Light and Creamy Strawberry Cheesecake
- Time: 1 hour plus cooking and cooling time
- Serves: 8
- Level: easy
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!
What you need
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
How Dad Cooked It
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.
- Preheat the oven. 140C, Gas 1. Put a roasting tin in the oven on a lower shelf and boil the kettle.
- Prepare the baking tin. Remove the base of the tin and use it to cut a circle from the flan case. Reassemble the tin and butter the base and sides. Put the tart base in the tin and brush with the Amaretto. Put to one side.
- Make the filling. Put the sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the cornflour and whisk together. Add the egg yolks and blend on high-speed until light and fluffy. Add the cream cheese and beat until soft and light. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, fromage frais and the crème fraiche and beat until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Beat the egg whites. In a separate bowl beat the egg whites to a soft peak stage then add 50g sugar and continue to beat until stiff white peaks. Fold into the cheese and cream mixture.
- Bake the cheese cake. Add the filling to the baking tin and smooth the surface. Put in the oven and fill the baking tray a quarter full with boiling water. Bake for 50 – 70 mins. Check the cheese cake after 50 mins – there should still be a slight wobble to the centre when it is done. Leave in the oven with the heat off and the door ajar. Remove from the oven when cool and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or preferably overnight.
- Make the strawberry sauce. Wash and husk 600g of strawberries. Put the strawberries in a sauce pan and add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for 30 minutes. Blend the sauce using a blending stick or blender (cool the sauce first). Pour off a small amount of the sauce in a short glass. Allow to cool, add the cornflour and stir to blend. Add the sauce and whisk until blended. Return to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring continuously. Allow to cool. Refrigerate.
- Assemble the cheesecake. Wash and husk the remaining strawberries and cut in half. Pour some of the sauce over the cheesecake and arrange the cut strawberries on top. Serve with extra sauce.
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.
- Higher fat cheesecake – substitute full fat cream cheese for the light cream cheese and full-fat creme fraiche for half-fat. Increase the sugar by 75g.
- Lower fat cheesecake – substitute fromage frais for the cream cheese. Reduce the sugar by 25g.
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.