Strawberry Cheesecake Squares

 

I might have a weakness for cheesecake; and might I note there is nothing easier than a good old 9×13 slap it in the pan, and pour it in, and bake dessert. Cheesecake in an oblong pan is like the kissing cousin of slab pie. but in my mind, even easier to pull off. Strawberries have been crazy cheap in my area lately. Last weekend I found 1 pound cartons for 50 cents. I grabbed two and threw them in the fridge not knowing what I had planned for them. A recipe popped up on my email for these squares from the New York Times. The original recipe calls for topping them with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. I decided instead to spread a classic sour cream topping in lieu of whipped cream. You could also make this in a standard springform pan as well. I tweaked it slightly by adding in some extra strawberry flavor (LorAnn Strawberry Bakery Emulsion) to punch up the strawberry-ness. You can skip that step if you cannot access the strawberry emulsion.

recipe adapted from New York Times 

Strawberry Cheesecake Squares 

Crust

11 oz. Shortbread Cookies (I used 2 packages of Pepperidge Farm brand)

1/2 tsp. kosher salt

5 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 and grease or line with a parchment sling a 9×13 inch pan.

In a food processor grind the cookies and salt until you have fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse until combined.

Press the crust into the bottom of the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Cool completely while you prepare the filling.

Filling 

24 oz. fresh strawberries, cleaned, hulled and halved

1 1/2 cups sugar, divided

3 (8 0z.) packages cream cheese, room temp

5 large eggs, room temp

1 tsp. strawberry emulsion (LorAnn brand)

Fresh quartered/halved strawberries for garnish (optional)

In a 3 quart or medium pot, mix the strawberries and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the berries soften and mixture becomes saucy; about 8 minutes. Let cool for at least 15 minutes, then transfer a clean food processor bowl and puree until smooth and no longer chunky; tiny bits are fine. Pour into a large bowl and set aside.

To the food processor bowl, add in the cream cheese and 1 1/4 cups sugar and blend until smooth. Add in the eggs a couple at a time and blend until smooth. Add in the strawberry flavor emulsion and blend. Scrape down the sides of processor bowl and mix until all blended. Pour the cheese mixture into the strawberry mixture and fold until combined. Pour into the cooled crust and bake for 45-50 minutes until edges look set but the middle is very slightly jiggly. Note: I only baked mine for 45 minutes, but next time I will do a few mins. longer as I found the filling was still a little soft. While the cheesecake is baking stir together the sour cream topping. When the cheesecake is done, remove from the oven and gently dollop the topping on top and smooth evenly and to the edges with a small offset spatula. Return to the oven and bake for an additional 11-12 minutes.

Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow to cool in the pan over a wire rack, then refrigerate over-night or for several hours until cutting into squares. Serve cold. Garnish with fresh strawberries as desired.

Sour Cream Topping

2 Cups sour cream, room temp

1/2 Cup sugar

pinch of kosher salt

1 tsp. vanilla

In a medium bowl stir together all the ingredients with a whisk.

 

 



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