Beginner’s Strawberry Cheesecake

Did I mention I’m a newlywed? As a loving wife, I’m always looking for ways to wow my hard-working husband (especially since we only see each other on the weekends). What delicious-after-dinner dessert did I decide to whip up this week? Why a strawberry cheesecake, of course. They’re Max’s favorite. Insert sneaky laugh.

cake

My mom always told me that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I’ve never made a cheesecake before, but heard they can be quite challenging. I was dedicated to baking Max his favorite dessert though. This recipe originally comes from CHOW. You can find the legit recipe here or just keep reading. I made some minor changes, making the recipe just as good, but a tad bit simpler.

Equipment:

  • 9″ springform pan
  • electric stand mixer

Ingredients for Cheesecake:

  • 1 1/4 cups graham cracker or vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
  • 2 tbsp. unsalted butter melted (I used closer to 4 tbsps.)
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (at room temperature – this is very important that it’s at room temperature)
  • 1 tsp. lemon peel (you can find it in the spice aisle)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream (at room temperature)
  • 1 large egg yolk (at room temperature)
  • 3 large eggs (at room temperature)

Ingredients for Strawberry Topping:

  • 1 1/2 pounds strawberries, washed, hulled, and cut into fourths
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. lemon peel
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. water
  • 1/2 tbsp. cornstarch

Table

Steps for Cheesecake:

Step 1: Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with butter. Mix wafer crumbs and melted butter until thoroughly combined. Pour the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and, using the bottom of a measuring cup, press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides.

Step 2: Mix sugar and flour in a medium bowl and set aside. Place the cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. With the mixer running, slowly pour in the sugar-flour mixture and beat until incorporated. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as needed.

Step 3: With the mixer on low, add the lemon peel and vanilla and then slowly pour in the cream; mix until just combined. Add the egg yolk, then the whole eggs 1 at a time, allowing each egg to incorporate completely before adding the next. Don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle as needed.

Step 4: Pour mixture into the prepared crust and spread it into an even layer. Bake until just the edges of the cake are browned and the center is barely set, about 50 to 60 minutes. Turn off the oven and let the cake cool in the oven for about an hour. (It will bake a little more as it sits in the hot oven.)

Step 5: Remove the cheesecake from the oven and place it on a cooling rack. Place a baking sheet over the cheesecake and let it cool, carefully removing the baking sheet every 30 minutes to wipe away any condensation that has formed on the underside, until the springform pan is lukewarm to the touch, about 1 1/2 hours total. Remove the baking sheet and refrigerate the cheesecake uncovered until it’s chilled, at least 4 hours.

While the cheesecake is cooling, make the strawberry topping.

Steps for strawberry topping:

Step 1: Place the strawberries and sugar in a medium saucepan and stir until the berries are coated in sugar. Mash until about half of the strawberries are completely smashed but some medium-sized chunks remain.

Step 2: Place the pan over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until bubbles form along the pan’s edge, about 5 minutes. Skim any foam from the surface of the sauce with a spoon and discard. Add the lemon peel and juice, stir to combine, and bring to a full boil, cooking until foam coats the surface, about 2 minutes.

Step 3: Whisk the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until combined and no lumps remain. Add the cornstarch mixture a little bit at a time, whisking frequently, until the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat. Let the sauce cool to room temperature. Transfer to a container with a tightfitting lid and refrigerate until chilled or up to 3 days.

strawberries

The Ultimate Final Step: Assembly

Run a knife around the inner edge of the cake pan; remove the outer ring. Place the cheesecake on a serving dish, pour the strawberry sauce over the top, slice, and serve.

piece

So mine ended up being more rounded along the crust line, but it just meant there was more room for the strawberry topping. I think that 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries was a bit much for the recipe. We had about a cup left over…which I fully plan on putting over some vanilla ice cream tomorrow night. Not a bad problem to have: too much of a good thing.

Final assessment: score one for Erin! This recipe was easy, time consuming (took roughly three hours from start to finish), but easy and totally won me some serious brownie points. I hope it does for you as well!

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One thought on “Beginner’s Strawberry Cheesecake

  1. Nice, this is a beautiful cheesecake! Remember looking for lemon rind in the commissary eons ago 🙂 So how did the theory “the way to a mans heart” pan out??? I know he loved this dessert! GREAT…job!

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