Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Light and Airy, Summer Strawberry Cheesecake

For my birthday a few weeks back, all I really wanted to do was bake. I love to bake and hardly do just for myself and Billy. So I asked my mom over to bake up two delicious cheesecakes. She has a great Espresso Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cheese Cake that she has always made since my sisters and I were little girls. She took on hers, and I took on a totally new and different recipe, Zoe Francois' No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake. I really love how this recipe turned out, super delicious and bright. It was a great cheesecake to make in the heat of summer, no oven just the chill-factor. Also other reviewers of this recipe thought it was more like a Chiffon rather than cheesecake, but you can't deny the cream cheese flavor. Overall it's just really light and airy, with bright strawberry flavors, and oh to make things even better, the crust is pulled together by delicious Nutella. 
 
 
 

Recipe: Summer Strawberry Cheesecake
Adapted from Zoe Francois 
Time: 45 min (+ two chilling times about 3 hrs)
Ingredients:
Crust:

7 whole graham crackers
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons nutella
2 tablespoons brown sugar
pinch salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
Strawberry Topping:
1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries, washed and stemmed
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
Cheesecake Batter:
16 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups strawberry topping (recipe below)
1/2 cup heavy cream

Process:
For the crust:

1) In a food processor add graham crackers, butter, nutella, brown sugar, salt, and cocoa powder. Process until everything is incorporated. Scrape down sides to make sure everything gets mixed in.
2) Scoop out mixture into an 8 or 9-inch spring form pan. Press down with fingers to make sure it is evenly leveled. Set aside.
Strawberry topping:
1) Add strawberries, sugar, and 2 tablespoons of water to a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes or until strawberries are soft.
2) Blend or process berries and return to pot.
3) Sprinkle the gelatin over 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Allow it to sit for about 1 to 2 minutes and transfer to strawberries in pot. Whisk to incorporate gelatin into the strawberry puree, and set aside.
Cheesecake Batter and Assemble:
1) With a mixer, mix the cream cheese and sugar on medium-low speed until smooth. Add the vanilla extract and the strawberry topping, (RESERVE 3/4 cup strawberry topping for the top layer).
2) In a separate bowl whip the heavy cream until peaks begin to form, fold into cream cheese mixture.
3) Pour the cheesecake into the prepared pan with the nutella crust. Let set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.
4) Once the cheesecake is set, pour the remaining 3/4 cup strawberry topping over first layer (you may need to re-heat the strawberry topping a little so that it can be poured easily over cheesecake).
5) Set cheesecake back in the fridge and allow top strawberry level to set for about an hour.
To Serve:
Run a knife along cheesecake and then loosen the spring form pan. Release the cheesecake gently.

For more recipes visit my new food blog: http://braumeisterswife.blogspot.com/

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