The best thing about these Gluten Free Lemon Ricotta Mini Cheesecakes is that you can enjoy one now and save the rest for later…if they last that long!
ME BEFORE THE RECIPE…
Emry has been on a dairy free diet for nearly two weeks. We’re attempting to see if dairy aggravates her allergies more. The poor kid deals with congestion constantly. So far…it’s NOT working…AT ALL.
I mean, why would it? That would be too simple, right? Cut out dairy and everything gets all better. I’m not going to lie, I secretly prayed that eliminating my favorite food group would do absolutely nothing for her because the thought of preparing a gluten free AND dairy free diet for my family literally gave me anxiety.
But, since the dairy experiment is proving to be worthless, we may have to go the allergy shots route. All I can say is that it’s a good thing Emry will be the one facing weekly shots and not Braelyn because that poor nurse would surely quit her job within seconds of pricking Braelyn with a needle. In which Braelyn would adamantly argue that punching the nurse in the face was an involuntary muscle response.
So, it was actually pretty amusing when we began our no dairy process. Emry was THRILLED to be the subject of observation. Even after informing her of ALL the foods she could no longer eat (milk, chocolate, butter, yogurt, cheese…), she still sported an excited grin on her face. She then proceeded to tell every neighbor, friend, teacher, grandparent, etc. that she was no longer eating dairy. Weird.
But then I realized her unusual enthusiasm toward the situation stemmed from feeling like she was finally in the spotlight instead of Braelyn. She has lived her entire life listening to what Braelyn can or cannot eat, and now we’re doting over her diet. She feels special.
Except now, two weeks later, the novelty is slowly wearing off. She’s tired of missing out on a few of her favorite foods: milk in her cereal (she was NOT an almond milk fan), butter on her toast (coconut oil just doesn’t have the same flare), after school nachos (there is just NO replacement for real ooey gooey melty cheese), and frozen yogurt for our Friday fun days.
Just the other day she was getting extra frustrated that Braelyn was enjoying a glass of milk while she sat and drank water. She let out a little whimper under her breath, “It’s not fair!” to which Braelyn responded with one of the most hilarious comebacks I’ve ever heard.
Without a second of hesitation, Braelyn looked at her sister and blurted out, “Life isn’t always fair Emry! Like one day, I’ll probably make more money than you. I’ll have a better job and a bigger house and you’ll just have to deal with it, okay?!”
Well that’s some confidence, now isn’t it?! Braelyn better pull through with those future plans or else that comment will come back to bite her when Emry is vegging out in her mansion counting her millions.
HERE COMES THE RECIPE…
One of the last desserts Emry enjoyed before going dairy free were these Gluten Free Lemon Ricotta Mini Cheesecakes. Or in other words, goddess of all the cheesecakes. Seriously.
These gluten free lemon ricotta mini cheesecakes are hands down one of the best desserts I have ever made. Like most of my tastiest creations, it all started on a whim and a desire to clean out the fridge.
I didn’t have enough ingredients to make a full cheesecake (neither did I want to make an entire cheesecake for just our family), so I improvised after remembering I owned a set of these mini cheesecake springform pans. Three cheesecakes are always better than one!
With a few eggs, a scoop of ricotta, a lemon or two, and a dollop of sweetened sour cream, these cheesecakes turned out beyond perfect. They were pleasantly sweet with a tart bite from the fresh lemon zest and creamy sour cream topping. Paired with a handful of juicy blueberries, a drizzle of raw honey, and a sprinkle of toasted pistachios, these mini cheesecakes took the cake!
If you don’t own mini cheesecake pans, you can double the recipe for the crust and sour cream topping and quadruple the recipe for the cheesecake filling. Increase the bake time for the crust to 12-15 minutes and the filling to 60-70 minutes (adding sour cream topping the last 10 minutes of cooking). Then crack open the oven and allow the cheesecake to completely cool.
These gluten free lemon ricotta mini cheesecakes really are the perfect size for sharing. Each mini cheesecake can feed 2-3 people. If you don’t own mini cheesecake pans, I highly recommend a set. They’re perfect for making mini cakes and cheesecakes if you’re not in the mood to feed an entire army.
And one more tip, these cheesecakes freeze flawlessly! So if you plan on only devouring one cheesecake at a time, cover the other two (without blueberries, honey, or pistachios) with plastic wrap and stick in the freezer for up to three months or until your next craving hits.
Man, now I’m getting anxious for our dairy free days to be over because these gluten free lemon ricotta mini cheesecakes are calling my name. It won’t be long before these bad boys are finding space in my fridge. Cheesecake all day every day!
YOU MIGHT ALSO ENJOY…
- Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Cheesecake
- Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Oreo Cheesecake Bars
- Gluten Free Honey Orange Ginger Cheesecake
- Gluten Free Lemon Bars
- Gluten Free Lemon Almond Pound Cake
Gluten Free Lemon Ricotta Mini Cheesecakes
For the graham cracker crust:
- 1 1/4 cups gluten free graham cracker crumbs I used Schar brand
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- dash salt
For the lemon cheesecake filling:
- 8 ounces cream cheese softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg large
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
- splash almond extract
- pinch salt
- 2 teaspoons lemon zest about 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice about 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
For the sour cream topping:
- 2/3 cup full fat sour cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- pinch salt
- splash vanilla
- splash almond extract
For the toppings:
- 1/2 cup blueberries
- 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
To make the graham cracker crust:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line the outside bottom and up sides of springform pans with a double layer of foil. NOT the inside of the pan. This just assures nothing leaks out. Set aside.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Mix until evenly distributed. Add melted butter and mix with fork until all crumbs are moist.
- Fill bottom and halfway up sides of cheesecake pans with crumb mixture to about 1/8″ thickness, pressing down firmly to hold crust in place. Freeze any extra crumb mixture for another use.
- Place pans on a baking rack and bake for 8-10 minutes until crust is deep golden brown but not burnt.
- Remove from oven and let cool while making lemon cheesecake filling.
To make lemon cheesecake filling:
- Beat together cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Add egg and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla, almond extract, salt, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Beat until smooth. Add ricotta and mix on low until well combined.
- Pour filling over slightly cooled crust. Return to oven and bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes, adding the sour cream topping the last 10 minutes of cooking.
To make sour cream topping:
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk all ingredients together until smooth. Set aside until last 10 minutes of baking. Carefully open oven door and gently divide topping over cheesecakes. Smooth gently with back of spoon. Close oven door and continue baking remaining 10 minutes.
- Gently remove cheesecakes from oven and let cool completely on cooling rack. Run a knife around the edges of cheesecake. Remove foil from outside of pan. Cover cheesecakes with plastic wrap and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours.
- Remove cheesecakes from fridge 20 minutes before ready to serve. Run knife along edges of cheesecake. Carefully loosen springform pan and remove ring. Using a spatula, place cheesecakes on small plates and top with a handful of blueberries. Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in fridge for up to one week or in freezer for up to 3 months.*