As the dawn of a new year graces us, many have embarked on their health-conscious journeys, leaning into rigorous workouts and thoughtful diet plans. But amid these resolutions, who can resist the allure of a heavenly strawberry cheesecake, a slice of indulgence?
A Recipe Birthed from Chance
This cheesecake wasn’t planned. It was a result of spotting neglected cream cheese packages from Thanksgiving in my family’s fridge during the holidays. A slightly tired-looking box of strawberries and an old jar of strawberry preserves added to the mix. While most would overlook these items, they often become the stars of our impromptu culinary shows. The outcome? A cheesecake that won over every member of the family, including my cheesecake-critique of a mother, who declared it the best ever. If a recipe making its way into my grandmother’s duffel bag isn’t commendation enough, I don’t know what is. Now, let’s dive into the details.
- 16 graham crackers (240g)
- 6 tablespoons of butter, melted (85g)
- 1 pound of room-temperature cream cheese (450g or two 8 oz. packages)
- 2/3 cup white sugar (135g)
- ⅓ cup milk (80 ml)
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup sour cream (120g)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- Zest from one lemon
- 2 tablespoons plain flour (18g)
Lush Strawberry Drizzle:
- ¼ cup strawberry jam (around 80g)
- ⅓ cup water (80 ml)
- ⅓ cup white sugar (35g)
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- Juice squeezed from one lemon
- 1/2 pound strawberries, trimmed and sliced (225g)
Steps to Perfection:
1. Pre-warm the oven to 350°F (175°C). Lubricate a 9-inch springform pan, shielding its base with foil. This ensures no water seeps into the pan during the water bath process.
2. Process the graham crackers in a food processor until finely crumbled. Introduce the melted butter and whirr until the concoction takes on a damp sandy texture. Tightly press this mixture to form the crust.
3. Using a mixer, whisk cream cheese on a low setting until it turns creamy. Gradually add sugar, milk, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, lemon zest, and flour. Avoid over-mixing.
4. Gently pour this mixture over the crust, ensuring there are no air bubbles. Position this setup on a baking tray with a thin layer of water.
5. Bake for half an hour without opening the oven door. Post baking, let the cheesecake cool in the oven for three hours, ensuring no cracks form. Once cool, refrigerate.
6. For the strawberry drizzle, combine jam, water, and sugar in a saucepan, letting it simmer for 3 minutes. Optionally, infuse a few red food coloring drops for a vivid hue.
7. Mix cornstarch with lemon juice and whisk it into the saucepan until you achieve a bubbly consistency. Incorporate strawberries once the mix has cooled.
8. Serve your cheesecake in slices, generously drenched in the strawberry sauce.
The total time excludes the 3-hour cooling duration!
A Perfect Blend of Fate and Flavor
Life often throws curveballs, sometimes in the form of forgotten strawberries or leftover cream cheese. Yet, it’s these unexpected moments that often lead to unforgettable memories. This Strawberry Cheesecake isn’t just a dessert; it’s a testament to how unplanned moments can often bring the most joy. So, the next time you spot a neglected ingredient in your fridge, give it a chance. Who knows? You might just whip up the next family favorite!