Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

I don't know what it's about with me and cheese. I LOVE cheesey pizza with tons of stringy mozzarella on top. I love melted cheddar on toast, with it's tangy saltiness. And I love cheesecakes. I know people 'believe' that cheesecakes should be firm and dense, and should not have excessive air mixed into the mixture. I, on the other hand, do not mind either a dense cheesecake, or a rather light and fluffy one. Light ones are actually easier to swallow (not the literal meaning) because they are not as sticky, and almost mousse-like. But while I adore this product of milk, I know that in every bite of my cheesy pizza, cheddar-topped toast and delicious cheesecake, I am swallowing countless calories. That's exactly why I don't buy  piece of cheesecake at every cake shop I pass. But when a neighbour's friend requested it, how could I refuse?

Originally, he asked for a 'Creamy Mango Cheesecake', but I thoroughly convinced him not to by stating mangoes aren't in season, just because the name says 'creamy' doesn't mean it's any more creamy than other cheesecakes, etc. So in the end he agreed to make Strawberry Cheesecake instead. Apparently, strawberries are one of his least 'hated' foods. I just hate it when someone says, 'Ugh, I hate such and such' or 'I would never eat that!' I mean, I don't like every food in the world, but at least I try everything, and if I don't like it, I don't put it down. I don't say stuff like, ' OMG, such and such is DISGUSTING!' So when my neighbour's kid said, 'Ah, lychees are one of the last few things on the list of food I like', I almost facepunched him.

Anyways, I settled on a recipe from Allrecipes for Strawberry Cheesecake. It looked very appealing, but after reading some reviews I modified it a bit. I reduced the amount of cream cheese to 2 packages, baked it in a waterbath, and since there wasn't any fresh or frozen strawberries at the shops, I used canned strawberries instead. The base and the sauce came together wonderfully, but I have no idea why all my cheesecake mixtures turn out lumpy. I have a theory that my mixer doesn't scrape the edges of the bowl, leaving a layer of cream cheese, and when I scrape that down and start mixing again, it doesn't break down that much. Although none of my cheesecakes seem to have suffered from that which is great.

The strawberry sauce makes leftovers which is made into a deliciously fruity sauce. You really need that sauce to add flavour to the cheesecake, as the strawberriness seems to disappear from the swirls after you bake it. It was actually fairly light, which I prefer, and not a crack in sight, due to the waterbath.

Yesterday, I plunged myself into cheesemaking and made a small batch of goat cheese! I'll be using it in a recipe in a few days, I'll post how it goes.


Modified from Allrecipes (Original recipe here)

Serves 12

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
400g can strawberries
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 (8 ounce/250g) packages cream cheese, softened
395g can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 eggs
1 tablespoon water

1.Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C. Boil a pot of water for the water bath.

3. In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries and cornstarch; cover and process until smooth.

4. Pour into a saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Set aside 1/3 cup strawberry sauce; cool. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for serving.

5. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in milk. Add lemon juice; mix well.

6. Add eggs, beat on low just until combined. Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over crust.

7. Drop half of the reserved strawberry mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto cream cheese layer. Carefully spoon remaining cream cheese mixture over sauce. Drop remaining strawberry sauce by 1/2 teaspoonfuls on top. With a knife, cut through top layer only to swirl strawberry sauce.

8. Wrap the bottom of the springform pan with at least 2 layers of aluminium foil. Place pan onto a roasting tray and place in the oven. Pour boiling water halfway up the side of the springform pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

9. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.

10. Remove side of pan. Thin chilled strawberry sauce with water if desired; serve with cheesecake.

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