I’m still in St. Thomas where my sister-in-law just got married, and what a gorgeous wedding it was. She certainly made a beautiful bride in her lovely Vera Wang dress, and the scenery at Villa Botanica was perfect. It’s a little ironic I’m writing about her in this post because not only does she have a traumatic cheesecake story, but she’s allergic to strawberries. It’s sad, and I wish she could have enjoyed this. (I’ve briefly mentioned her story before, and it involves a sincere attempt at cheesecake using cheddar cheese.)
This month’s Daring Bakers challenge was a bit easier than the previous ones, and I kept things fairly simple. The strawberry topping was an easy addition to a plain cheesecake, and it made for a classic dessert that Tim certainly enjoyed. He said he loved the creaminess of the cheesecake, but I’d say it was a bit too dense for my taste. I recently had my first taste of Eileen’s Special Cheesecake, and I absolutely loved the light and airy texture of Eileen’s.
I once said that I’m not really a cheesecake fan, but all this exposure to cheesecake is changing that. Perhaps I’ll continue to make them as my inclination towards them grows. Tim, you’d like that now, wouldn’t you?
The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey’s Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.
adapted from Abbey’s Cheesecake
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
24 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon Cointreau (optional)
1 pint strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Begin to boil a large pot of water for the water bath.
2. Mix together the crust ingredients and press into a springform pan. Set crust aside.
3. Combine cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand-mixer and cream together until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next. Make sure to scrape down the bowl in between each egg. Add heavy cream, vanilla, lemon juice, and Cointreau and blend until smooth and creamy.
4. Pour batter into prepared crust and tap the pan on the counter a few times to bring all air bubbles to the surface. Place pan into a larger pan and pour boiling water into the larger pan until halfway up the side of the cheesecake pan. If cheesecake pan is not airtight, cover bottom securely with foil before adding water.
5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes, until it is almost done – this can be hard to judge, but you’re looking for the cake to hold together, but still have a lot of jiggle to it in the center. You don’t want it to be completely firm at this stage. Close the oven door, turn the heat off, and let rest in the cooling oven for one hour. This lets the cake finish cooking and cool down gently enough so that it won’t crack on the top. After one hour, remove cheesecake from oven and lift carefully out of water bath. Let it finish cooling on the counter.
6. Chop 1/3 pint strawberries in small pieces.
7. In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cut strawberries, sugar, and vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender to make a sauce.
8. Slice the remaining strawberries, and combine into sauce. Decorate top of cheesecake with strawberries, and then cover and put in the fridge to chill. Once fully chilled, it is ready to serve.