Just occasionally I have a flash of genius and this weekend I had one. When I was shopping I saw some jam jars on sale. They were little jars with clip on lids which I thought would be perfect for jam. The lids were rather pretty, blue and pink with little pictures on. I wanted to find a use for them straight away so came up with the idea of making jam jar cheesecakes. The thinking behind this was that I could pack these in a cool box when we have a picnic and have a lovely dessert ready to finish the meal. Did I mention it was a genius idea?
I started with a biscuit base. As the cheesecakes were going to be eaten from the jam jars I decided to just use biscuit crumbs. I suspect if I had made the base firmer by adding melted butter it would have made the cheesecakes more difficult to eat and the jars harder to clean. I set my son to work bashing some oat biscuits into crumbs. He was happy doing this, a few biscuits escaped into his mouth. You could use any biscuit, I used oat biscuits as I though they would be crunchy. Digestives would work just as well. When the biscuits had been bashed into submission I placed the crumbs in the bottom of the jars.
Recently I had been sent some food items from Holyart. This site sells food items that have been produced by monks and nuns from different Italian monasteries. They have a range of different products from chocolate to liqueurs and wines, honey, tea and olive oil. I was surprised at how wide the range was. I was sent a bar of chocolate that had been produced by Trappist monks and some prune jam that was made in a Carmelite monastery. I thought these would work really well if I added them to the cheese cakes along with some fruit.
I made a no bake cheese cake mixture by mixing together cream cheese, icing sugar, double cream and vanilla essence. I placed the mixture on top of the crumbs in three of the jars followed by a spoonful of the prune jam. I kept enough of the cheesecake mixture for one jar and mixed it with melted chocolate to make a chocolate cheese cake. This was topped with oranges for a chocolate orange dessert. The others had toppings of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. You could also add flakes of chocolate to the top if you wanted a little extra sweetness.
I have to say the desserts were really tasty and ideal to pack for a picnic. They would also be ideal for guests at barbecue and make a great talking point. With the lid on they take up hardly any space and the jars were easily washed afterwards ready to be used again. The great thing is the basic recipe can be varied any number of ways. By using different jams, fruit or biscuits you can get a different taste every time. You could add bananas and caramel to make a banoffee dessert for example. Perfect if everyone in your family likes different things.
I was sent the chocolate and jam to use in a recipe, the photos and opinions are my own.