The endless winter showers have finally come to an end. What follows is a warmer and sunnier weather. Trees are all blooming. Tulips have brought our yard some long-missed colours. We don’t normally celebrate spring. But we are all thrilled to welcome it, because it means summer isn’t too far away.
And I simply can’t wait. Can’t wait to bring in some berries, fresh herbs, summery colours to my dessert. The cheesecake itself without the topping is already fantastic thanks for the fluffiness and the lemony flavour. Why the topping? Because I am a big fan of cheesecake toppings – salted caramel sauce, chocolate ganache or simply melted chocolate with some nuts. If you serve me a slice of plain cheesecake, I will ask for a dollop of whipped cream. At least. Please!
Ingredients (8-inch cake):
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumb
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 packages of Philadelphia cream cheese, softened
2 cups sour cream, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
zest and juice of a lemon
3 large eggs, separated, room temperature
1 cup fresh strawberry, halved
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil leave
Preheat oven at 350F. Grease an 8-inch spring form pan.
Make the crust by mixing all the crust ingredients together with a fork.
Press the mixture onto the bottom of the spring form pan. Bake crust for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Turn down oven temperature to 300F.
In the bowl of a standing mixer with a paddle attachment, mix cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon zest and juice until combined.
Add egg yolks, one at a time. Blend for another 2 minutes until well combined.
In a clean bowl, whip the egg whites until stiff. Gently fold in the cream cheese mixture.
Pour the filling in the prepare pan. Tap the pan on counter a few times to release all the air in the batter.
Position rack in the centre of oven and place cheesecake on it. Place a shallow pan full of water on the lower rack in the oven.
Bake for an hour, or until the edge of the cheesecake is puffed but the centre is still wobbly and wet looking.
Turn off the oven with the door slightly opened, let the cheesecake sit in the oven to cool completely, at least an hour.
Remove from the oven. Chill for overnight.
To prepare the topping, in a large sauce pan, combine the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until the sugar has melted and the mixture has thickened slightly. Remove the strawberries and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, or until the syrup has reduced by half. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool completely.
Spoon the strawberries and syrup over the cheesecake. Garnish with the basil leaves and serve.