. Open up the lid and place a scoop of blue-bell on top and have it melt down into the jar around those juicy peaches. Thanks for the inspiration Pim!
    …darell

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    You should be careful with baking cobblers in jars like this. Cobblers are baked at higher temperature, and there’s no water bath to temper the baking. Make sure the jars you use are actually heat proof and oven proof to at least 375F.

  • http://www.thepersonalinjurylawyers.com.au Injury Lawyer

    Wow !!!! so beaufitul and health piece!! I wanna try it on friday nit!

  • http://www.kitchennooksets.com Elizabeth

    Excellent Post!!! looks so beautiful. Very nicely done. Great Pictures

  • darell

    Hmmm, probably would use the jars for more of a decorative presentation, maybe warm them up a little, then spoon some of cobbler into them.

  • http://kissmyspatula.com/ my spatula

    brilliant and beautiful idea. love it!

  • http://cocoasensations.com/ Chocolate Gifts

    I just visited this blog today and wow!…it looks delicious..yummy!

  • Lemon Cheesecake

    Absolutely sinful.. Cant wait to have a bite..

  • http://lincolnslunch.blogspot.com/ The History Chef!

    Looks great! Can’t wait to try it!

  • Michelle

    I’ve loved this adorable cake in a jar idea for years, your recipe is so inspiring and beautiful!

  • http://foundbaking.com Kathy Diaz (found baking)

    Wow Pim, I really love this dessert. And the baking in jar idea is brilliant! I have a slight sense of comfort to know that it’s okay to be a “polite thief” as you coined in your post. Thanks for sharing this wonderful looking dessert.

  • http://desigrub.com/ Dgrub

    This looks like a really neat way to make my favorite dessert. Thanks

  • http://www.czarnovel.com/ home jobs

    This has been a very interesting read, would love to read more on this.

  • robin

    wow these look so beautiful cool and delish! I just LOVE cheesecake! I want to make them in some kind of key lime version~ it seems like a shame though to not do something with more layering. since the glass jar is clear and layering would just look so divine!~ :)

  • http://www.purplefoodie.com Shaheen {The Purple Foodie}

    Pim you’re awesome! I’ve tried so many things from you blog and this is the newest thing I’m going to dream of every day (seriously) until I finally succumb to making it. I need to go buy those jars. And then impress my guests with the dessert.

  • Andrea

    This looks like a great recipe and I can’t wait to try it for a big lunch with friends next Sunday. I love your pretty jars but will have to make mine in German Weck jars which should work well too. I used them today for individual Tiramisu with raspberries.
    Am thinking of topping the cheesecakes with our own freshly picked cherries, roasted with rosemay and honey.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  • http://profile.typepad.com/6p013485258db9970c Pretty Beautiful Life

    such a great idea!!!!! but how do i know my bottles / jar would stand the oven heat? =)

  • http://www.kitvy.com Kitvy

    Look yummy. I hope my blog can be like yours. Truly, I’m jealous. :)

  • http://www.select-catering.de catering berlin

    I really like cheesecake. But in these little glasses your cake looks irresistible. I will defenitly try this. Thank you very much for this nice recipe…

  • http://www.tastythailand.blogspot.com Rachel@TastyThailand

    I’ve bookmarked this. Definitely need to try it. Think I could probably do it with a no-bake digestive biscuit crust and a no-bake cheesecake mix too (I’m in Thailand and, as I’m sure you know, most apartments don’t have ovens, so no baking here :) Looks delicious though and I love the idea of putting them in the little mason-style jars.

  • http://kitchenseduction.blogspot.com/ Kitchen Seductress

    I just discovered your blog and i love it! Found it through another bloggers reading list.. love how that happens.
    This is a sexy little recipe with beautiful photo’s.. Going to a have a look around your blog if you dont mind…

  • http://fishfingersandchips.blogspot.com/ Nic

    Fantastic – These look idea. I’d love to bake these myself and sure will be doing soon! Fab photos and a fab recipe – Great work!

  • Cill

    Hi Pim,
    where in Melbourne can we get lemon verbena from?

  • Mirjam of The Netherlands

    This is a recipe I have been waiting for! It looks delicious and wonderful.

  • http://www.kitchenbutterfly.com Kitchen Butterfly

    I’ve got a dessert that would be DELISH in this. This weekend, I was missing a vital component for the recipe and so I put off making it till next weekend. OMW (Oh MY Word), am I glad I did!
    I’ll link back…….I love the way ideas weld together in the blogosphere.

  • Marci Burton

    I want to send this to my dear friend who is getting ready to leave the country on deployment to Afghanistan. His unit is currently in Mississippi training and I live in Iowa. If I were to somehow package this in a refriderated container (dry ice, ice packs etc.) and send it overnight, would they keep? He says he loves cheesecake, and I want to give him something HOMEMADE and from the heart before he begins 12 months of Army life. Anyone have any ideas?!

  • http://www.mirospalmsprings.com restaurant

    Pim that dish is really something. Really worth doing it. thank you so much for the recipe. =)

  • http://profile.typepad.com/pim Pim

    HI Marci,
    How sweet of you.  I'm sure it'll be ok if you overnight it in a cool container.  If I were you I might even freeze the cheesecakes first, then pack with ice.  By the time the package gets there they should thaw but still be cold.  I've never frozen these particular cheesecakes but cheesecakes in general do quite well in the freezer so I think these should as well.
    cheers,
    Pim

  • Ainsley Hill

    I made this recipe last night for a dinner party and people told me it was one of the top things they ate in 2010!! It tasted great and looked fantastic.

  • Janet

    Found this recipe from a link from I don’t know where. But I love the recipe. I’m going to try it out with the next get together for church. Thank you for your wonderful tips

  • Chloeaardse

    what is the brand of rectangulare jars you used?

  • G-lynn

    I don’t know what Cowgirl Creamery cheese is. I’m seeing that I need 1 lb of cream cheese and 8 ounces of this other cheese. Is there a substitute?

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