Every home cook, whether they are a trained professional or a newlywed new to the kitchen, should have a delicious and decadent cheesecake recipe in their repertoire. Cheesecake is one of those desserts that pleases a crowd time and time again and is better made in advance so it has time to set and chill. There are hundreds of varieties, but the classic combination of cheesecake and strawberries always pleases. I've found two recipes - one for the advanced and one for the novice (or those short on time) - that are equally scrumptious and completely doable in any home kitchen. Champagne pairs perfectly with either of these recipes, so choose the one that suites you, just read more
1 Graham Cracker crumb pie crust
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1-1/3 cups fruit juice of your choice such as orange juice, raspberry juice, limeade, grape juice or pink lemonade
2 cups sliced, fresh strawberries
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip or other Whipped Topping, thawed
- Beat cream cheese and 3/4 cup sugar with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
- Add fruit juice; mix until blended.
- Gently stir in berries and whipped topping.
- Pour over prepared crust.
- Freeze 6 hours or until firm.
- Let stand at room temperature 15 minutes before cutting to serve.
1 1/2 pounds strawberries, hulled
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups finely ground graham crackers, (about 4 sheets)
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 pound plus 13 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped and reserved
8 3/4 ounces mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
- Place strawberries in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with corn syrup, and toss gently to coat.
- Bake until syrup thickens and strawberries turn deep red and shrink slightly, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
- Transfer strawberries and syrup to a medium bowl, and mash with a potato masher. Let cool completely.
- Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees.
- Stir together graham cracker crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar, and the melted butter in a small bowl. Press mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan to make an even layer. Bake until crust is firm to the touch and has just darkened, about 10 minutes.
- Transfer pan to a wire rack, and let crust cool completely.
- Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees.
- Put cream cheese into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-low speed until creamy, about 2 minutes.
- Scrape down sides of bowl, then gradually add remaining cup sugar and the salt.
- Scrape down sides of bowl; add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Scrape down sides of bowl, and mix in vanilla bean seeds and mascarpone until very creamy and no lumps remain, about 3 minutes. (Reserve vanilla bean for another use.)
- Transfer 5 cups cream cheese mixture to bowl with mashed strawberries; stir to combine.
- Pour strawberry-cream cheese mixture on top of crust; smooth with an offset spatula. Carefully spoon dollops of plain cream cheese mixture on top, smoothing with an offset spatula.
- Wrap the exterior of the springform pan in 2 layers of foil; set in a large roasting pan. Fill roasting pan with boiling water until water reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
- Bake cheesecake until set, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes.
- Remove springform pan from water bath, and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
- Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours (up to overnight).