I've actually been set on making cheesecake for will j's birthday because there was this one day when he said he really liked cheesecake. And he said anything with strawberries he'll eat...so naturally I made strawberry topping.
This was actually pretty complicated to make. It took me two days to make this. I saw this on smittenkitchen and I couldn't resist. I've always been scared of cheesecakes since there's so much cream cheese. The ironic thing is that New York cheesecake has MORE cream cheese than a normal cheesecake so why I chose to make this instead...I have no idea.
I first made the crust. Obviously I am not very good at crushing the graham crackers as you see those bits and pieces of graham cracker. I also probably did not use enough graham crackers as my crust looks pretty ugly. But oh wells...what can you do? But I made this a day ahead.
I made the filling the next day. Do you see that madness?! I bought that cream cheese thing from Costco and it was seriously intense. It was tough to get it creamy but thank goodness for a hand mixer which made my life so much easier.
I made the strawberry sauce a day ahead. It's super easy and I used the same recipe on smittenkitchen except that I changed the fruit and also added less sugar because those strawberries were really sweet. It ended up not being too sweet which countered the cheesecake itself.
Haha...what an ugly mess. It was really interesting baking it because I wasn't really sure how it was supposed to turn out in baking it at 550 degrees. But yeah...no good. And I had no idea when it was fully cooked or not and I couldn't tell so I kept opening it to check and wasn't sure. It was very frustrating and time consuming. But hey it turned out fine.
So I scrapped it off and somehow...my crust burned also. I can't figure out why, but I scrapped the really burnt parts off as well. Sadness. I also wasn't sure if it tasted alright. This is the thing with cakes...you can't really try some without ruining the cake. But luckily it was good. Yay!
But here it is. All finished and topped.
8 ounces finely ground graham crackers or cookies such as chocolate or vanilla wafers
8 tablespoons (1 stick or 4 ounces or 113 grams) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar (I put less)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Very tall cheesecake filling:
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar (I put less)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
10 ounces sweet or sour cherries, pitted (I used strawberries)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup sugar (This is adjustable depending on the sweetness of your fruit)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water
Make crumb crust: Stir together crust ingredients and press onto bottom and up the sides, stopping one inch shy of the top rim, of a buttered 9 1/2-inch (or 24 cm) springform pan. You can fill it right away but you can pop it into the freezer so it quickly sets while you prepare the filling. (I did this a day ahead so I didn't freeze it)
Make very tall cheesecake filling: Preheat oven to 550 degrees (yes, this is correct). Beat together cream cheese, sugar, flour and zest with an electric mixer until smooth. Add vanilla, then eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating on low speed until each ingredient is incorporated. Scrape bowl down between additions; I cannot stress this enough as if you do not, you’ll end up with unmixed stripes of cream cheese. I always find at least one, despite my best efforts.
Put springform pan with crust in a shallow baking pan (to catch drips). Pour filling into crust (springform pan will be completely full) and baking in baking pan in the middle of the oven for 12 minutes or until puffed. Please watch your cake because some ovens will top-brown very quickly and if yours does too fast, turn the oven down as soon as you catch it. Reduce the temperature to 200 degrees and continue baking until cake is mostly firm (center will still be slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken), about one hour more.
Run a knife around the top edge of the cake to loosen it and cool the cake completely in springform on a rack, then chill it, loosely covered, at least 6 hours.
Make cherry topping (optional): Place all ingredients together in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, cook it for an additional one to two minutes then remove from heat. Cool completely.
Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. If you had any wonky baking issues, you might need to trim the cake flat.
Spread topping (if using) over chilled cheesecake.
*Cheesecake keeps, covered and chilled, 2 weeks.
Mmm yay! I don't think I would make it again unless I'm feeling ambitious or have some help. But it was good I think! Yumyumyum.