Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
While planning out the menu for a dinner party, I mulled over several dessert options; should I go classic with cupcakes? Rich with macaroons? Fruity with an orange cake? But then a thought came to me, a very sweet and creamy thought: cheescake. It's been entirely way too long since I've made one and technically, those were more along the lines of cheescake bars and not an actual cake. Whats the difference, you ask? The topping of course!
Another detail to tweak on a cake, that can't be done with bars, is that mile-high crust that New York Cheesecakes are known for in particular.I followed the Smitten Kitchen's notes on getting that high crust to creep up the sides but opted for a 'lighter' cheesecake recipe. Well, if you can call four packages of cream cheese light, that is.
Now I have to admit, I was skeptical about the topping. I can not stand canned pie-filling versions mounded on top of a cheesecakes, it's way too artificially sweet and seems like such a tacky way to finish such a timeless dessert. But I did have some frozen strawberries on hand (though the stores are full of beautiful fresh ones) so I was willing to try out a simple recipe. I figured if it didn't turn out good we can save it to serve over something else (more to come on that later insha'allah!). Turns out, it was a perfect fruity and slightly sweet compliment after all.
There are a lot of tips and tricks out there on how to get a perfect, crack-free cheesecake but I don't try and mess with those. As long as it tastes good in the end, I don't mind a crack or two. And besides, when you're gonna top it off with this super simple sauce, no one's going to know about any secret cracks.
Philadelphia Cheese Cake
1-1/2 cups Graham Cracker crumbs (I went with Deb's suggestion at used 15 whole graham crackers and whole stick of butter)
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup strawberry, mashed
Heat oven to 325°F.Mix graham crumbs, 3 Tbsp. sugar and butter; press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan.Beat cream cheese, 1 cup sugar and vanilla with mixer until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Pour over crust.Bake 55 min. or until center is almost set. Loosen cake from rim of pan; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours. (I left it in the fridge overnight for best results)
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup water
1. Blend sugar and cornstarch together in a small saucepan.
2.Stir in water and strawberries.
3.Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and boils.