Macerated Strawberries Cheesecake

 
I can literally countdown the days left until summer ends and school starts, and you know what? I’m actually kind of excited. Now I’m not jumping up and down or anything, but I think it’s because this is the first year (and final!) of University where I actually get to choose every subject that I want to do per semester. It should be very interesting and for that reason I’m mainly looking forward to it. As I mentioned in my last blog post, this was quite an amazing and interesting summer. I loved that I had a 4-month holiday and I think it’s time to put my brain back into action mode!
 
This cheesecake was way too delicious not to share. It’s always a struggle to find fresh strawberries in Jamaica near my home but I’ve found a new place that always has them. It makes such a difference not only in appearance in the cheesecake but in taste. For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I love and adore strawberries…not as much as my love for blueberries but extremely close. I macerated these strawberries a bit out the juice in them since due to how naturally sweet they already were, there was no need to make a strawberry juicy topping out of them.
 
 
…needless to say, this cheesecake finished in one day. Now, I’m not to blame! But I live in a big family that had many convenient guests passing by that day and well…who doesn’t accept a delicious slice of creamy cheesecake when offered? For some reason this cheesecake was extremely smooth and velvety and that was a very big plus that I think contributed to it’s quick consumption.

How could I resist sharing this last berry dessert with you for summer? Enjoy and be sure to use fresh sweet berries! Ciao!

 



Macerated Strawberries Cheesecake




Crust
5 ounces Graham Crackers
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm
 
 
Filling
1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 oz.) sugar
1 1/2 pounds (3 8-oz. packages) cream cheese, cut into 1 inch chunks, at room temperature

4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
 
 

1/2 cup heavy cream

 
Topping
1 pint of fresh cold strawberries, stems removed
2   to 4 teaspoons brown sugar
 
 

For the crust:
Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat the oven to 325F. In a food processor, process the graham crackers until you have fine crumbs. You should have about 1 cup. Add in the sugar and pulse. In a steady stream, add the butter while pulsing, about 10 1-second pulses. Transfer the crumb mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly into the bottom. Bake until fragrant and golden brown. The instructions say 15 to 18 minutes, but mine was done at about 12 minutes, so keep an eye on it. Cool on a wire rack to room temperature. When cool, wrap the pan with 2 18-inch square pieces of foil. Set the pan in a roasting pan.

For the filling:
In a bow of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese to break it up and soften it slightly, about 10 seconds. With the machine is running, add the sugar mixture in a slow stream; increase the speed to medium and beat until combined, creamy and smooth – about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to medium low and add the eggs, 2 at a time. Beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape the bowl before each addition. Add the lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix to combine. Add the cream and mix until incorporated, about another 5 seconds. Give the bowl a final scrape and pour the mixture into the prepared springform pan. Fill the roasting pan with enough water to make it about halfway up the sides of the pan. Bake until the center jiggles slightly, the sides start to puff, and the surface is no longer shiny, about 55 to 60 minutes. The center should read about 150 degrees F. Turn off the oven and prop the door of the oven open with a potholder or wooden spoon. Allow the cake to cool in the water bath in the oven for about an hour. Transfer the springform pan to a wire rack and run a small paring knife around the edges of the pan to loosen the cake. Let it sit to room temperature for 2 hours.
 
Refridgerate cheesecake for at least 6 hours, preferable 24 hours.
 
Topping

 

 

Remove stems from strawberries when ready to use them. Slice each strawberry in half and arrange them in a circular shape on top of the strawberry (Larger ones on the outside, smaller ones on the inside). Be sure to enjoy a few extra strawberries before placing on cheesecake by slowly eating them and smiling (essential step). Not only is this the most enjoyable step before consuming the cheesecake, it lets you know how sweet/tart your strawberries are. If strawberries are already naturally sweet, sprinkle them with 2 teaspoons of sugar and leave to stand for 2 minutes to macerate. If tart, add up to 4 teaspoons. This will bring out the natural juices in the strawberries. Arrange of cheesecake and enjoy.

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