Monday, June 24, 2019

Midsummer Strawberry Cheesecake

Strawberries are synonymous for midsummer in Sweden. And Swedish strawberries are like no other, they're luscious, properly sweet, slightly tart, and contain the essence of strawberry flavor. They're a hot commodity here and when you try them, you'll know why!

I discovered cheesecake when I moved to the tri-state area (New Jersey and New York, to be specific) from Miami. I remember once when my dad had his booth at the Jakob Javits Convention Center and there he offered his business contacts strawberry cheesecake from a famous bakery in Manhattan. My dad being my dad (also known as the most generous person in the world) had ordered plenty of cheesecakes so I had the pleasure of eating a good amount! Of course it was the best cheesecake I ever ate. Let me try to describe it for you: dense vanilla filling that was slightly cakey and firm at the same time, maybe from the combination of cream cheese, sour cream and flour? And the strawberry filling on top was sweet and thick from the addition of corn starch. The crust offered welcome cookie texture. It had it all!

I have yet to create what I ate back then but this one is pretty good. It isn't the same because the original cheesecake had double the filling, but I just can't get myself to use 4 boxes of cream cheese, as I know who will suffer the consequences of that...

In the photos you might be able to tell that the crust is a little crumbly, and that's because I created a gluten-free cake for some friends that are gluten intolerant. Feel free to use regular graham crackers and you'll have a crust that holds together a little better. Also, I added corn starch instead of all purpose flour to keep it gluten-free but you don't have to!

Here's to the essence of midsummer, no one will say no to it at your picnic blanket, so enjoy, and happy summer!

Midsummer Strawberry Cheesecake
1 nine-inch tart

150g (1 1/2 cups) graham crackers or digestive cookies (gluten-free if needed)
70g (5 tbs) butter

400g (14oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbs all purpose flour or corn starch
1 1/2 dl (2/3 cups) sour cream, at room temperature
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tbs lemon juice

3 dl (1 1/2 cups) of strawberries (frozen works perfectly!)
2 tbs sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp lemon juice

1. Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 180C or 350F.  In a food processor, crush the cookies until smooth and sandy. Melt butter and add it to the cookies and blend again until moistened. Press firmly and evenly into a nine-inch tart pan (or 7 inch spring-form pan).  Bake for 7-10 minutes until the crust is golden. Allow to cool while making the filling.

2. Make the filling: Beat the cream cheese, sugar and corn starch until smooth and creamy. Then add sour cream and one egg, beat, and then add the other egg, vanilla, lemon zest and juice and beat until smooth. Pour into cooled crust and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the edges are puffed and the center wiggles just a little bit. Allow to cool completely.

3. Make the topping: Bring to a boil over medium heat the strawberries, sugar, cornstarch and water until thickened. Cool and pour over the cooled cheesecake. Serve chilled. Enjoy!

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