Mini Cheesecakes with Cherry Topping
These rich and creamy individual cheesecakes feature a gorgeous crown of plump, juicy Bing cherries.
For the Crust
- 20 graham crackers
- 10 tablespoons butter, melted; plus more, room temperature, for the pans
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch coarse salt
For the Cheesecakes
- 3 1/2 pounds (seven 8-ounce packages) cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
For the Cherry Topping
- 4 pounds cherries (Bing, or other large, dark cherries)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon powdered gelatin
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides of 12 4-inch springform pans. Wrap exterior of pans (including base) in a double layer of foil.
To make crust, process graham crackers in food processor until fine. Add butter, sugar, and salt; pulse until combined. Divide mixture evenly among pans and pat into an even layer using the bottom of a measuring cup or mallet. Place pans on a baking sheet. Bake until the crust is firm to the touch and deeply golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the cheesecake batter: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides as needed.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and flour. With mixer on low speed, gradually add sugar mixture to cream cheese; mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined; do not overmix.
Pour cream cheese filling into the prepared pans. Set pans inside two large, shallow roasting pans. Carefully ladle boiling water into roasting pans to reach halfway up sides of springform pans.
Bake until cakes are set but still slightly wobbly in the center, 15 to 20 minutes. Turn off oven; leave cakes in oven with the door slightly ajar, 1 hour. Transfer pans to a wire rack; let cakes cool completely. Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 6 hours or overnight.
Make the cherry topping: Pit cherries and place a pound of them in food processor; pulse with sugar and lemon. Blend until smooth, then strain mixture through fine-mesh sieve.
Pour 1 cup cherry puree into a small saucepan. Sprinkle with gelatin and let sit for 10 minutes. When gelatin is bloomed, place over medium to high heat and stir until dissolved.
Combine cherry gelatin mixture, reserved cherry puree, and whole cherries. Spoon mixture over mini cheesecakes, about 5 or 6 cherries on each cheesecake and 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours.