Cheesecakes in Jars

makes 24 little cheesecakes.  (the recipe is easily halved)
you will need 24 4-ounce regular mouth jelly jars


Ingredients
2 cups graham cracker crumbs (16 whole graham crackers, ground)
2 tablespoons sugar
8 tablespoons butter, melted
4 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used 1/4 teaspoon vanilla paste)
zest of 1 lemon

Raspberry Topping:
2 pints of fresh raspberries
strawberry or raspberry jelly

Other toppings:  I used mini chocolate chips.  You can really do anything you like for the toppings.  All kinds of fruit would work, caramel sauce, meringue, etc. 

Instructions:
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees F.

Spray the jelly jars with non-stick cooking spray, making sure to spray the bottoms so the crust doesn't stick. Blend the graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons of sugar and melted butter in a bowl.  Place about 1 heaping tablespoon of the crumbs into each jelly jar and tamp down to make the crust (I used a wine cork).

In a large mixer bowl, mix the room temperature cream cheese with the 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well.  Add the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest and mix until well incorporated. Fill each jelly jar with about 1/3 cup of the filling, leaving room at the top for your topping.

Place the jars in a large roasting pan or two deep baking dishes.  Fill the pan with hot water halfway up the jelly jars.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove jars with tongs and place on a wire rack to cool.

For the raspberry topping:  pick over the raspberries and discard any that are moldy or bruised.  Place 7 raspberries on top of each cheesecake.  Heat about 1/3 cup of the jelly in a microwave and stir so that the jelly is spreadable.  Brush the tops of the raspberries gently with the jelly to glaze them.  Refrigerate cheesecakes until ready to serve.  Can be made the day before.

The Italian Dish
http:  theitaliandishblog.com