Mini Pear-Ginger Cheesecakes With Gingersnap Crust

Makes 24 minicheesecakes. Recipe is form CanolaInfo Virtual Test Kitchen, which says, “These individual cheesecakes are a healthier twist on the classic dessert with dried pears, gingersnaps and canola oil. Sugar plums will be dancing in your head with each bite!”

Cheesecake:

½ cup water

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

1?3 cup crystallized ginger

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

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup granulated sugar

Crust:

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

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 F.

2. In medium saucepan, bring water, dried pears (or dried apples) and crystallized ginger to simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 12 minutes until water is absorbed and pears softened.

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

4. To make crust: combine all crust ingredients. Spray miniature cheesecake pans with oil. Divide crumb mixture evenly among minicheesecake pans and press firmly into bottom. (The cheesecakes can be also made in nonstick minimuffin tins that are sprayed well with canola oil and/or lined with cupcake holders.)

5. Bake crusts for 8 to 10 minutes until golden brown around edges. Remove from oven and set on wire rack and cool completely.

6. Reduce oven temperature to 250 F.

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

8. Place in oven and bake about 30 minutes until 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.

9. To serve, garnish cheesecakes with crystallized ginger.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 200 calories, 7 grams total fat, 2.5 grams saturated fat, 30 milligrams cholesterol, 350 milligrams sodium, 80 milligrams potassium, 28 grams carbohydrates, 1 gram fiber, 19 grams sugar, 5 grams protein.