I’ve made this cheesecake too many times to count. It’s an Emril Legassie recipe from FoodNetwork.com. It’s quick and easy (the mixing part that is, the baking and cooling takes time). The topping however, I created after several tries. Now I think it is just right. My husband loves cheesecake, it’s one of the first desserts I made after we got married and he’s been hooked on it ever since. I hope you like it as much as we do.
At this point the filling is pretty much ready. Now for the crust. I tried the crust from Emril’s recipe but it always comes out crunchy, so I improvised and this one seems to work perfectly.
Now for the strawberry topping…
This recipe is taken from foodnetwork.com. Follow the recipe for the cheesecake only. My strawberry topping recipe will follow below.
Graham Cracker Crust:1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons melted butterCheesecake Filling:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups peeled, cored, and thinly sliced Granny Smith apples (about 4 apples)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a bowl, mix together the crumbs, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and mix well. Using the back of a spoon, press evenly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake until golden, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool before filling.
In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, or with a large, heavy wooden spoon until creamy and smooth. Add the sugar a few tablespoons at a time, and when well incorporated, add the flour, lemon peel, orange peel, and vanilla extract. Add the eggs and heavy cream, beating on low speed just until combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the middle of the oven until set, but the center is still slightly soft (but not wobbly), about 55 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, loosen the outer ring, and let cool in the pan on a wire rack. Refrigerate the cake, loosely covered, for 6 hours or overnight.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
To make the topping, in a heavy, medium saucepan, combine the 1/2 cup sugar and water, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Continue cooking until amber in color, 7 to 10 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally. Add the butter, stir, and cook over low heat until the butter is melted and evenly incorporated. Add the apples and stir to coat with the caramel. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the apples are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool before topping the cheesecake.
Top the cheesecake with the caramelized apple topping and serve.
1 1/2 lbs fresh strawberries
1 large orange (juiced)
1 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Wash strawberries. Then remove stems and cut into halves. Set aside. Combine water and sugar in a small stock pot on high heat. Stir until sugar dissolves completely. Then bring to a boil. Add orange juice and continue to boil for about 5 minutes. Add strawberries, and continue to boil for about 3 minutes, or until strawberries are cooked but not too soft. Remove 1/2 the strawberries, set aside and let cool. Continue to cook the other half, until really soft and mushy. Remove from heat. With a hand blender or potato masher, crush strawberries until a jam like consistency forms. Return to the heat and cook down until a thick sauce forms, for about 10 more minutes. You may need to stir constantly to prevent sticking. Strain strawberry sauce to remove chucks of strawberries, leaving a nice thick sauce. The strawberries you set aside before will be used to top the cheesecake followed by the sauce.
Tips and Ramblings:
1. You can make this recipe without the crust. Just remember to grease the pan and line all the way around with parchment to prevent the cheesecake from dripping out the sides of the spring form pan.
2. For a lighter, fluffier cheesecake, bake at 325 for about 110 minutes. This should also prevent it from getting as brown as mine did.
3. You can top your cheesecake with any kind of fruit. In fact I wish I lived in Guyana and had access to gooseberry cause gooseberry jam would probably make a great cheesecake topping, or even pineapple jam.
4. Sometimes my cheesecake cracks after or during cooling, I’m not quite sure why this happens or how to prevent. But it gets covered up with the topping. If any of you bakers out there know how to prevent this, do share.