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12 Pieces
Recipe By: Lexielief
Shared By Lexielief

Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients

  • For cheesecake crust:
  • 225 finely crushed digestive biscuits
  • 75 g unsalted butter, melted
  • For strawberry cheesecake filling:
  • 50 g freeze dried strawberry slices
  • 200 g granulated sugar
  • 600 g full-fat cream cheese, room temperature (Philadelphia)
  • 115 g full-fat Greek-style yoghurt, room temperature
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 20 g cornstarch
  • red food colouring (optional)
  • For strawberry topping:
  • 320 g strawberries, halved (for smaller strawberries) or quartered (for larger strawberries)
  • 50 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp vanilla bean paste

Directions

For cheesecake crust:
Adjust the oven rack to the middle position, pre-heat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and line an 8 inch (20cm) springform pan with baking/greaseproof paper (make sure that you line both the bottom and the sides of the pan).
Mix together the crushed digestive biscuits and melted butter, until you get a mixture resembling wet sand. Transfer the mixture into the lined springform pan and, using the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup, compress them into an even layer with an approximately 1 ½ inch (4cm) rim around the edge.
Tip: Depending on the type and brand of cookies/biscuits you use, you might need slightly less or slightly more butter than listed in this recipe. Add the butter slowly, mixing well after each addition, until you reach the consistency of wet sand. You want a mixture that sticks together or holds its shape when pressed together, but it shouldn't feel/look greasy or oily.
Bake at 350ºF (180ºC) for 10 minutes, then remove from the oven and allow to cool until warm.
For strawberry cheesecake filling:
Reduce the oven temperature to 285ºF (140ºC).
Tip: If your springform pan isn't 100% leak-proof, I recommend that you also get a baking sheet ready to place the cheesecake on it before it goes into the oven. This will catch any small leaks of butter from the cheesecake base, and prevent any smoking or burning at the bottom of your oven.
First, prepare the "strawberry sugar": in a food processor or blender, combine the freeze dried strawberry slices and sugar, and process them until you get a fine powder.
In a large bowl using a balloon whisk, mix the cream cheese and yoghurt together until smooth.
Tip: Make sure to MIX rather than whisk or aerate – you don't want to incorporate too much air into the mixture. If you don't want to do this by hand, use a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on the lowest speed setting. (I don't recommend using a hand mixer.)
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until smooth.
Add the vanilla bean paste and mix well until evenly incorporated.
Add the "strawberry sugar" and the cornstarch, and mix well until completely incorporated and no clumps remain. The final cheesecake filling will be velvety-smooth, super creamy and of a light pink colour. At this stage you can also correct the colour by adding a drop or two of red food colouring.
Tip: I like to a bit of red food colouring to the strawberry cheesecake filling, just as a fail-safe to ensure a lovely, vibrant pink filling after the cheesecake is baked. That’s because strawberries (be that in the form of pureed fresh strawberries or in the form of ground freeze dried strawberries) tend to oxidise and lose their colour on contact with dairy products, such as milk or cream cheese. This doesn’t affect the flavour, but if you want your cheesecake filling to be a nice pink colour, I definitely recommend adding a bit of red food colouring.
Transfer the strawberry cheesecake filling into the slightly cooled cheesecake crust and smooth out the top.
Bake at 285ºF (140ºC) for about 55 minutes, or until the edges are fully set and slightly puffed up, and the middle is still wobbly when you gently shake the baking pan.
Tip: This baking time is merely a guideline – you should always judge the doneness of a cheesecake based on its physical indicators (the wobbliness of the centre, how set the edges are, etc.) rather than on the baking time, especially as each oven behaves slightly differently. You should start checking your cheesecake about 10 minutes before the recommended baking time.
Turn off the oven and allow the cheesecake to cool to room temperature in the turned-off oven with the oven door ajar.
Once cooled to room temperature, transfer the cheesecake into the fridge for at least 4 hours (or preferably overnight) before removing it from the baking pan. Keep it in the fridge until you're ready to assemble/decorate.
For strawberry topping:
In a large bowl, combine the halved and quartered strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix well until the strawberries are evenly coated with the sugar.
Cover and allow to sit either at room temperature for 1-2 hours or in the fridge overnight, stirring occasionally.
Once the strawberries have released their juices, pass them through a sieve to drain the juices, then return the strawberries back into the bowl and set aside until needed.
Pour the juices into a saucepan and cook over medium-high heat with frequent stirring until thickened and syrupy, but not quite jam-like. This should take about 5 minutes. Once thickened, set aside to cool until warm.
Tip: I always like to err on the side of over-reducing (rather than under-reducing) the juices, as it’s easy to dilute them to the right consistency with a splash of water or lemon juice.
Mix the warm strawberry syrup with the strawberries to make the strawberry topping and set aside until needed.
Assembling the strawberry cheesecake:
Once the cheesecake is fully chilled, remove it out of the springform pan and onto a serving plate.
Just before serving, spoon the topping onto the cheesecake so that it’s covered in a single layer of strawberries.
Tip: The topping does make cutting the cheesecake slightly messy – so, what you could do is cut the cheesecake without the topping and them spoon it over the individual slices right before serving.

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