Monday, February 15, 2010

Strawberry Cheesecake

I made thistoday to take to a party tonight. This is my first time making cheesecake with sour cream, though, so I'm hoping it is good. I did try to cut down on the fat a bit by using reduced-fat cream cheese.


For the custard:
2 - 8 oz. packages reduced-fat cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 extra large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the crust:
9 graham crackers, crushed in the food processor or placed in a ziploc bag and crushed with a rolling pin
3/4 stick butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp suga

For the strawberry sauce:
2 cups frozen strawberries, defrosted
3 tsp sugar

Equipment: 9 inch springform pan (or round cake tin), and a large roasting pan

Before starting on the cheesecake make sure all of the ingredients are at oom temperature. This is the most important step in the process.

I used a 9 inch springform pan which I wrapped in 4 sheets of foil to make sure none of the water from the water bath came inside the pan. Pre-grease the pan with some butter or cooking spray and set aside.

Mix the cracker crumbs with the rest of the ingredients and using your hands pat it evenly into the bottom of the pre-greased pan. Set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and start heating some water for the water bath. We will need enough water to come up 1/3 of the way up the side of the pan.

Place room temperature cream cheese in a large bowl and beat on low for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add sugar in slowly and beat for another 30 seconds. Scrape the sies of the bowl again and add the eggs, one at a time along with the vanilla extract and beat only enough until the eggs are properly incorporated into the cream cheese mixture.

Pour the custard into the prepared pan. Give it a good couple of raps on the counter so that any trapped air bubbles can be released.

Now make the strawberry sauce. Place the defrosted strawberries in the food processor and pulverize until you are left with a sauce. Dump the contents into a bowl and stir in the sugar until dissolved.

Using a tablespoon, pour dollops of the sauce onto the custard and gently spread it around until the surface of the cake is covered by the sauce. You will probably only need about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of this sauce. If you have any leftover, reserve and use it when serving the cheesecake.

Place springform pan into your roasting pan and pour in enough hot water until the water comes to about 1/3 of the way up the sides of the springform pan. Place in oven and cook about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the sides are set but the center still has plenty of jiggle to it. This can be hard to judge the first couple of times. Remember, the cheesecake is basically a custard base and so it will set once it cools and is refrigerated.

Remove cake from roasting pan. Turn off oven and leave cake to cool in the oven for about 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove from the oven, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours so the cake sets and it is properly chilled. Enjoy!

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