STRAWBERRY SHORTBREAD CHEESECAKE

INGREDIENTS:

 

CHEESECAKE BISCUIT BASE:

200 g Arnott’s Marie crackers or other plain biscuit (Aus) or 28 Graham Cracker squares (Note 1)
120 g / 8 tbsp unsalted butter , melted

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CHEESECAKE FILLING:

1 lb / 500g cream cheese , softened (Note 2)
2 tbsp plain flour (all purpose flour)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup / 125g sour cream (full fat, sub sour cream)
1 1/2 cups (330g) caster sugar (superfine sugar)
Zest of 1 lemon
3 eggs , at room temperature

STRAWBERRY TOPPING FOR CHEESECAKE:

500 g / 1 lb strawberries , half diced and half halved
2 tbsp lemon juice OR water (Note 3)
1/2 cup (110g) white sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp cornflour/cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

 

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 160C/320F (standard) or 140C/295F (fan/convection).
Get a 20cm/8″ springform cake tin. Turn the base UPSIDE DOWN (Note 4), butter lightly and place a square piece of parchment/baking paper on the base. Then clip into the springform pan – excess paper will stick out, see photos in post and video.
Butter and line the side of the pan.

CHEESECAKE BISCUIT BASE:

Break up biscuits roughly by hand and place in a food processor.
Blitz until fine crumbs (Note 5). Add butter, briefly blitz until dispersed and it resembles wet sand.
Pour into the prepared cake tin. Use a spatula to roughly spread it out over the base and up the walls.
Use something with a flat base and vertical edges (I used a measuring cup) to press the crumbs up the wall almost to the top of the sides, and flatten the base.

FILLING:

Use a mixer or beater to beat the cream cheese until smooth – about 30 seconds on medium high,.
Add flour, beat until just combined (10 sec).
Add vanilla, sour cream, sugar and lemon zest. Beat until just combined (10 – 15 sec).
Add eggs one at a time, beat in between until just combined (10 sec each). Don’t over beat, do not want to aerate the batter.
Pour into prepared crust.
Bake for 55 minutes. The top should be a very light golden brown, not cracked, and near perfectly flat. It should jiggle slightly when you gently shake the pan.
Cool the cake in the oven with the door open 20 cm / 8″ (Note 6), then refrigerate for 4 hours+ in the pan.
Remove sides. Use overhang paper to slide cheesecake off the cake pan. Then slide the cheesecake off the paper.

STRAWBERRY TOPPING FOR CHEESECAKE:

Place chopped strawberries, vanilla, sugar and lemon juices in a saucepan. Stir then bring to simmer over medium heat.
Simmer for 10 minutes until strawberries breakdown.
Add cornflour and stir – it will thicken quickly.
Add halved strawberries and cook for 1 minute to soften.
Sauce should be syrupy – remove from stove and cool. Will thicken as it cools.
Once cool, stirl. Adjust thickness to make it the right “oozing” consistency (see video, Note 7) with a tiny touch of water (be careful!).
Spoon onto cheesecake so it’s covered with a single layer of strawberries. Flip strawberry halves so they are facedown. Refrigerate 2 hours+.
Slice and serve with remaining Strawberry Sauce!

RECIPE NOTES:

1. Biscuits: Any plain crackers will work fine here, you need 2 cups of crumbs.
Australia: Arnott’s Marie Crackers, Arrowroot and Nice are ideal, I’ve made it with all these.
US: Use 28 squares / 14 full sheets, yes I measured it with my last Graham Cracker packet I brought back from my last trip.
UK: Digestives are ideal, I LOVE digestives!

The crumb should be like wet sand so when pressed, it stays packed firmly, especially up the wall. It’s delicate when uncooked but once the filling is cooked, it becomes much more stable.

2. Cream Cheese – In the UK and some parts of Europe, block cream cheese isn’t available. If you can only get spreadable cream cheese in tubs (softer than block), skip the sour cream.

3. Lemon Juice or Water – Depends on sweetness of strawberries. If they aren’t that sweet, use water instead.

4. Inverted cake pan with overhang paper: The base of springform pans have a slight ridge. By inverting it, there is no ridge which makes it easier to slide the cheesecake on a serving platter without ruining the crust. There is no risk of batter leakage as the crust is thick enough to hold it all in.
5. Crumbs: OR crush in a ziplock bag using a rolling pin or large can.

6. Cool in oven: This helps stop the surface from cracking.

7. Strawberry topping should be like jam consistency, not a set jelly. It should ooze slightly when cut.

8. Different measures: Cups and spoons vary slightly between countries (US and CAN are different to most of the rest of the world). I have made this recipe using both US and Australian measures, using Australia Marie crackers and US Graham Crackers. The Graham Cracker crust is slightly crunchier because the biscuit doesn’t crush to a fine sand like Marie Crackers do. Both are delicious!

9. Make Ahead / Storage: Cake is at its best consumed within 4 days, after that I feel like it starts getting denser but still really fab, most people wouldn’t notice a difference! Ideal to top the day or or day before. After 2 to 3 days, the top does start to “sweat” but it’s not very noticeable.

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