BAKED STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE

Vanilla and strawberry have had a love affair for as long as I can remember. Look in the dessert section of any restaurant menu, recipe book, or café window, and you’ll see them canoodling joyously like little else matters. But who’s to disapprove? This relationship was meant to be.

Cheesecakes have taken over the world, and there’s not one flavour that hasn’t been tried and perfected already. I’m a liberal when it comes to food choices and bold enough to experiment with food from different cultures, but some of them out there are downright ridiculous – sweet bacon cheesecake? I think I’ve said in one of my earlier posts that bacon makes everything better. I’d like to take that back now, please.

You don’t need artistic talent to make this cake look stunning. It just bakes itself like that. If you don’t want to do the strawberry topping, you could just arrange some fresh strawberries on top and dust with icing sugar. Or find a preserve that isn’t too sweet and scoop some over the top (if you can get your hands on this, perfect).

I’m notorious for cutting down on the sugar content in desserts, but the 150 grams that’s in the recipe is perfect since the cream cheese has a subtle sourness to it. The bite from the biscuit base with the voluptuous filling all tied together with the slight tang from the strawberries, makes this cheesecake a force to be reckoned with. And devoured. Definitely devoured.

 INGREDIENTS:

Adapted from Rachel Allen

For the cheesecake:

200 grams digestive biscuits

6 tablespoons butter, melted (plus extra for greasing)

450 grams cream cheese, at room temperature

150 grams castor sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 eggs, lightly beaten

For the strawberry topping:

200 grams fresh/frozen strawberries (frozen strawberries can be used as it, without thawing)

2 tablespoons icing sugar

½ teaspoon lime juice

METHOD:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a 24 cm spring-form pan with butter.

Melt the butter over low heat, making sure it doesn’t boil. Once melted, immediately remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little.

Pulse the digestive biscuits in a processor until it resembles fine crumbs. Alternatively, you could put the biscuits in a zip-lock bag and bash with a rolling-pin to get the same end result. Place the crushed biscuits in a bowl, pour over the butter, and mix through. Tip this mixture into the base of your greased pan and press down with your knuckles to form an even base. Refrigerate until you make the filling.

Whisk together the eggs, cream cheese, vanilla extract and castor sugar in a bowl until smooth and well incorporated. Pour over this mixture onto the biscuit base and bake in the oven for 35 – 40 minutes until it is lightly brown on the outside and still has a slight wobble to it.

Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes, and then run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen it. Carefully remove from the sides and base and pour over the luscious strawberry topping. This cheesecake is best served at room temperature.

For the strawberry topping:

Place the strawberries in a pan over medium heat and stir gently until they are slightly heated through and become a little mushy.

Add the icing sugar and lime juice, stir through, and cook for a few minutes until it looks like a preserve with chunky bits of fruit in it. If it’s too dry, add a few teaspoons of water to loosen it out. Remove and let it cool slightly before topping your cheesecake.

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