Published on September 2nd, 2014 | by Gareth2
The perfect strawberry cheesecake
To break the monotony of Sydney’s rain, I organised an afternoon tea last week, (first world issues). It was a great way to get different departments together as bakers or guests for a common goal, to eat cake.
I contributed a stock favourite, double chocolate cinnamon-chilli brownies, but one of my favourite eats were Erin the brain’s mini strawberry cheese cakes.
These two bite wonders made me realise that I’d never actually made a cheesecake.
Driven by this epiphany and the start of strawberry season, I went in search of my own strawberry cheesecake perfection. It was like an amateur version of Heston’s In Search of Perfection, except without the cool glasses and more hair (me not the cheesecake – no one likes hairy cheesecake).
I pawed over dozens of recipes stealing bits from here and there and conducting a couple of experiments. The end result being tested on a pal who is a ‘self rated’ five star cheesecake expert. With his seal of approval given, I felt it worth sharing.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Baking time: 5-10 minutes (for the base)
Chill time: 2-3 hours
Equipment: 20cm spring bottom cake tin, 1 large mixing bowl, electric or hand whisk/mixer, saucepan
- 125g biscuits (Arrowroot, Marie, Digestive or Milk biscuits) – crushed
- ½ tsp. cinnamon powder
- 2-3 tbsp. desiccated or shredded coconut
- 90g unsalted butter – melted
- 300ml double cream
- 250ml good quality full fat cream cheese – I used Philadelphia
- 1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 80g caster sugar
- 200g fresh strawberries (washed and finely sliced) or roasted strawberries
- 100g strawberry jam
- Preheat the oven to 180degreesC.
- Cut the vanilla pod end to end and scrape the black gooey seeds with the back of a teaspoon. Mix the seeds with 50 grams of the caster sugar and the cream cheese.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the cream until it firms up, then fold into the cream cheese mix. Cover and set aside.
- To make the cheesecake base, crush the biscuits either in a blender or go low tech (rolling pin and plastic bag). The finer you can crush them the better.
- Mix the biscuit crumbs with the cinnamon, coconut and melted butter. When thoroughly mixed, press into the base of a cake tin.
- Bake for 5-10 minutes then remove from oven and set aside to cool. When cool, pop in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
- Whilst the base is cooling, put the fresh strawberries into a saucepan with the remaining 30g of the caster sugar, the used vanilla pods and 1 teaspoon of water. Bring to the boil over a low heat then simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sugar has melted then set aside to cool.
- After the base has chilled in the fridge for 30 minutes, spoon on the jam onto the base, then add the cheesecake topping. Smooth with a palette knife.
- Chill for 2-3 hours to set.
- Just before serving, decorate with the strawberries and vanilla pod.