Delicious Bites: Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
Hello decor8 readers! Jillian with a new recipe for you this month… Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake! I was in Europe a couple of summers back and I was blown away by the abundance of ripe, red strawberries in the markets. You know the kind you can smell before you can see? Each day I would buy a kilo or so and munch my way through them.
Inspired by the memory of those beautiful strawberries, I’ve come up with a strawberry flavoured treat for you. I decided to make a strawberry swirl cheesecake. I grew up eating baked European style cheesecakes with a filling made from dry cottage cheese, lightened with cream and beaten egg whites encased in a pastry shell then topped with a pastry lattice. As you can imagine, making one of those cheesecakes is a labour of love so over the years I’ve been trying to simplify the recipe.
Instead of a pastry shell I make a shortbread biscuit base and usually leave the top unadorned. I often use a combination of dry cottage and cream cheese in the filling but sometimes dry cottage cheese can be hard to track down so I’ve just used cream cheese in this recipe.
If you can’t be bothered separating the eggs and beating the egg whites, you don’t have to but then you won’t know what you’re missing out on. The cheesecake texture is so light and a little soufflé like because of the beaten egg whites but there is a downside to all that airiness. The top of the cheesecake will crack as it bakes but as you’ll be covering the cake with cream and strawberries no-one will know. I think the cracking is part of the character of this style of cheesecake anyway. The strawberry flavoured swirl is something new I tried out because who can resist strawberries and cream? If you’ve got a few berries leftover you could make a strawberry sauce to serve with the cheesecake.
I’ve not tried making this recipe with any other berries but I’m sure raspberries, blackberries, blueberries or a mixture of all of them would work just as well. If you try out any other flavour combinations, I’d love to hear them.
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
100 g (3 1/2 oz) unsalted butter
1/4 cup caster sugar
1 cup plain flour
½ teaspoon vanilla
750 g (1 1/4 lb) cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
175 mls (3/4 cup) cream
1 (20 ml) tablespoon flour
4 large eggs, separated
2 additional tablespoons caster sugar
200 g (7 oz) quartered hulled strawberries
1 (20 ml) tablespoon caster sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
One 250 g (8 oz) punnet strawberries, washed
Whipped or double cream to serve
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Grease a 23 cm (9 inch) springform tin. I line mine with baking paper but that’s optional.
In a food processor, combine all the base ingredients and whiz until a shortbread mixture forms around the blades.
Remove the biscuit mixture from the food processor and press over the base and slightly up the sides of the prepared tin.
Place the tin in the oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until the base is lightly golden. Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Using a potato masher or a stick blender, mix together strawberries, sugar and lemon juice to form a coarse puree. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 160°C/325°F.
In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, the sugar, the flour and vanilla until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks and the cream.
Remove 2/3 cup of the mixture and fold into the strawberry mixture. Set to one side.
In a separate clean and dry bowl, beat the egg whites until firm peaks form. Beat in the additional sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time. Fold the egg whites into the cheesecake mixture.
Spoon about half the cheesecake mixture over the shortbread base, then alternately with the strawberry mixture. Using a skewer or a chopstick, gently swirl the colours together to create a marble effect.
Bake at 160°C/325°F for 1 hour or until the cheesecake is just cooked but still jiggles in the middle. Let the cheesecake cool in the turned off oven for a further hour.
Transfer the cheesecake to a rack and allow it to cool completely. Cover the cheesecake and refrigerate it for a few hours.
Because of the egg whites, this cheesecake rises a bit like a soufflé then sinks in the middle. The top always cracks so don’t despair.
To serve, fill the centre of the cake with whipped or double cream, sprinkle the edges of the cake with icing sugar and top with strawberries.
If you like, you can make a simple strawberry sauce with any remaining berries by following the strawberry swirl instructions and sweeten to taste.
For next months Delicious Bites column, I was wondering if there was anything in particular you’d like me to bake. So far we’ve made cake, cookies, meringues, tarts and cheesecakes so I can’t wait to see what you come up with.
I’m really looking forward to your suggestions! See you all again next month – Jillian.
(images/text/recipe: Jillian Leiboff)