While the cheesecakes were chilling out in the fridge after being baked, I had an epiphany - why not make a topping using fruits that symbolized good fortune for Chinese New Year? I just happened to pick up frozen pineapple bits on my grocery run, and what else was in the fridge? One lone orange. So it was decided - pineapple-orange compote. With a splash of Grand Marnier, this cheesecake goes from simple, healthy treat to an indulgent and classy dessert perfect for the Year of the Dragon celebrations!
What's even better is that I was able to make the crust gluten-free
, so there was absolutely no guilt in eating more than one of these mini cheesecakes in one sitting... not that I did that of course. Even the yogurt was fat-free so why stop after one? Oh, right... these were supposed to be dessert at our Chinese New Year family dinner. oops.
Happy Chinese/Lunar New Year to all of my friends celebrating ~ may it be filled with lots of good food, hong baos (red envelopes) and great blessings!
Mini Honey Yogurt Cheesecakes & Pineapple-Orange Compote
Don't let the lengthy recipe fool you - these cheesecakes can be whipped up in no time especially since there's no waiting for ingredients to come to room temperature, like with traditional cheesecakes. The compote can be made a day in advance if you're serving these for a party or taking them to a potluck.
Yield: 12 mini cheecakes (baked in standard-size cupcake pan)
For the almond crust:
5 tablespoons melted butter
5 tablespoons sugar
2 ½ cups almond meal or almond flour
For the cheesecake:
2 cups Honey-flavored Greek yogurt (I used Chobani)
scant 2/3 cup sugar (use full ⅔ cup if using plain yogurt)
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cornstarch
For the compote:
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped and reserved
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 cups frozen pineapple bits
For the crust:
Heat oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin/cupcake pan with paper liners.
In a medium microwave-able bowl, melt butter in 30-second increments. Then stir in sugar and almond meal until combined. Scoop scant 1 tablespoon of almond mixture into each cupcake liner and press evenly into bottom with fingers.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust begins to brown. Remove from oven and set aside.
For the cheesecake:
Keep oven at 350 F.
In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla until smooth. Add cornstarch and salt, continue to whisk until fully blended. Using a scant ¼ cup, pour batter over crust - filling each cup about ¾ full. Bake for 25-35 minutes. Cheesecakes will be done when sides pull away from pan and center is still slightly soft. Let cool then refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water, Grand Marnier, orange zest, juice, and vanilla beans. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the pineapple and and continue to simmer on medium heat until liquid has reduced to a syrupy consistency and the pineapple is soft.