Because you don’t live near a bakery doesn’t mean you have to go without cheesecake.Hedy Lamar
My friends and I are celebrating a birthday this weekend, and I get to bring the celebratory dessert! So instead of featuring a traditional Sunday Dinner today, I am happy to share my recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake.
We all know what a goddess Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, is. When her shows first aired on the Food Network, I was instantly hooked and bought all of her books. Over the years, she has taught me how to cook, how to keep things simple and tasteful, and how to entertain. Now I feel like I “Cook Like a Pro.”
Of all her recipes, the ones that I make over and over include: Parmesan Chicken, Roasted Shrimp Cocktail and Raspberry Cheesecake. It is her cheesecake recipe that is the inspiration for my Strawberry Cheesecake.
My Strawberry Cheesecake is not only silky decadence, it’s a showstopper too. The whole strawberries sitting proudly on top are a perfect complement to the creaminess of this dessert. It is a fresh, luscious, and delicious dessert your friends and family will enjoy any day of the week. Have a berry wonderful Sunday!
A few key notes about cheesecakes and this recipe:
- Don’t let the various steps in the preparation intimidate you from making this dessert. Each step is very easy; good things take time.
- A lot of cheesecake recipes call for a water bath in the oven (either placing the cheesecake directly into a pan of water while it’s cooking or a separate pan of water sitting in the oven rack below the cheesecake) to prevent cracking. I’ve made other cheesecake recipes before where that process is required. For the ingredients used in this recipe, that procedure is not required.
- Either make the cheesecake the evening before or allow enough time for the cheesecake to cool and be refrigerated for at least 8 hours.
- Oven temperatures may vary, so the first time you make this, keep a vigilant eye on it. You’ll know that it is finished cooking if the outer edges of the cheesecake feel firm to the touch and the center still looks wet and jiggly.
- About an hour before serving, finish the cake with the strawberry topping.
- Allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature or is slightly chilled before serving.
Preparation Time: 30 minutes
For the crust:
1-½ cups graham cracker crumbs (10 crackers), crushed
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, melted
For the filling:
2-½ pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1-½ cups sugar
5 whole extra-large eggs, room temperature
2 extra-large egg yolks, room temperature
¼ cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest (2 lemons)
1-½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 cup red currant jelly or strawberry jelly (no seeds)
3-4 pints large whole strawberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter until moistened. Pour into a 9-inch springform pan. With your hands or a fork, press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan and approximately 1 inch up the sides. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.
- Raise the oven temperature to 450 degrees.
- To make the filling, cream the cream cheese and sugar in a stand-mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes. Reduce the speed of the mixer to medium and add in the eggs 2 at a time, mixing well. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and beater, as needed. With the mixer on low, add the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly and pour into the cooled crust.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 225 degrees and bake for another 1 hour and 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and open the door wide. Cake will still be jiggly in the center. Allow the cake to sit with the oven door open for 30 minutes. Take the cake out of the oven and allow it to cool completely, approximately 2-3 hours. Wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove the cake from the springform pan carefully. Leave cake on the bottom of the springform pan for serving.
- To make the topping, melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. Gentle drop the whole strawberries into the jelly to coat. Arrange the berries on top of cake, as pictured. (NOTE: I prefer the presentation of whole strawberries on the top of the cake. You may also cut into large pieces and arrange on top of cake.)