Mini Lemon Cheesecakes with Gingersnap Crust are creamy lemon cheesecakes with a gluten free gingersnap-pecan crust, topped with lemon curd and whipped cream. These cheesecakes are bursting with lemon flavor and are 100% gluten free.
I’m still chin deep in my holiday baking, but that’s not stopping me. Why? Because my list is looonnnnggg, and it seems to keep getting longer. I had big intentions on re-doing photos here on the blog for some of my favorite cookie recipes, and I sure hope to get around to it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. 🙂
I’ve deviated from cookies for just a bit to bring you an elegant holiday dessert that’s bursting with lemon flavor paired with the spicy pop of gingersnap cookies. It’s a match made in heaven, I think. I’ve been dreaming of mini cheesecakes since I made my Mini Salted Caramel Pumpkin Cheesecakes a few months back, and they were such a hit here, I figured you might want more cheesecake action too.
While I love my chocolate desserts, citrus ones are a close second. I have a truck load of key lime desserts here, but surprisingly, only a couple of lemon ones with my Lemon Burst Cookies and Lemon Cream Tart. It was high time for some lemon, and I think with all the dreary weather going around that we could all use some day brightening? These cheesecakes….they’re definitely day brighteners. 🙂
The cheesecakes are a bit lightened up with 1/3 less fat neufchâtel cream cheese. I always use it, and these didn’t suffer one bit from less fat. There’s a bit of sour cream for an added tang, and fresh lemon juice and zest. Lemony goodness.
Just in case the cheesecakes weren’t lemony enough, I topped them with homemade lemon curd, which is one of the best tasting things on the planet. Top that citrusy curd with fresh whipped cream and gingersnap crumbs, and you’ve got one pretty little eye-popping dessert.
I used gluten free store bought gingersnap cookies for the crust to make these gluten free, but you can use your favorite cookie or graham crackers instead. I combined the cookie crumbs with some finely chopped, toasted pecans, which made the perfect crust for our creamy little cheesecakes.
These cheesecakes are a sunny and bright way to liven up your holidays (or any day), with a pop of citrus freshness to match. They’ll be like a ray of light amidst the gray clouds and snowy days. Like I said — they’re little day brighteners — and I think we could all use a little dose of that right about now. 🙂
There’s still time to enter for a chance to win a $300 Amazon card! Click here to check it out.
- ¾ cups gingersnap cookie crumbs, pulsed in a food processor (I used Pamela's gluten free brand), plus more for garnish*
- ¼ cup finely chopped toasted pecans*
- 4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter, melted
- pinch of salt
- 8 ounces softened cream cheese (I used ⅓ less fat neufchâtel)
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons full fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons room temperature unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1½ tablespoons lemon zest
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the inserts into the bottom of each of the (12) cavities of a mini cheesecake pan, and spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place the gingersnap crumbs, pecans, and pinch of salt in a small bowl and stir to combine. Add the butter and stir until the mixture is well coated with butter. Drop 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the mixture into the each of the (12) cavities, and press down firmly with the back of a teaspoon. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack while you make the filling.
- Beat the cream cheese in a medium bowl until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar, egg, sour cream, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla, and beat until smooth and well combined. Fill each cavity with the filling as evenly as possible, and bake on the middle rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes or until set but slightly wobbly in the center. Begin checking for doneness after 10 minutes, as oven temperatures vary considerably.
- Cool 20 minutes on a wire rack, then using your finger, push up through the hole in the bottom of each cheesecake and remove each one. Use a knife to loosen the sides if necessary -- I didn't have to. Remove the metal insert if they're easy to remove at this point, and cool completely in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
- Place a medium bowl set with a medium sized fine mesh strainer over it and set aside. Place the sugar, eggs, and lemon juice in a heat proof bowl and whisk until combined. Place over a saucepan of simmering (not boiling) water and stir constantly until the curd thickens to the consistency of sour cream, about 10 minutes. Pour the curd into the strainer and push it through as necessary to remove any bits of egg or lumps. Stir the softened butter into the curd until combined, then add the zest. Let stand at room temperature until cool -- the mixture will thicken more as it cools. Store in the refrigerator in an air tight container with plastic wrap until ready to use.
- Place the heavy whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat on medium high speed until soft peaks begin to form. Remove the whisk attachment and whisk just a bit more by hand until you've reached the desired consistency.
- Place the cheesecakes on a serving tray. Top each with a dollop of lemon curd, and pipe the whipped cream decoratively over the top of the curd. Garnish with the reserved gingersnap crumbs and enjoy!
If you want to make your crust nut free, omit the pecans and substitute with an equal amount of gingersnap crumbs.
If you're not gluten intolerant, you may substitute with graham cracker crumbs or regular gingersnap cookies.
Cheesecake recipe by Flavor the Moments.
Lemon curd recipe adapted from Joy of Baking.