My first taste of cheesecake was many many years ago. It was a plain one; packed with flavours; with the creamiest texture ever! I could still taste it in my head now! It was a very fond memory – I took my time, enjoyed each small bite of it.
As my eating adventure grows wider, I have almost forgotten about this humble cake/dessert until I visited New York a few years ago. I remember we were walking around Chinatown and Little Italy area and stumbled upon a cheesecake shop, called Eileen’s Special Cheesecake. This little shop caught our attention with a beautiful display of tiny cheesecakes with many different flavours and toppings. Without any hesitation, we went in and tried a few different cheesecakes and we were blown away with the look, taste and texture. Probably the best cheesecakes I have ever had for a long time! (Yes, it was even better than the one that I ate when I was little!)
Of course, plain cheesecake is delicious. Some extra toppings make it even better. My love for strawberry remains. It is one of my favourite berries. Let’s just says if there are 2 types of berries in front of me, where one of them is strawberry, I don’t even have to think twice which to pick. Strawberries are great in salad or dessert! I could down them easily like I do with cherries. ?
When I was browsing through some photos in my to-do folder, a few of them are the cheesecake I made using naturally fat free and spoonable soft cheese – The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark. In fact, it was a cheesecake recipe that was given to me using Quark. The strawberry coulis and sliced fresh strawberries toppings were something I added. I was really please to have been able to try Quark. It has really smooth and creamy texture, which is a great alternative to the likes of cream cheese, mascarpone, ricotta, formal frais.. etc.
Baking cheesecake isn’t that difficult at all. I really enjoy the simplicity of it, with wow factor in terms of taste. Though it might not turn out as good as what I tried in New York, but it will help when I crave for a decent cheesecake. I am pretty sure it is something that I will make again!
New York Strawberry Cheesecake
125g digestive biscuits, broken
70g caster sugar
50g unsalted butter, melted
1kg The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark
85g unsalted butter, softened
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
2 tsp vanilla extract
50g caster sugar
250g bulled and halved strawberries
some extra halved strawberries to decorate
1. To make the strawberry coulis, bring the water and caster sugar to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Put the strawberries and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Leave to cool then strain through a sieve, making sure to work the pulp with the back of a spoon in order to extract as much juice as possible. Set aside.
2. Preheat oven to 170°C. Butter the bottom and sides of a 23cm spring form tin. Line the sides of the tin with non-stick baking parchment.
3. Pulse the digestive biscuits and sugar in a food processor until fine crumbs obtained. Add the butter and pulse until mixed. Press this evenly into the bottom of the prepared tin and bake on a lower own shelf for about 15 minutes until golden brown and set. Transfer to wire rack to cool for 10 minutes.
4. Using an electric food mixer or electric hand whisk, beat The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark, butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and yolks one at a time until fully incorporated, then the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
5. Take a large piece of thick kitchen foil and place the lined tin in the centre and wrap tightly around bottom and sides of the pan to prevent any water leaking into the biscuit base. Set in a roasting pan, pour the cheesecake filling into the tin and smooth the top.
6. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the cheesecake and carefully transfer to oven. Bake for 1 hour until the top of the cheesecake is golden brown, the edges are set and centre is still slightly wobbly. Lift cheesecake out, drain well and remove foil from the outside. Cool completely, then chill in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 8 hours.
7. To serve, remove the tin and baking parchment. Pour the coulis on top of the cheesecake, decorate with some halves strawberries. Cut the cheesecake with a long, thin-bladed knife.