Mexican Ricotta Cheesecakes with Apple and Cranberry Compote
- 5 ounces (9 whole crackers) cinnamon-sugar graham crackers
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (from a 14-ounce can)
- 1 cup fresh requeson or ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest (from 1 small orange)
- Apple Cranberry Compote, recipe follows
- Special equipment: 1 silicone 12 (1/2 cup) muffin mold
- Apple-Cranberry Compote:
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place an oven-proof container with 2 cups water in the lower rack of the oven (this will create steam and help to prevent the cheesecakes from cracking).
Put the graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor and process to crumbs (about 2 cups). Add the butter and process until well combined.
Divide the crumbs among the 12 muffin cups, patting them tightly with your fingers. Put the pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust until golden, about 5 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 10 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and condensed milk until smooth and pale, and then beat in the requeson and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the orange zest and mix until just combined. Pour the custard into the cooled crusts.
Bake until the cheesecakes are puffed and golden and a tester inserted 1 inch from the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool on a rack at room temperature for 35 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Carefully unmold each cheesecake and place on a platter. Bring to room temperature before serving.
Top each cheesecake with Apple Cranberry Compote, if desired, before serving.Apple-Cranberry Compote:
In a small heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Add the apples, cranberries and cinnamon and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples are tender and the cranberries are plump, about 8 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
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