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Prickly Pear Mini Cheesecakes with Ganache Topping

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Prickly Pear Mini Cheesecakes with Ganache Topping

Serves: 2        
Approx cost: €2        
Approx calories (per Mini Cheesecake):  ~340      
Approx preparation time: 30 mins      

G reetings everyone. I have an announcement to make. I’ve been cheated! Who is the heinous perpetrator, you may ask? The French language, I tell you! I was in the store last night (incidentally I finally bought some Okra… yay! Stay tuned to hear how that went!) and what should I see but a whole stack of exotic looking, and rather enticingly named fruits: “Figue de Barbarie”. Hell yeah, I thought… I freaking LOVE figs, and I’m all up for trying new varieties. I load a bag full of them, my little head brimming with the thought of stuffing them into my mouth, delicious fig juice running down my chin. Well, call me stupid – it would seem that these are nothing like “figs”. Indeed, in English they’re actually known as Prickly Pears, or Cactus Pears. Perfectly pleasant little fruits, but certainly not figs! … sigh, oh well. You live and learn! In any case, as I said, they’re not half bad. They have a lot of very hard little seeds inside, but you can just swallow those things down (or store them up in your cheek like a squirrel and machine-gun them out at a passing pet / sibling / child etc (if anyone asks, that wasn’t my idea!)). They’re not too sweet so they actually go really well in a dish like this, although you could equally make them into a savoury dish.

So there you go – don’t be tricked by these next time you’re out and about! In other news, 2 days from now I’ll be drawing the winner for my 100th post giveaway, so good luck in advance to all the people who’ve taken part! Enjoy these little no-bake, miniature cheesecakes. I often find that one big cheesecake is too much. You feel obliged to eat it and let’s face it, cheesecake isn’t the most healthy of dishes! This is all about portion control. It can be whipped up in about 20-30 minutes and really doesn’t cost that much to make. Plus, individual always looks more fancy than one giant one doesn’t it? I guess you don’t even need to put fake-fig on top either… you could equally put other fruit, berries, chocolate etc – the choice is yours! Hope you’re having a good Sunday!

Ingredients

Prickly Pear Mini Cheesecakes with Ganache Topping ingredients

  • ~90g Cream Cheese
  • 20g Butter
  • 20g good quality Plain Chocolate
  • 2 tbsps Cream
  • 3-4 “Digestive” style biscuits (graham crackers in US)
  • 1 Prickly Pear
  • 1 zest from half a Lemon
  • 2 tsps Honey

Instructions

  1. Start off by smashing up the biscuits until they reach a fine crumb. Melt the butter and mix well into the biscuit crumb.Mixing butter with the biscuit crust
  2. Next, mix the honey and lemon zest in with the cream cheese, whisking well to make the cheese more manageable.Mixing the cheese
  3. Now we’ll move on to “building” the cheesecakes. I find a small cookie cutter is just perfect for building individual cakes and so forth. Lay it flat on the plate and place half of the cookie mixture at the bottom. Press it out firmly with a spoon to compact it down. Spoon out half the cream cheese mixture on top and spread it around carefully, pressing it down, to cover the base. Gently lift the cookie cutter away, applying a little down force on the cream cheese with the back of a spoon to stop the cheese also being lifted away.Forming the cheesecakes
  4. To prepare the prickly pear, trim the top and bottom away from the fruit and then make a cut from top to bottom on the flesh on the outside. Put your thumbs in the cut and peel it back to expose the fruit inside. Chop the “pear” into thin slices and arrange on top of the individual cheesecakes, before refrigerating them for 30 minutes or so, prior to serving.Peeling the Prickly Pear
  5. For the ganache, place the chocolate into a small pan and heat very gently. When almost melted, add in the butter and continue to heat very gently, stirring all the time. When the butter has melted, add in the cream and mix, continuing to heat. You should notice the consistency change to become thicker.Making the ganache
  6. You can serve the ganache anyway you like – personally I decided to “pipe” it out. I don’t have a piping bag so I find if you take a strong food-safe bag, like a freezer bag, place the ganache into the corner and cut a tiny corner off you can “pipe” with it in a similar fashion. Serve over, or with the refrigerated cheesecakes and enjoy!Prickly Pear Mini Cheesecakes with Ganache Topping

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16 Comments

  1. Charles… first, I have to say how fantastic your photography is – lighting, composition, the whole bit – does this have something to do with that great book you and Kristy have been hiding from me? :) Do share! Hilarious about the cactus pear – I would have thought the same – a different variety of fig but what a perfect mistake – these little cheesecakes look amazing! Lemon, chocolate, honey… OH MY…these may get bumped ahead of the ginger cookies. I agree with the sizing; ideal. That last photo Charles… wow!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much Kelly! I'm learning a lot from the book I got – The book is Plate to Pixel if you're interested in checking it out – it's *really* helpful – giving me all sorts of tips and tricks :)

      Thanks so much for the kind comments – let me know if you try the cheesecakes :)

      Reply
      • Just ordered Plate to Pixel. Got a new camera this weekend that is my first non point and click. WATCH OUT!! – ha-ha…

        Reply
        • Nice, thanks for letting me know! What sort of camera did you get? Looking forward to seeing the results :)

      • I love Helene's book; her pictures are so GORGEOUS!

        Reply
  2. Charles, I had no idea it is called prickly pear in English! In Italy, where it grows (in Sicily) it's called fico d'India (Indian fig), so the French name somehow sounds more logical…
    I love the prickly pear photo! Next time you have a 7 links challenge, think about this picture for the first link ;-)
    Your cheesecake looks wonderful and very original. You have been extremely creative here! Congratulations!
    I admit I have never tasted prickly pears and I wouldn't have any idea of what to do with them apart from eating raw.
    Your adventure reminds me the incident I will never forget in a British grocery shop (there is one in France, not far from Switzerland). Of course most products are a total rip-off, but I have discovered some nice things such as malt vinegar or nice cheese I have forgotten the name of… Anyway, one day I looked through the dried fruit section and saw dried currants. I thought "wow, this is original!" (of course you know what follows!). Since there was no image on the box and the box wasn't transparent I asked the cashier in English if these were really currants and not raisins, and she said "yes, of course, these are not raisins". I have bought a small amount of dried raisins packed in UK for the price of at least a kilo of the same packed in Switzerland. I am sure that many Britons (especially those who don't cook much) have no idea what is the difference between what they find as dried currants and REAL currants…
    About the cheesecake being no healthy??? My cheesecakes are really very healthy, but I don't make the American-style ones with – sorry, but for me bland – Philadelphia, but Polish/Russian style, which means I use mixed curd cheese ("fromage blanc" in French supermarkets). Try it one day and you'll see how lovely a light and healthy cheesecake may be :-) It's also used in baked cheesecakes and they have this pleasant tangy side the American cheesecakes don't have.

    Reply
    • Hi Sissi, thanks very much! I'll consider this next time the "7 links challenge" does the rounds on the blogs :D Should make a special category – ingredient which ended up being most disappointing but still worked out being ok in the end" :D Would you believe I've never made a "cooked" cheesecake though? All my life I've had only no-cook cheesecakes, so a cooked cheesecake is definitely on my to-do list!

      Aw, I can't believe you got screwed out of your cash by ignorant labelling processes – I'd be pretty mad if I bought currants and found out I'd bought a box full of raisins or sultanas. Could you take them back or was it too late?

      You know, I've never been a huge fan of Fromage Blanc – They have all these things in France – Fromage Blanc, Faisselle, Creme Fraiche… I'm never sure when to use what type of thing, so in the end I just avoid it. I know that Fromage Blanc usually tastes like yoghurt, so I never understand why one wouldn't just buy yoghurt. I will try it next time though – it will definitely make a healthier cheesecake, that's for sure!

      Reply
      • Wow!!! I was going to say I have probably surprised you with the quickness of my answer, but I have got blown away opening your website! This layout is so beautiful, clear, sophisticated and elegant! I adore it! You have made a great job! It was an excellent idea to change it (not that I didn't like the previous one, of course).

        Going back to cheesecake, I think I'll post my baked cheesecake recipe and maybe it will encourage you ;-) The strawberry mousse I have posted some time ago (and which I kept on making all Summer) is also made with fromage blanc. It doesn't really taste like yogurt and is thicker… Faisselle is different. I don't like it. Actually, the best way to make a cheesecake is with mixed curd cheese, but in Paris this can be bought only in the Polish shop, in the Xth arrondissement. Made with this cheese, the cheesecake beats all the cheesecakes in the world!

        Now back to currants. Actually most traditional British recipes calling for raisins have "currants" in the ingredients' list! I have seen it in the Jane Grigson's books and other British cookery books… I still don't know why they are called currants. I simply didn't have the idea at the time…

        I am still amazed by your new, fresh layout! I think I will take a walk around it :-) Congratulations, Charles!!!

        Reply
        • Thanks Sissi – the old look was getting a bit "busy" for my tastes. I wanted to go a bit more minimalistic :) I spent, quite literally, the entire day sorting out errant posts and menus so it's nice to be able to go to bed having it "all done"!

          I'd love to see your cheesecake recipe – it will definitely act as excellent inspiration to do my own, and if it's not too unhealthy then my wife and I will be able to munch it without any guilt! :)

  3. First off, love the new look. Secondly, so glad you found gambo (that's right, right?) And finally, when life hands you prickly pears this is exactly what you should make!

    Reply
    • Thanks Greg! I was going to make the Okra (your fried okra recipe) on Friday but we ended up being terribly lazy and going out to eat steak instead! I think I'll try and make it on Tuesday instead! :)

      Reply
  4. I love this recipe…The Indian fig? will the dry figs I have brought over from India work? sounds like a brilliant idea to make mini-cheesecakes…Love your photography…the pictures are really beautiful…I have just been given a voucher from work for amazon…Now, I know where I will be spending it…

    Reply
  5. Oh Charles I LOVE the new layout. I don't think I can tell you that enough.. this totally fits you. Now onto the Pear Mini Cheesecakes… perfect. I love this and I can't wait to present this to my mom for a future dessert :)

    Reply
  6. Hey Charles, do you recognise that black and maroon bowl anywhere else?

    No?

    Sure?

    Take a look here.

    And know it's my favourite bowl ever. I eat anything and almost everything in it! :D

    Reply
    • Wait wait, you should also know that I have TWO :P heheheheee

      Reply
      • Haha, they're great bowls aren't there. I have two at home too, and another 4 or 6 in my parents' garage in England – slightly bigger ones. I think I got them all from a previous girlfriend. She was Japanese and you can buy these bowls in 100-Yen shops in Japan. They're so versatile, and pretty too!

        Reply

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