These festive little bites are much lighter in texture than most American cheesecakes are. If you'd like, for a creamier texture you can substitute 2 pounds quark for the ricotta and sour cream the recipe the recipe calls for -- quark is a German-style yogurt cheese.
- 2 pounds whole-milk ricotta
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel orange part only
- 4 eggs
- 12 round German Lebkuchen 3 inches diameter
For the apricot compote:
- 1 16-ounce jar German apricot preserves
- 1/4-1/2 cup German apple juice or German brandy
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper muffin liners.
Beat together ricotta, sour cream, whipping cream and sugar. Slit vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out seeds; add seeds and orange zest to ricotta mixture. Beat in eggs 1 at a time.
Divide mixture among prepared muffin liners. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of one of the cakes comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool on a rack, then refrigerate for at least 1 hour before removing paper liners. Invert each cheesecake on a gingerbread cookie, and top with warm apricot compote.