Creamy Strawberry Cheesecake

Who doesn't love cheesecake? It's perfect anytime and it's so versatile. Flavors vary from Oreo to pumpkin to red velvet.  New flavors seem to be created on a daily basis. But if you're not as adventurous, you can always come back home to the traditional. You can't go wrong with the traditional cheesecake. A graham cracker crust, the creamy middle and the topping of strawberry puree. It's so delicious and goes really well anytime, but especially in the spring or summer. This recipe is the one we used in class. The first time I tasted it, I felt like I was on cloud nine. The crust is slightly spiced, the middle is super creamy and light and of course the tartness and sweetness from the strawberries really goes well with the subtle cream cheese tang. If you've never made cheesecake, try this recipe and I guarantee you'll never doubt your cheesecake skills again. 

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HOW TO MAKE CREAMY STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE:

  • Before we begin, it's vital that all your ingredients are at room temperature. If you want a great cheesecake, starting with room-temperature ingredients, will get you there.
  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Lightly grease a 10" springform pan. This recipe yields one cheesecake for a 10" pan.
  • To begin, combine all the crust ingredients together and mix until it clumps together like wet sand when clinched in hands.

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  • In a lightly greased spring form pan, press the crust into the bottom. Ensure the sides are covered and it's pretty even throughout.

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  • Begin by mixing the cream cheese on low until smooth and no lumps. Stop the mixer a couple of times to scrape.

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  • Gradually add in the sugar. Scrape after mixing for a little bit. Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix for a little bit. Scrape. Begin to add in the eggs one at a time. Beat well between additions. Allow the egg to get absorbed before adding the next one. Also, I scrape between each addition. I also add the vanilla extract at this point. After mixing for a bit, it should look more liquid and smooth. Scrape the bowl and blade at this point. Use your hands to clean the blade off. Add in the sour cream, mix, scrape, add in the heavy cream slowly, mix, scrape, add in the lemon juice, scrape and mix. Keep the mixer on the lowest speed or second speed throughout this process. I can't stress enough the importance of scraping throughout.

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  • Place the batter in the pan on top of the crust. Place your pan into a 2" pan or round pan. Pour 3 cups of hot water. Place in your pre-heated oven and bake for about 40 minutes to an hour. It took me about 45-50 minutes for this to finish.

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  • It'll bake for 40 minutes to an hour. The internal temperature should be 155°F. The best way to tell if it's finished if it's set around the sides, but jiggly in the middle. It should be firm to the touch in the middle, meaning it shouldn't be liquid when you touch it.

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  • Once out of the oven, remove from the 2" pan and allow to cool for about 20-30 minutes. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • For the strawberry sauce, wash all the strawberries and cut them in half. Set aside ⅓ and cook the rest. Cook over medium high heat for about 15 minutes, until it becomes thicker and more like a syrup.

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  • Once it's thicker, remove from the heat and move to a new container.

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  • Add in the ⅓ uncooked strawberries and mix. Let it cool and refrigerate overnight.

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  • The next day, have a pitcher of steaming hot water with a small offset or butter knife, a chef's knife and a cake or pie server in it.
  • Using the offset or butter knife, unmold the cheesecake, top with the strawberry sauce, decorate (optional).

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  • If topped with whip cream, serve within the first couple of days. Without whipped cream, you can serve it for up to a week. Keep refrigerated until serving time.

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Creamy Strawberry Cheesecake

fharajli
Creamy Strawberry Cheesecake
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Desserts
Servings 1

Ingredients
  

Cheesecake:

  • 1 ½ lbs cream cheese Three room temperture 8 oz boxes
  • 6 oz granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup sour cream (room temperature)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ cup eggs around five whole eggs (room temperature)
  • zest from one lemon and juice from ½ a lemon (roughly ⅛ cup lemon juice)
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream (room temperature)

Crust:

  • 8 oz graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 oz granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3.5 oz melted butter may need more

Strawberry Sauce:

  • 1 lb strawberries
  • cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • lemon zest and juice from one small lemon

Instructions
 

Strawberry Sauce:

  • Wash all strawberries well. Cut off the tops and slice them.
  • Place ⅔ of the cut strawberries in a saucepan along with the sugar, lemon juice and zest. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat and continue to cook for around five to seven minutes or until the berries begin to break down as you slighlty mash them with a wooden spoon as you stir.
  • Remove from heat and pour the cooked strawberries into a heatproof container. Using an immersion blender, blend this mixture until it becomes a smooth purre.
  • Pour the puree over the uncooked strawberries you set aside earlier and mix to combine. Stir in the vanilla extract. Let it cool for about 15 minutes at room tempertuer, then cover with plastic wrap and refridgerateuntil you're ready to serve. The mixture will thicken as it sits.

Crust:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F. In a medium bowl, combine all your crust ingredients and mix until the mixture becomes like wet sand and will clinch together in your hands when you squeeze it.
  • In a lightly greased 10" springform pan lined with a parchment circle, pat the crumbs using your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup into an even layer on the bottom of the pan and a bit up the sides.
  • Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool slighlty while you work on the cheesecake.

Cheesecake:

  • In the bowl of your stand mixer or with a hand mixer, mix the cream cheese on low speed for about five minutes, stopping to scrape the bowl and paddle well after. It should be smooth and lump-free.
  • Gradually add in the granulated sugar and mix until sugar dissolves into the batter. Mix for about two minutes then scrape the bowl well.
  • Add in the lemon zest and salt and mix until combined. Scrape the bowl and paddle. Then, add in the sour cream and mix until incorprated and then scrape again.
  • Pour in the eggs one at a time and mix well between each addition. Let the egg absorb into the batter before adding in the next one. Stop the mixer half way through and scrape the bowl and paddle well before finishing off with the rest of the eggs.
  • Add in the vanilla extract and slowly pour in the heavy cream. Mix until combined. Scrape. Add in the lemon juice and finish off mixing until the batter is uniform in color and consistency. Don't overmix. Stop the mixer and scrape the bowl and paddle well with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is mixed in properly.
  • Pour the batter into your baked crust and tap lightly on your counter or swirl a knife in the batter to release air bubbles.
  • Place your springform pan into a slighltly bgger pan that leaves 2-3" off each side. Pour two to three cups of hot water or just enough until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan.
  • Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes to one hour. I check at the 40-minute mark and go from there. If you have a digital thermometer you can check the internal temperature, which should be at 155°F when it's done. The best way to tell if it's done is if the sides are firm, but the center is still jiggly. If the center jiggles but is dry to the touch, then it's done baking.
  • Let the cheesecake cool for half an hour at room temperture before covering it with plastic wrap and refridgeratingovernight.
  • The next day, you can top with strawberry sauce or any dessert sauce you'd like, decorate and serve.

Notes

Best served within the first few days

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