Thursday, March 15, 2012
The base was made with ground almonds, butter and sugar, which then got baked all by its lonesome to become crispy, golden and perfect. The recipe called for raw unskinned almonds, to boil and soften, and process in a food processor. I am sure they would taste very amazing this way, but there is nothing that resembles a food processor in my kitchen (on the wish list), so luckily, I was able to find that the supermarket did it for me. Thank you New World!
It will look like this once done baking.
For the cheesecake filling, you mix cream cheese and sugar, then eggs, vanilla and salt until combined, finishing off with sour cream (yes another sweet recipe with sour cream- you NEED to try this!), and the strawberry puree. The recipe called for only 2/3 cup of the puree, but I added the entire batch that I made, and I am happy I did, because it didn't have enough of that strawberry taste at first. But again, add what you think is right for yours.
Again, I need you to insert your imagination, and pretend that after an hour in the oven, I took a picture of myself making ganache and adding to the top of the almost set cheesecake. The ganache had chocolate, cream/heavy whipping cream and half of a large beaten egg. This got added carefully to the top of the cheesecake, still in the water bath and placed back in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the outsides of the ganache was set. Once that is done, you want to take the cheesecake out of the water bath, place (still wrapped in foil) on a wire cooling rack and cover with a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. This will take a while, so don't be silly like me and bake the cheesecake later at night. Once it is cool enough, take the foil off, but keep in the pan and place in the refrigerator for 8 hours. I cannot explain the agony I experienced, wanting so badly to look at the cheesecake, but I tell you, I am glad I resisted the temptation. I couldn't imagine what would have happened had I looked too early. Resist the temptation like I did, and let it sit overnight, so you don't have to think too much about it.
-280g/10oz/1 1/4c frozen strawberries, thawed
-juice of 1/2 lemon
-2c ground almonds
-4Tbsp butter, room temperature
-500g/17.5oz (or two packets) cream cheese, room temperature
-3 large eggs, room temperature
-1 1/2tsp vanilla
-350ml/12oz/1 1/2c sour cream, room temperature
-entire strawberry puree mixture
-115g/4oz dark cooking chocolate, finely chopped
-130ml/4 1/2oz/1/2c +2Tbsp cream/heavy cream
-1/2 of 1 large egg, beaten
-For the crust, combine the butter, ground almonds, salt and sugar until well combined. Press into the bottom of a springform pan. Bake in an oven at 400F/200C for 15-20 min, until golden. Take out to cool while you make the puree and filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350F/180C.
-For the puree, take the thawed strawberries and place in mesh sieve over a bowl to collect excess juice. Press on the strawberries to get as much juice as you can. Place this collected juice into a small saucepan placed over medium-high heat. Let simmer until reduced by half. Add in the sugar and stir until sugar dissolved. Blend in the lemon juice and remaining strawberries. Remove from heat and place mixture in a blender or use a stick blender to puree. Set aside.
-For the filling, blend softened cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until thoroughly combined. Blend in the salt and vanilla, and scrape down sides if needed. Finish off by mixing in the room temperature sour cream and the entire batch of the strawberry puree until well combined.
-Wrap the springform pan very well in a double layer of foil, and add the cheesecake filling, almost to the top. Leave about 1/2-3/4 inch room at the top, as it will rise a little bit, and you want room for the ganache at the end. Place the springform pan, covered with foil, into a large water bath and bake for 55 min, until the filling starts to set. Be careful when pulling this out. The water will be boiling.
-Keeping the pan in the water bath and maintaining the oven temperature, pull out the cheesecake and set aside while you make the ganache (or you can make the ganache toward the end of the 55 min).
-For the ganache, put a small saucepan over heat and place in the cream; bring to a boil. Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Pour over the heated cream, let sit for a minute, then stir until smooth. Whisk in the beaten egg. Spread this mixture over the cheesecake, being very careful, and making sure to not pour in one spot. The cheesecake is still very delicate. Smooth out the top of the ganache and place the water bath back in the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the outsides of the ganache are set.
-Remove from water bath, and place on a cooling rack, still covered in foil. Place a large bowl over the cheesecake to allow to cool slowly to room temperature (this will take a long time). Once fully cooled, remove bowl and foil, and place, still in springform pan, into the refrigerator, and let set for 8 hours. Remove the outside of the springform pan, decorate with fruit, and cut with a hot knife, wiping and reheating after each slice with a cup of hot water. Serve cold.
Here is the printable recipe