Day: July 12, 2012

Vanilla Cheesecake with Strawberries

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Alright, I gots power back (huzzah!)  And I gots a job offer (another huzzah!).  So let’s celebrate with a pretty cheesecake!  This is definitely one of the prettier cheesecakes that I make.  Of course, it is one of the more labor intensive ones to construct, but it’s easy to switch it up by using peaches, oranges, kiwis, or what’s ever striking your fancy that day.  And the cheesecake recipe is such a great staple to have.  This particular recipe is a little bit extra special because I do use a vanilla bean here instead of the extract.  Just a nice touch that really stands out.   Plus you see all the nice tiny vanilla beans, which I just love.

This I made for my Summer Mullet Party / Wine Tasting (you know — business in the front, party in the back).  Unfortunately I was not able to take any pics of any slices, but it was a big hit from what I understand.  I was too preoccupied tasting wine at the time.  And rum.  And bourbon.  Anyhoo, here’s what you need:

For the crust:

  • 12 big graham crackers (before you break it into four pieces)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 6 T. butter, melted

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Wrap the bottom and sides of a 9″ springform pan with heavy-duty foil.  Lightly coat the bottom and sides of the pan with cooking spray.  Set aside.

2.  Slightly break up crackers and place in the bowl of a food processor with the sugar and salt.  Pulse until fine.  Stir in butter well, and transfer to prepared pan.  Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and halfway up the sides of the pan.

3.  Bake for about 10-12 minutes, until crust starts to brown slightly.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Set aside.

For the filling:

  • 5 8-oz. packages cream cheese
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out
  • 1 c. sour cream

1.  Reduce heat to 325 degrees F.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese until smooth and fluffy.  Gradually add the sugar and salt while mixing on low, being sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.

2.  Add the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition.  Now add the vanilla seeds and mix to combine.  Stir in the sour cream, again scraping the sides to mix well.

3.  Pour the batter into the cooled crust.  Place the pan in a roasting pan.  Now fill the roasting pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the cheesecake.  Bake for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until set in the middle.  If the top browns too quickly, cover with foil.

4.  Remove from the oven and run a pairing knife around the edge of the cake to help release it.  Cool completely and then refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.

For the topping:

  • 1-2 pints strawberries, hulled & sliced thin, leaving one whole
  • 1/2 red currant jelly
  • 2 t. water

1.  In a small saucepan on low heat, combine the jelly and water.  Gradually melt until mixture is easily spread with a pastry brush.  Set aside to cool but still stay liquid.

2.  Brush the edge of the top of the cheesecake with the warm red currant jelly glaze and make a ring of the sliced strawberries around the edge.  The glaze should re-set when chilled which helps hold the strawberries in place.

3.  Start layering overlapping concentric circles of strawberries, brushing each with the glaze.  Once you get to the middle, place the whole strawberry and brush with the glaze.

4.  Chill in the refrigerator for a few hours to set.  Then you can slice and serve!  And then you visit Jereme’s Kitchen and Daisy Cakes on Facebook and tell me how the recipe went for you 🙂

Notes — I’ve found it helpful to sort the strawberries according to size first before slicing.  I use the slices of the larger strawberries on the outer layers, saving the smaller ones for the inner circles. . . Try different patterns.  Instead of pointing the tips of strawberries out, have the points run along the edge of the cake.  You can then alternate directions with each successive circle.  I really hope that I explained that well.