Mini No Bake Cheesecake with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

We've (Moses, Vienna, and I) have been pretty busy as of late. Moses has been working on all sorts of fun projects, most of which I don't fully understand, but I'm still proud of everything he's doing. In case it wasn't clear, he's a creative director, and does loads all sorts of wonderful computer magic projects (small scale example: he designed my logo). Vienna's been working on her sun tan and taking lots of naps, though I limit her sun-time for her health, so she spends most of her time napping. I have been writing, researching, cooking, and listening to podcasts. I think I'm gonna take it to the next level and move on to books on tape... thoughts? I'm also getting ready to head to Maui and Oʻahu next week for my first book research trip! 

Earlier this week, Moses' brother and new sister-in-law came for a quick little visit.  I obviously made a big batch of mochiko chicken and lots of rice for dinner one night, and Moses' brother made chili and potato mac salad. We also ordered pho and sushi via Caviar and Postmates, different night, swear! And before you go thinking that all we do is work and never leave the house, last week Friday, we made our way down to the Forum to see John Mayer. I have to say, that man's got skills and lots of guitars. I think he had a different guitar for every song he performed and I think the concert was something like 2 1/2 to 3 hours long! Oh and the night before we went (out!) to a really awesome dinner. Our friend Sid gave us two tickets to Wolfgang Puck's new venture called The Rogue Experience, where we spent the night watching awesome chefs prepare 12 courses right in front of us. If you're in the LA area, and have a few hours to spare, it's a wonderful experience (HUGE THANKS, SID)! 

I've been working on narrowing down the recipes for my book and in doing so, I'm reminded of a) how much I love cooking and b) how much I specifically love cooking good food that doesn't require a lot of fuss. These mini no bake cheesecakes aren't a new concept, but they are loads of fun to make and such a great dessert for the warmer months. They use a magical combination of goat cheese, crème fraîche, and mascarpone instead of your typical American cream cheese. The combination of the three makes for a truly luxurious, and extra creamy and cheesy goodness. And if you take a look at the ingredient list, you'll find that this recipe is all about letting good ingredients, like exquisite Vermont Creamery dairy, shine. 

After complaining the other day on Instagram about how I can't find rhubarb or ramps in LA, I found both at my local Whole Foods. So, I naturally snatched them up as quick as possible--I felt like a shopaholic at a designer sample sale. One of my favorite ways to use rhubarb is to make a big batch of strawberry rhubarb compote for my morning yogurt, ice cream topping, and of course to spoon over mini cheesecakes! If you can't find rhubarb, just use strawberries! And if you can't find strawberries, use the fruit you can find! The whole point of this recipe is to make dessert as simple (and as tasty) as possible! And since you're mini-fying cheesecake, it's pretty much guilt-free! 

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Mini No Bake Cheesecake
with Strawberry Rhubarb Compote

Makes 6 (4 ounce) mini cheesecakes

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 oz. graham crackers (about 5 rectangles); I used cinnamon graham crackers
  • 3 Tbsp. lightly salted butter or unsalted butter plus a pinch of salt) melted
  • 4 oz. fresh goat cheese log, at room temperature
  • 4 oz. crème fraîche
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 8 oz. mascarpone
  • 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • Pinch of salt

COMPOTE

  • 6 oz. fresh strawberries, diced into small cubes, divided
  • 1 stalk fresh rhubarb, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cardamom

TOOLS

  • Food processor
  • 6 (4 ounce) jars
  • Mixer
  • Zester
  • Small saucepan
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small glass bowl

FIX

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers until fine and sandy. Conversely, you can place the crackers in a double ziplock bag and crush them using a rolling pin or empty bottle of wine. Pour melted butter over the sandy mixture and mix together with a fork until the graham cracker crumbs are evenly coated in butter. Spoon into six jars, distributing evenly amongst all jars, then pat down lightly if desired (I didn't). 
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the goat cheese, creme fraiche, and lemon zest and juice, and whisk on medium until throughly combined. Add the mascarpone, granulated sugar, vanilla bean paste, and a pinch of salt and whisk until smooth. Evenly distribute the mixture, spooning the mixture over the graham crackers, into the six jars. Cover with lids and transfer to the fridge. 

COMPOTE

  1. Toss 4 ounces of diced strawberries, reserving the remaining 2 ounces for topping,  with the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium low. Mix and mash the fruit a bit with a wooden spoon and let cook for 10-15 more minutes or until the mixture is soft but still in pieces. Remove from heat and transfer to a small glass bowl or container to cool. Once it's at room temperature, spoon over the cheesecake mixture, distributing evenly. Sprinkle the reserved strawberries on top then cover and chill until ready to serve.
  2. Serve and enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Vermont Creamery. All words and opinions are my own, like the fact that they make my favorite crème fraîche!