Line a 9 inch deep dish pie plate with your favorite crust. Blind bake the pie crust. If you like; see my all-butter pie crust recipe: Fearless pie crust.
If you prefer, you can also used a purchased graham cracker crust or make a quick graham cracker crust instead of using a traditional pie crust.
8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
6 Tbsp. confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
2 1/2 Tbsp. sour cream, room temp
3/4 tsp. plain unflavored gelatin powder
1 Tbsp. cold water
6 Tbsp. cold heavy cream
In a large bowl or stand mixer; beat the heavy cream until stiff peaks form but don’t overbeat or you’ll get butter. Place back in the fridge until ready to use. In the same bowl; no need to clean- beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump free. Add the sugar, vanilla bean paste, and sour cream and mix until just combined. In a small microwave safe bowl place 1 Tbsp. of cold water and sprinkle the gelatin over; let bloom for 5 minutes, then microwave on high for about 20 seconds until the gelatin is dissolved, whisk, then let mixture stand for about 2 minutes. Add the cooled mixture to the cream cheese mixture and blend gently. Fold in the whipped cream by hand until combined. Spread evenly over the cooled pie crust and chill while you make the strawberry layer topping.
Fresh strawberries ~ one pound (washed, hulled and dried)
1 Cup water
2 Tbsp. cornstartch
scant 3/4 Cup sugar
3.0-3.5 oz box Jello: strawberry gelatin
Top your cream cheese filled crust with using half of the berries sliced thin, then the rest of the bigger berries on top left whole. In a small saucepan place the water, sugar, and cornstarch and bring to a boil over medium heat stirring continuously until it appears thick. Boil two more minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the strawberry gelatin until it is dissolved. Pour over the top of the pie; note you will have some leftover; don’t be like me and pour over too much or it will run off the sides. But if you do- don’t fret it’s still delicious and amazing. Chill for at least 3 hours or overnight until set. Serve cold.
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
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.
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.
I’ve said it before, but it’s true. I always have a pie crust or two sitting idle in my freezer for such an impromptu idea as whipping together a quick simple pie or tart. Cruising through the store the other day the strawberries and blackberries were on sale and they looked divine, so I picked up a few cartons. Summer is all about simplicity when it comes to desserts and this is no exception. When you make a pie crust, get in the habit of making double and park that crust (wrapped really well in plastic wrap) in the freezer. Crust is the most time consuming part when it comes to whipping a pie together. The filling is the easy part, especially when it comes to berries because unlike say apples, there is minimal prep work. This simple pie would also work with throwing in some blueberries as well in place of some of the strawberries. Take note that because the strawberries carry a lot of liquid, the pie is best eaten the day it is made.
It’s best eaten when the filling is still warm and the crust is crispy. Vanilla ice cream optional. Mmmm
1/2 recipe fearless pie crust (or your favorite pie crust)
3 1/2 C fresh berries (mixture of strawberries and blackberries)
1/3 C sugar + more for sprinkling edge of pie crust
1 Tbsp. all purpose flour
1/2 C almond meal
1 tsp. orange zest
heavy cream (or half and half for brushing pie crust)
1 1/2 Tbsp. Seedless Strawberry or Raspberry Jam for finishing
Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Roll out pie crust to approx. 1/8 inch thickness. Place the pie crust onto the prepared sheet pan. Toss the almond meal, flour and orange zest together and sprinkle onto the rolled out pie crust, leaving about a 2 inch border.
Wash and dry the berries. Cut the strawberries in half or quarters depending on size. Aim for the same size as the blackberries. I found strawberries that were really small in size so I just halved them (leave the blackberries whole). Toss the berries with the sugar (right before you assemble the pie). Place the berries onto the bed of the almond meal mixture in a nice high pile and fold in the sides of the pie crust, pressing lightly. Brush the crust with the cream and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Bake the pie in a preheated oven for approx. 35 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling. Note: you may need to cover the pie with tinfoil for the last 10 minutes or so if the crust is getting browned too quickly.
In a small bowl mix the jam vigorously to smooth out any lumps. Allow the pie to cool slightly then brush with jam and serve warm.
You know I love a good cocktail. It’s Summer and it’s time for a great fruity drink that calls for sipping on the porch or by the pool. Summer is the best time to explore new drinks as the fruit is ripe and plentiful. If you are lucky enough to have a strawberry plant then you can pluck off a little white or pink flower from the plant and use as a garnish, or simply garnish with a ripe strawberry placed on the rim of the glass.
Strawberry Cassis Martini
yield: 2 servings
4 fresh strawberries, (preferably large size) washed and dried
4-6 ice cubes
4 oz. quality vodka
2 tsp. crème de cassis liquer
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 tsp. sugar (preferably superfine sugar)
Prepare 2 martini glasses or other decorative glasses by chilling in the fridge. Muddle 2 strawberries in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add in the ice, vodka, crème de cassis, lime juice and sugar. Shake vigorously about 10-12 times. Prepare the rim of the glasses by rubbing with lime juice around the rim and dip each one into sugar. Strain and divide the contents into the two chilled glasses. Garnish each glass with a fresh strawberry on the rim by making a small slit into the berry with a sharp knife.