Fig And Caramel Mini Cheesecakes Recipe

There aren't many desserts more deserving of a restaurant's namesake than the creamy, decadent, smooth delicacy that is cheesecake. Almost always made with lots of cream cheese and a crumbly graham cracker crust, it's a crowd favorite every time (assuming no lactose-averse guests). Though relatively easy on paper, full-size cheesecakes can be tricky to make without deflating, cracking, or drying out. The good news? Mini cheesecakes are nearly foolproof and just as fun to bring to parties (in fact, they're even better). They bake quickly, require no water bath, and can be made with or without special equipment. The perfect dessert!

In this recipe shared by developer Michelle McGlinn, creamy mini cheesecakes are topped with a homemade brandy and fig caramel sauce and sprinkled with crushed pistachios. It's equal parts sweet, nutty, and fruity, and best of all, easier to make than it sounds. If you're short on time or intimidated by caramel, we also have a few easy shortcuts you can use to ensure a painless party prep. Because trust us — you'll be bringing these to every party!

Gather your fig and caramel mini cheesecake ingredients

For the cheesecake ingredients, you'll need graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, melted butter, a little over one package of cream cheese, a scoop of sour cream, granulated white sugar, vanilla, and some eggs. You won't taste the sour cream, but if you want an easy swap, Greek or plain yogurt will do the trick. Otherwise, don't stray too far from these ingredients or your cheesecake might turn out a little funny. If you don't have brown sugar, you can swap it for white, and if you really need to swap the graham, try vanilla wafers instead.

For the caramel, you'll need granulated sugar, butter, heavy whipping cream, and brandy, which will further thin the caramel into a consistency similar to the jarred ice cream topping. You can skip the brandy, just add equal amounts of heavy whipping cream to take its place. Whisk in the fig spread — this is often found near the "fancy cheeses" in large grocery stores or on the shelves near the jams and jellies. If you're in a rush, just stir some of the fig spread into ready-made caramel sauce ice cream topping and thin it with brandy as needed.

Top with a sprinkling of crushed pistachios. If you can find fresh figs, which are fleeting in their seasonality, top the cheesecakes with the halves of the gorgeous fruit. If figs are out of season, try blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries instead.

Bake the crusts

The easiest way to make mini cheesecakes is with a mini cheesecake pan. These look exactly like mini cupcake pans but have removable tart-like bottom discs that pop the cheesecakes out without needing grease or paper liners. These pans are worth splurging a few dollars on if you plan to make cheesecakes often, but the recipe can easily be done with a mini cupcake pan and liners. Just note, with liners, the cheesecakes will have ridges on the sides.

To bake the crusts in either pan, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, butter, and sugar until moistened, then scoop evenly into each cheesecake space. To easily ensure evenness, use a 1-inch cookie scoop or melon baller. Press the graham cracker mixture firmly flat into the spaces using a spoon, muddler, or shot glass. Pop in the oven preheated to 325 F for a few minutes to brown.

Make the cheesecake filling

While the crust bakes and cools, mix together the filling. While this can, with muscle, be done by hand, this is easiest with a stand mixer or electric hand mixer. Mix softened cream cheese and sour cream together, then add the sugar and vanilla, then scrape the sides and add the eggs until very smooth. Remember to scrape the sides one last time to make sure any splatter is incorporated.

Scoop the filling into the baked crusts using a spoon or 2-inch cookie scoop. Fill the cheesecakes just below the top; the filling rises slightly while baking. Throw the cheesecakes back in the oven for 15 minutes, or until set and slightly jiggly.

Melt the sugar for the caramel

We know caramel can be intimidating, but we promise that this one won't be. Grab a heavy-bottomed pot and place it over medium heat. A heavy-bottomed pot will likely be stainless steel and, well, heavy. Using one makes heating sugars and milks easier because it heats evenly, unlike regular thin pots. Pour the sugar in and let it heat, whisking only occasionally. The sugar will first clump up and turn yellowy-brown; have patience, you're on the right track!

Turn the caramel into a sauce

After the clumping step, the sugar will slowly liquify into an amber sauce. Be sure to stay near the stove, especially as the caramel reaches this step: From here, there's a thin line between "ready" and "burnt". Whisk more frequently as the sugar liquifies, and just as it turns caramel-colored, remove it from the heat. Add the butter carefully. The butter will bubble furiously as the cold dairy meets boiling sugar, but just keep whisking as the two opposites fuse together. Once smoothly combined, add the fig spread and heavy cream and whisk until incorporated. Let cool completely before adding the brandy, which will release potent fumes if added too early.

Put it all together

Now's the wait: let both components cool for about 2 hours before putting it all together. Cool the cheesecakes in the refrigerator and let the caramel sauce rest at room temperature in a glass jar.

Once cooled, pop the cheesecakes out of the pan and spoon caramel sauce on top. Sprinkle the crushed pistachios onto the caramel, then top with figs or your fruit of choice. These do best when chilled, so don't leave them at room temperature for more than an hour at a time. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week. If saving excess caramel, store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature to soften.

Fig And Caramel Mini Cheesecakes Recipe
4.9 from 17 ratings
Learn how to make this fig and caramel mini cheesecakes recipe to bring sweet, nutty, and fruity flavor to your next party.
Prep Time
10
minutes
Cook Time
30
minutes
Servings
9
Cheesecakes
finished mini cheesecakes on table
Total time: 40 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 5 tablespoons melted butter
  • 12 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup sour cream, softened
  • ½ cup + 1 cup granulated sugar, separated
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • 2 tablespoons fig spread
  • 1 tablespoon very finely chopped pistachios
  • 6 fresh figs, halved
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. If using a cupcake pan, fill it with paper liners.
  2. In a bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Scoop evenly into 12 sections of the cupcake pan, then press down using a spoon or muddler until flat. Bake for 5 minutes, until lightly toasted.
  3. Meanwhile, combine cream cheese and sour cream using an electric mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until combined, then add sugar and vanilla until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating until very smooth. Scrape sides and mix.
  4. Scoop filling evenly on top of baked graham cracker crusts. Fill to the top, but do not overflow. Shake the pan lightly to even out any bumps.
  5. Bake cheesecakes for 15 minutes, or until just set. Cheesecakes will puff up slightly in the oven. Remove from the heat and let cool completely, then chill for up to 4 hours.
  6. While the cheesecakes are baking, make the caramel sauce. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, heat sugar, whisking occasionally to avoid burning. Sugar will clump into large crystals, then melt into caramel. Watch closely; once sugar has dissolved completely into an amber liquid, remove it from the heat.
  7. Add the butter and allow it to bubble and dissolve into the caramel. Whisk to combine into a sauce. Allow it to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Do not allow it to cool completely.
  8. Once slightly cooled, add heavy cream and fig spread and whisk to combine. If caramel is clumping, whisk slowly over low heat to dissolve.
  9. Once completely cooled, add brandy and whisk to combine. Transfer to a glass jar and store in the refrigerator.
  10. To build cheesecakes, pop cheesecakes out of the pan and top them with a spoonful of caramel sauce. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and a halved fig each. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 497
Total Fat 31.1 g
Saturated Fat 17.5 g
Trans Fat 0.5 g
Cholesterol 120.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 49.1 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 44.3 g
Sodium 202.2 mg
Protein 4.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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