Thursday, July 15, 2010

Raspberry Heaven

I decided to be "the best little pastor's wife in the world," and made mini-cheesecakes with raspberry jam, for the Elders meeting tonight at the church where my husband serves.

I'm not a great pastor's wife. I don't play the organ or sew or serve on the funeral reception committee or play with peoples babies or even find women's groups, particularly enjoyable. Instead, I play the drums and make inappropriate jokes and wonder why church casseroles always have to include cottage cheese. I encourage churches to hire nursery staff and would rather sit at home watching "So You Think You Can Dance."

Yeah. I'm not so good at the clergy-spouse bit.

So occasionally, I'll try to pocket some brownie points by baking treats for the Elders or the Board. I was inspired by The Pioneer Woman, Betty Crocker, and Martha Stewart for this recipe.

What you'll need:

For the crust
1 Cup pecans (finely crushed)
4 Cups vanilla wafers (finely crushed)
2/3 Stick butter

For the cheesecake
2 Packages cream cheese (softened)
1 Package low-fat cream cheese (softened)
1 Cup sugar
4 Eggs
1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 Cup low-fat sour cream

For the topping
Previously prepared raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350*.

Melt the butter, add vanilla (stir together), then add your finely crushed pecans and wafers, stirring until coated. Put a good tablespoon of "crust" in each cupcake liner and using a juice glass, press down until it's good and "tight." (It sounds like I'm describing an exercise move. But then, we all know that's not possible, as I'd rather make cheesecake, than exercise.)

In your mixer or a large bowl, add the cream cheeses and the sugar and beat until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until incorporated fully. Scrape everything down and throw in the sour cream, mixing well.

Pour cheesecake batter into prepared liners and fill 3/4 full. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the the tops of the cheesecakes juuuust begin to crack. Let them cool on the counter, still in the cupcake pans, for about 5 minutes. The middles will sink just a bit (and if anyone out there can tell me how to make this NOT happen, I'd appreciate it). While they cakes are still warm, spoon about a tablespoon of raspberry jam into the sink-hole. Let them cool completely on the counter and then store in the fridge for up to, two days.

You'll die when you eat these. And unlike yesterday, you'll be convinced you went to heaven. Perfect for this pastor's wife. Just don't expect me to host the reception.

A+ all around... husband, elders, and myself. Now if you'll excuse me, Alex is about to dance.

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