My son and hopefully, protege, Joseph, turned 12 two days ago and he requested his all time favourite dessert, Oreo cheesecake, like he's done every year, since he could speak.

I usually make a single large 23 cm (9 in) cheesecake. It's big, beautiful, and such a temptation, though I don't favour it above all other desserts, that I often will skip at least one  meal when I know cheesecake is coming to dinner ;) Then, I wantonly have three servings of it! For shame, for shame, except, I'm too happy afterwards to care. Besides, it's loaded with protein and calcium, so in my book, it's dessert that's good for your soul and  your body. Your bones will thank you; reason enough to grab a fork....

This year, I thought I'd make little baby cheesecakes that turned out so adorable, so much more quick and convenient, that I may never again make their mama!

I always add either yoghurt or sour cream to make it less cloying and I've grown to really love the tang it adds to such a rich and creamy treat. These babies take about a quarter the time of a large cheesecake, set amazingly quickly as they cool down faster, yet remain incredibly moist and velvety because of the shorter cooking time.

You won't even need to bother with a water bath to achieve that amazing texture! Just be sure to keep your oven heat on the low side, not open the oven door before they're done and turn off the oven eventhough they look a bit wobbly and undercooked. Perhaps most importantly, be patient and give them the time they need to settle in a turned off but still warm oven. It really does help to have all the ingredients at room temperature so the cheese especially, is soft and creamy and combines quickly and easily with the other ingredients. This prevents overmixing and over aerating the ingredients which will cause the mixture to rise quickly in the oven then collapse on cooling, thus forming sunken middles and surface cracks.

Now, these babies look innocent enough, and hardly remarkable, until you do this....

Are you feeling it now? Oh yeah.....come to mama! Joseph loved them; he thinks they taste even better than a large cheesecake, though he can't say why, exactly. I have to say that they do seem to have a better mouthfeel as well as a richer flavour, somehow. Time to get more muffin liners, me thinks!

Prep 10 mins        Cook 20 mins        Makes 10 small muffin sized cheesecakes

1 roll (14 cookies) Oreos (I used the chocolate cream variant)
250 g (1 tub or block) Philadelphia cream cheese (use whatever soft, fresh cheese you prefer)
100 ml (1/2 cup) plain unsweetened full fat yoghurt
70 g (1/2 cup) fine sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 level Tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)

Preheat oven at 160 C (300 F)  and line a 12-cup muffin tray with 10 muffin liners or mini panettone liners (if you prefer straight as opposed to crimped sides). Put an Oreo cookie into each liner. Break remaining cookies into neat quarters and set pieces aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cheese, yoghurt, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Whisk together lightly, until just combined and an even colour. Sift over the cornflour and gently fold in with the whisk. 

Put about 3 generous tablespoons of the cheese mixture over each of the cookies in the 10 liners. Top each one with a quarter piece of cookie previously set aside. Gently push the cookie piece into the batter until flush with the surface of the batter.

Bake for 20 minutes, then turn off oven. Open oven door slightly and leave ajar. Leave cheesecakes in oven for 30 minutes or until they look set but wobble just a little in the middle when shaken gently. Remove from oven and cool for about 20 minutes on the counter before chilling them until cold. This will take about 2 hours.

Carefully peel off paper liners and serve.  I think they are rich enough to stand alone but if you want to get a bit fancy or like your deserts really indulgent, they are quite heavenly with a swirl or dollop of whipped cream.