Mini Pear-Ginger Cheesecakes With Gingersnap Crust

Makes 24 minicheesecakes. Recipe is from CanolaInfo.

For the cheesecake:

1/2 cup water

8 dried pear halves, chopped (dried apples can be substituted)

1?3 cup crystallized ginger

3 (8-oz.) pkgs. low-fat cream cheese, room temperature

2 eggs, lightly beaten

3/4 cup sugar

For the crust:

40 gingersnap cookies, processed to form crumbs, about 2 cups

3 tbls. canola oil

2 tbls. brown sugar

2 tbls. sugar

2 tsps. salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a medium saucepan, bring water, pears or apples and ginger to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 12 minutes until water is absorbed and pears or apples are softened.

2. In a food processor, process pears and ginger until a coarse paste forms, then cool about 10 minutes. While the paste is cooling, make the crust.

3. To make crust, combine all ingredients. Spray cheesecake pans with canola oil, then divide crumb mixture evenly among minicheesecake pans and press firmly into the bottom. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown around edges. Remove from oven and set on a wire rack to cool completely.

4. Reduce oven temperature to 250 degrees.

5. While crusts are cooling, continue making cheesecake filling. In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and pear or apple paste together on low until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Add sugar and beat until smooth, frequently scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Transfer filling into a liquid measuring cup or pitcher and pour into crusts, dividing evenly.

6. Place in oven and bake 30 minutes until the filling is set. Remove from oven and set on wire rack about 1 hour to cool completely. Then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before removing cheesecakes from pan.

7. To serve, garnish cheesecakes with crystallized ginger.