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Crème Fraîche Cheesecakes with Freestone Peaches

Sliced and fanned over the top of these creamy cheesecakes, sweet, aromatic freestone peaches add superb flavor and texture. If fresh peaches or nectarines are available, you may substitute them for the canned peaches. When preparing the sauce, combine 2 fresh peach halves with 1/4 cup water and 1 Tbs. sugar along with the mint.

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese
  • 8 oz. crème fraîche
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and
      cooled
  • 6 canned freestone peach halves, plus 1/4 cup
      liquid reserved from can
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh mint

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 325ºF.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, crème fraîche and 1/2 cup of the sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the eggs, cream and vanilla and beat until smooth.

In a mixing bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, butter and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and stir until blended. Divide the graham cracker mixture among 4 mini-springform pans and, using the back of a spoon, spread the mixture smoothly onto the bottom of the pans. Divide the filling among the pans.

Bake until the filling is set, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer the pans to a wire rack and let the cheesecakes cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Remove the cheesecakes from the pans and place each cheesecake on a dessert plate. Using the tip of a knife, cut slices about 1/4 inch apart into 4 of the peach halves, keeping the halves intact at one end. Arrange a peach half over each cheesecake, fanning the peach decoratively over the top.

In a blender, combine the remaining 2 peach halves, the peach liquid and mint and process into a fine puree. Serve the sauce alongside the cheesecakes. Makes 4 mini-cheesecakes.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.