It’s difficult for me to write this post. I keep trying to come up with something to say about these cheesecake cupcakes – which are coated in baked manchego, topped with quince paste, and resting on a homemade Ritz cracker crust – but I am distracted by the photo above. The quince paste dripping down the side calls to me. I imagine picking up the paste with my pinky finger and slowly savoring it. I would inevitably end up squishing the entire soft cheesecake in my mouth. I’d sweep any escaping buttery crust crumbs off the table and into my open palm, and then shove them in my mouth cavewoman-style. Sadly, we have no cheesecake left, so this is just a cheesy dream.
These quince, manchego, and Ritz cheesecakes were inspired by the snack with the same ingredients (see my post on the trio for more information). While I encourage you to try the cheesecakes as I made them (you won’t regret it), they are also ripe for substitutions:
- Try any hard cheese instead of manchego or simply leave the manchego off. I like the extra tang from the manchego, but this recipe would still be stellar without it.
- Use your favorite jam (like strawberry, cherry, or apricot) in place of the quince paste to create your own favorite mini cheesecake.
- Pre-bake the Ritz cracker crust as directed in the post, and then top with your favorite cheesecake recipe. The buttery/sweet flavor of the Ritz is a welcome variation on any cheesecake with a traditional graham cracker crust.
Quince, Manchego, and Ritz Cheesecake Cupcake Recipe
Quince, Manchego, and Ritz Cheesecake Cupcakes
Ingredients for crust
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1 C crushed Ritz crackers I used homemade Ritz crackers
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
Ingredients for cheesecake
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 1 C sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 C sour cream
- 1/2 C shredded manchego cheese
- 1 C quince paste
- In a small bowl, mix all crust ingredients until they begin to stick together.
- Divide the mixture between 12 standard-sized cupcake liners and press down to make sure that the mixture is smooth and solidly packed.
- Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
Instructions for cheesecake
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix cream cheese and sugar until integrated.
- Mix in egg and sour cream until fully combined.
- Spoon mixture over prebaked crusts. The cupcake liners should be filled all the way to the top.
- Sprinkle manchego cheese over cupcakes. (The first time I made these, I tried mixing the manchego cheese into the batter. I don't recommend this. It tasted like there were weird stringy things floating in the cheesecake - almost like finding plastic in your food. At the top, it just forms a nice brown crust, as shown above.)
- Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes.
- Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (if you want to have one hot, I wouldn't blame you - it's good that way, too). The cheesecakes will sink as they cool. Do not panic! The dip in the center will give you lots of room to put your quince paste.
- In a small bowl, mix quince paste with 2 tablespoons of water. Spread the quince slurry on top of the cooled cheesecakes. (Add more water if necessary to make it easier to spread.)
- Unwrap before serving simply because they look better that way.