Individual No-Bake Cheesecakes with Apricot Sauce
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
7 ounces graham crackers (about 13)
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
8 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature
6 ounces crème fraîche *
2/3 cup sifted confectioner's sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Apricot Purée, recipe follows
Line six cups of a jumbo muffin pan with plastic wrap. Set aside. Combine sugar and graham crackers in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add melted butter and pulse just until combined. Press this mixture into muffin cups and place in the freezer while preparing filling.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat cream cheese, crème fraîche and confectioner's sugar until incorporated. In another bowl, beat heavy cream until stiff peaks form; fold into cream-cheese mixture. Fill individual crusts and freeze until firm, about 30 minutes. Adapted from Martha Stewart Living Christmas Cookbook.
*I make my own crème fraîche by combining 1 cup heavy cream (preferably not ultra-pasteurized) with two tablespoons cultured buttermilk. Whisk the two ingredients in a glass container, and loosely cover the bowl with plastic wrap, allowing some air in. Let this mixture sit for at least 24 and up to 36 hours, until very thick. Stir the cream after it has thickened. Cover and keep refrigerated for 1 week.
I made the following purée using only 2 tablespoons sugar, and found it sweet enough for my taste. You may (or not) need to thin with additional water to make into a pourable sauce.
2 cups, packed dried California apricots
1½ cups water
1½ tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ cup superfine sugar, optional
In a small saucepan place the apricots and water and allow to stand, covered for 2 hours. Simmer 20 minutes on very low heat, covered, until the apricots are soft. Purée with the liquid in a food processor.
Press through a fine strainer. You should have 1½ to 1¾ cups. Stir in the lemon juice. To make lightly sweetened purée, add sugar to equal 1/3 the volume of the purée (i.e. if there's only 1 cup purée, add 1/3 cup of sugar instead of the ½ cup. Store in airtight container. Keep refrigerated for 5 days, or freeze for 1 year. Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible.