Friday, July 29, 2011

Mini Margarita Cheesecakes

Gluten Free Mini Margarita Cheesecakes
Inspiration often strikes when you least expect it.  In this case my daughter was holding up a small pale yellow and green potholder.  Moments earlier her nimble fingers had been weaving colored nylon loops with painstaking precision.  Upon closer inspection of the four inch square, I could see that she had methodically planned out the pattern that was executed meticulously.   She rolled her eyes as I sang the praises of her brilliant work.  “It was easy”, she said.   Then she asked if I wanted to use it in my next photo shoot.  How could I refuse an offer like that?   My mission was clear.  I needed to find something that would be small enough not upstage the true star of this show.  The recipe also needed to contain colors that would compliment her work.  I swear that potholder began to speak to me.  Actually it was screaming … LEMON-LIME.  Lo and behold, the Mini Margarita Cheesecake was conceived. 
Crust Ingredients:

  • 5 oz of gluten free Shortbread  Cookies ( crushed)
  • 2 tbs Butter (melted)                           

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2   8oz packages cream cheese (softened)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream  
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon & 1 lime
  • zest of ½ lemon and ½ lime

Topping Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • less than 1/8 tsp salt
  • zest of ½ lemon and ½ lime

Video Tutorial:


  1. Place 12 liners into a cupcake tin. 
  2. Crush the shortbread cookies into crumbs then mix the crumbs, and melted butter together in a small bowl.
  3. Evenly divide the crust mixture into the cupcake liners.  A small flat bottomed glass can help in pressing the crumbs into place. 
  4. In a large bowl add the sugar, ½ of the lemon & lime zests as well as the juice of the lemon and lime.  Stir to allow the sugar to dissolve.  Add the cream cheese and sour cream and mix thoroughly until you have a very smooth mixture.   You could use an electric mixer but if the cream cheese is fully softened it’s pretty easy to mix by hand.
  5. Evenly divide the mixture among the twelve liners.  Use the back of a spoon to gently smooth out the tops.  Cover the pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours.  If you can make them a day ahead that’s even better to give them plenty of time to set.
  6. While they are chilling, combine 2 tbs of sugar with less than 1/8 tsp of salt then stir in the remaining lemon and lime zests.  Sprinkle the tops of each cheesecake with a bit of the flavored sugar.  I like to wait until the last minute so that the sugar maintains its crunchy crystalline texture.

Gabi holding the inspiration behind the dessert.

In the end I saw several parallels between the potholder and the cheesecakes.  They both looked more complicated to make than they actually were.  They were both strikingly beautiful in their close-up shots.  And last but not least, they will both evoke delicious memories for years to come.  Thank you for the inspiration Gabi.

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