Here at WDC we’re trying to watch the amounts of sugar and saturated fats in our diet. But how can we resist strawberry desserts in summertime – especially a strawberry cheesecake!
For the cheesecake:
360g light Philadelphia cream cheese
200ml fromage frais
300ml creme fraiche
100g + 50g white caster sugar
3 medium eggs separated
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large ready-made sponge flan case
2 tbs amaretto liqueur (optional)
For the strawberries and sauce:
2 tbs sugar
4 tbs apple juice
Juice of 1 lemon
1.5 tsp cornstarch
23cm springform baking tin
This recipe was devised with ‘strawberries and cream’ in mind. I avoided the richness of a New York-style cheesecake – too dense and rich for strawberries. A no-cook cheesecake would not have the robustness of a cooked cheesecake. A no-cook version using gelatin would not have the right texture – a bit too mousse-like. This recipe is a perfect balance. It tastes like a cheesecake but has the lightness and creaminess of strawberries and cream.
Cheesecakes can have all types of bases, biscuit crumb, pastry, or sponge. I’ve used a sponge base, which eliminates a large amount of sugar and fat.
The amount of sugar and fat in a baking or dessert recipe is proportionately related. The more fat there is, the more sugar is needed. The fat is able to carry the extra sugar. It seems to create an intense, but very palatable, energy hit. This is why those sweet, cement-like cheesecakes are so addictive. However, the converse is also true – too much sugar in a low-fat medium creates an unpleasantly sugary sweetness. With this in mind you can use my proportions of cheese and cream in this recipe to increase the fat or even lower it – but you will also need to adjust the sugar.
There are two main reasons a cheese cake will crack: temperature changes and overcooking. To avoid rapid temperature changes, do not change the heat on the oven and do not remove the cheesecake from the oven when done. After the oven is turned off, keep the cheesecake in the oven with the door ajar for half an hour – or more – to cool very slowly. There is a tendency to overbake cheesecakes, which causes tensions in the delicate custard. It’s normal for the centre to have a slight wobble at the end of cooking time.