Recipe: Strawberry Cheesecake

I love cheesecake. I mean, I love cheesecake. It’s the one cake that I don’t get tired of. There are a lot of ways of making cheesecake from cooking it in a water bath to prevent cracks (I like the cracks, TBH) and mixing in all sorts of flavors—from chocolate to cookies. I personally love plain cheesecake and just top it with fresh fruits or compote. I don’t have much experience baking cheesecakes but so far, with the cakes I’ve made, the results have been amazing. You need a nine-inch springform cake pan for this recipe but since I didn’t have one, I used a glass pie pan instead.

Crust

2 cups crushed graham crackers
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup melted unsalted butter

Filling

24 oz (3 pcs. 8 oz. bars) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3 eggs
½ cup sugar
250 ml heavy cream
½ tsp. lemon zest
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. vanilla extract

Topping

8 oz. fresh strawberries
Juice of half a lemon
¼ cup water
3 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch

Procedure

1. First, make the crust. Preheat oven to 180C (356F) Pour in all crust ingredients in one bowl and mix well. Then press mixture to the bottom of the pan. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. After baking, set aside and let cool on a cooling rack. Increase the oven temperature to 200C (392F) to prepare it for the baking of the filling.
2. Now to make the filling. In a mixer, cream the cream cheese for a few seconds in medium speed, add sugar slowly. Then in low speed, add eggs one by one. Increase to medium speed after adding the eggs and add cream and the rest of the ingredients. Turn off mixer and using a spatula, scrape mixture from the sides of the bowl and fold into the rest of the filling. Make sure that there are no lumps.
3. Make sure that the crust is completely cool. Then pour in the mixture to the prepared pan with the crust. Lightly drop on table and tap on sides to get rid of air bubbles. Then bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until toothpick done (using a toothpick, pierce the center of the cake and slowly pull it out, if it comes out clean then it’s done). Top will lightly brown and the cake will crack.
4. If you don’t like a cracked cake, bake in a water bath. First, wrap pan with tin foil (do this before pouring the batter in) from the bottom and all around up to the rim of the pan. This will prevent water from seeping in, then pour in the batter. In a deep bake pan, put the cake tin in the middle then pour hot water, immersing the bottom half of the cake tin. Then bake at the same time or until done.
5. While cake is baking, make the strawberry topping. Wash and cut strawberries into half but if you have bigger strawberries, quarter them. Then put in a sauce pan with the water, sugar, and lemon juice and wait to boil (in low heat) while occasionally stirring. Simmer for a couple of minutes until liquid turns bright red. Then make a slurry out of 1 tbsp. cornstarch and 1 tbsp. water, then pour in. This will thicken immediately. Turn off heat and pour in a container and let cool. The goal is making a thick topping without breaking down the fruit. It’s best that the fruit retain its shape.
6. After the cake is done, put on a rack and cool down completely before putting in the fridge to chill. It is important to chill the cake first before assembling and serving.
7. Before removing cake from the pan, run a knife between the cake and the sides of the pan to loosen it up. Then carefully remove it from the pan and put in a cake platter. Pour strawberry compote on top and serve.

Serves 6 to 8

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