These little cheesecakes are so good. They are baked in a water bath (simple, don't worry) which makes them wonderfully creamy. They have a homemade graham cracker crust (again, simple, don't worry). Maybe you're thinking that the Nilla Wafer in the bottom is so easy, why make the graham cracker crust? Let me tell you--the homemade crust whips up in minutes. And the results? A rich, buttery, crunch. You'll be converted after one bite.
adapted from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers (about 12 sheets; use a mini chopper or food processor)
3 T unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups plus 5 T sugar
1 container (6 ounces) fresh raspberries (I made half with raspberry, half blueberry)
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
pinch of salt
1 t pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line standard muffin tins (makes 24) with paper liners. Stir together ground graham crackers, butter, and 3 T sugar. Measure 1 tablespoon of crust mixture into each lined cup. Flatten with the back of a plain (not measuring) spoon. Bake until set, about 5-7 minutes. Transfer tins to a wire rack to cool.
Process raspberries (or blueberries) in a food processor until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve or mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing with a flexible spatula to remove as much liquid as possible; discard solids. Whisk in 2 T sugar.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese until fluffy, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With mixer on low speed, add remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar in a steady stream. Add salt and vanilla; mix until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined after each.
Spoon filling mixture evenly (about 4 tablespoons each) over crust in each cup. Dollop 1/2 teaspoon of berry puree in a few spots over each. With a toothpick, swirl sauce into filling.
Prepare your water bath. (I made them twice and this way was the easiest). Put large rimmed cookie sheets (half sheet pans) in oven. (I put them on two different racks). With pitcher or teapot, fill each about half way with hot tap water. Place each tin in a cookie sheet.
Bake, rotating pans halfway through (carefully...try not to slosh the water), until filling is set, about 30 minutes. Carefully remove tins from water bath and transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate (in tins) at least 4 hours (or out of tins up to five days in airtight containers). Remove from tins just before serving.