Strawberry Cheesecake

Move over all you strawberry shortcakes! Here comes a strawberry cheesecake you’ll never forget!

After getting my four wisdom teeth extracted, I could eat only soft foods. Unfortunately (and fortunately), the majority of the allowable food items were high in sugar and/or fat such as pudding, ice cream, and mashed potatoes. For some reason, I was craving healthier food items, so I supplied myself with plenty of baby food canisters of applesauce and pears since they are puréed more finely than the adult versions (you want to make sure you don’t get food particles on your newly-revealed gums. I even had to avoid rice dishes until later).

Anyway, once my teeth had healed a bit, I was craving something delectable, so I made a cheesecake since it is soft and on the approved list. I added the strawberries on top, but if you decide to eat this a day or two after a tooth extraction, you must omit the fruit or make a coulis version (i.e., purée the strawberries and strain out the seeds) of it.

I used my go-to recipe for cheesecake. I will never stray from this recipe because it doesn’t require sour cream or flour, two things I don’t like to put in my cheesecakes. It is so smooth and amazing and never creates a crack (at least on my watch).

I also whipped some heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla extract and placed some on top of individual slices. I hope you make this soon. If you are out of strawberries, try this with cherries. That was how I was going to make it originally, but I remembered the strawberries I had frozen a few months ago. I also didn’t feel like pitting cherries.

Don’t be discouraged by the length of the recipe. Most of the time making this dessert involves the oven and refrigerator. Also, I always make half of the cheesecake recipe (and the full recipe for the crust) since I live alone. It is still more than enough. Enjoy!

Tall and Creamy Cheesecake
halved and adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours and Serious Eats 

Crust:

1 3/4 – 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of salt (I always use kosher)
1/2 stick (4-5 Tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake:
1 lb (two 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp salt (I always use kosher)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp heavy cream or sour cream, or a combination of the two

Make the crust:

  1. Butter a 9-inch springform pan – 2 3/4 inches high – and wrap the bottom of the pan in a double layer of aluminum foil; put the pan on a baking sheet.
  2. Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl. Pour over the melted butter and stir until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist. Turn the ingredients into the buttered springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs along the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides. Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or if the crumbs reach above or below the midway mark on the sides—this doesn’t have to be a precision job. Put the pan in the freezer while you preheat the oven.
  3. Center a rack in the oven, preheat the oven to 350°F and place the springform on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Set the crust aside to cool on a rack while you make the cheesecake.
  4. Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F.

To make the cheesecake:

  1. Put a kettle or large pot of water on to boil.
  2. Working in a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese at medium speed until it is soft and lives up to the creamy part of its name, about 4 minutes. With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat another 4 minutes or so, until the cream cheese is light. Beat in the vanilla. Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition—you want a well-aerated batter. Reduce the mixer speed to low and stir in the sour cream and/or heavy cream.
  3. Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in the roaster pan.
  4. Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, just to make sure that nothing has been left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl, and scrape the batter into the springform pan. The batter will reach the brim of the pan. (If you have a pan with lower sides and have leftover batter, you can bake the batter in a buttered ramekin or small soufflé mold.) Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into the roaster to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
  5. Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top will be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan. Turn off the oven’s heat and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.
  6. After an hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven, lift the springform pan out of the roaster, and remove the foil carefully. Allow the cheesecake come to room temperature on a cooling rack.
  7. When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly, and chill the cake for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  8. Remove the sides of the springform pan, and set the cake, still on the pan’s base, on a serving platter. The easiest way to cut cheesecake is to use a long, thin knife that has been run under hot water and lightly wiped. Keep warming the knife as you cut slices of the cake.
Strawberry Topping

1 pint of strawberries, cut and hulled
1-2 Tbsp cornstarch, if you want it to be thicker
1/4 cup or less of sugar, depending on how sweet your berries are
half of a lemon

In a medium saucepan, boil all of the ingredients until thick. Pour the mixture on top of the chilled cheesecake. [If making a coulis, omit the cornstarch. Pour the cooked ingredients into a blender and puree or use an immersion blender until smooth. Then, drain the mixture with a strainer.]

    To store: Wrapped well, the cake will keep for up to 1 week in the refrigerator or for up to 2 months in the freezer. It’s best to defrost the still-wrapped cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator.

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!!!! ¡¡¡¡FELIZ CUMPLEAÑOS, MAMÁ!!!! FELIZ ANIVERSÁRIO, MÃE!!!! BUON COMPLEANNO, MAMMA!!!! BON ANNIVERSAIRE, MAMAN!!!! 생일축하합니다, 어머니^^!!!!  
    (Wow! I typed in Korean instead of copying and pasting. I hope I wrote it right.)
    Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

    Baked Spicy Buffalo Wings and Fries

    Has anyone caught the football* fever yet? I am not into sports, but it is nice to see my international colleagues get excited about their countries for the Copa Mundial/World Cup being held in South Africa. I haven’t been seeing much coverage of the games on English-speaking channels here, but on the Spanish-speaking channels, it has been big news.

    Even though I’m into sports, the Copa made me want to cook sports-related food items like wings and fries. Now that I can eat solid foods again, I decided to make these wings and fries my first real meal. I don’t know if the positive, delicious outcome of this meal was because it was my first solid-food meal or if it was because of the recipe. I am sure the answer lies in both of those reasons. These wings and fries are crunchy and beyond flavorful on the inside and moist and yummy on the inside.

    Whether you have football fever or not, you must make these wings and fries. They are beyond amazing and so flavorful. My teeth, tastebuds, and stomach enjoyed them very much. And what did I watch on TV while eating them? Toy Story 1 and 2 haha. So much for football fever in this household!

    TEETH UPDATE: I would first like to thank my oral surgeon, his assistants, and my two good friends for making this wisdom tooth procedure so easy and pain-free. I requested to be sedated during the process and allowed my oral surgeon to remove not one but all four of my wisdom teeth! I didn’t feel one ounce of pain during and after the procedure. My good friend took me to the dentist and back home. Then, she removed and replaced my gauze and monitored my medicine intake for most of the day. Later, my other friend took over and brought over ice cream and stayed with me until I could fend for myself. I truly am grateful for them. I am also thankful to all of my blog readers for thinking and praying for me. It is nice to graduate from mashed potatoes, ice cream, pudding, and baby food. 🙂

    Well, enough of that. Here are the recipes!

    YUM! I want more right now!
    Spicy Buffalo Wings
    adapted from Life’s Ambrosia

    1.5 to 2 lb chicken drummettes
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1 tsp seasoning salt
    1 tsp pepper
    1 tsp granulated garlic
    1 egg
    2 Tbsp milk
    About 1/4 cup canola oil
    Wing sauce (recipe on her site) I used Frank’s Red Hot Sauce and butter because I had a bottle in the cupboard (follow the recipe for the sauce on the back of the bottle).

    Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

    Combine flour, seasoning salt, pepper and granulated garlic in one gallon plastic bag.
    In a bowl whisk together egg and milk. Put chicken wings in the egg wash first and coat (I also seasoned the wings with seasoning salt while sitting in the egg wash). Transfer the wings to the plastic bag with flour. Seal the bag and shake to coat.

    Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Lay wings in single layer. Drizzle with canola oil. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Wings should be golden brown and crispy. Prepare the wing sauce while your drummettes are cooking.

    Jo Jo Potatoes
    reduced and adapted from Life’s Ambrosia for one person

    Non-stick spray
    1 tablespoon butter, melted (I didn’t use)
    1 tablespoon olive oil
    1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 6 – 8 wedges each
    1 teaspoon seasoning salt
    1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray, set aside.

    Pour olive oil in a bowl over the cut potatoes. Combine seasoning salt, flour and cayenne pepper over the potatoes to coat.

    Bake on prepared cookie sheet for 20 minutes. Turn and bake for 10 more minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil for 5–7 minutes or until browned (I skipped this step).


    *I am referring to the definition of football recognized by the majority of the world, not U.S. football.

    Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

    Baby Blue Cake: Chocolate and White Cake with Blue Frosting

    Yeah, I know I still have a long way to go to being a good cake decorator hahaha.

    I took a nice break from the kitchen and the computer. I want to thank you all for your encouraging words and advice on the previous post. I guess I was so used to previous Daring Bakers’ challenges as being fairly easy and manageable for me. With the toothache and so many other problems. this challenge was just really…plain and simple…a challenge for me. Next time, I will work on a challenge while not in pain, and I will take things slowly (even though I am already a slow baker/cooker). Also, I will stick to challenge dishes that I will actually want to eat in the end.

    As many of you know, here in the United States, many of us celebrated Memorial Day. On this day, my colleagues and I went to my favorite BBQ joint, Rudy’s BBQ, and I brought this cake. I colored it baby blue just for the “Colorful Mondays” project on Kitchen Simplicity.

    The cake is comprised of my two favorite cake recipes: the Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate cake and Bridget’s white cake, which I blogged about here. Half of my friends preferred the chocolate side because they prefer chocolate, while the other half preferred the white side. I know that my favorite was the white cake. My friend cut a small slice of cake to reserve for her boyfriend, and he later told her to tell me the following:

    Please tell Memoria my only complaint is that the piece was cut way too small. It’s really delicious. It has almost an angel food taste but with a regular cake texture.

    I would totally agree with his description. This recipe is my go-to for white cake (for process photos of this cake, check out the strawberry cake derived from the same recipe).

    I tried to make Italian buttercream, but I whipped the meringue too long and accidentally heated up the sugar syrup too long because I was taking photos. So, I had to make a regular, no-egg buttercream for the outside.

    I ended up removing this frosting because it curdled. After scraping it off, I made and added the regular buttercream.

    It felt really weird to have a cake this color in my possession. I’m not a fan of making and looking at colored icing, but I am totally okay with eating it!

    TOOTH/TEETH UPDATE: I’m going to the oral surgeon tomorrow to get my tooth/teeth extracted. I plan to make soup for this week. Please keep me in your prayers or send me good thoughts. Have a great week, everyone!

    Regular buttercream
    Some may say this is not a buttercream due to the absence of eggs, but I disagree since it is comprised of butter, has a creamy consistency, and is often used for cakes. 

    1 stick of unsalted butter, room temperature
    1/2 cup shortening
    3-4 cups powdered sugar
    2-3 Tbsp milk or half-n-half
    blue colored gel (optional)

    Beat the butter and shortening together well. On low speed, mix the the powdered sugar in one cup at a time. Then, add in the milk until you reach the desired consistency. Add blue colored gel, mix, and keep adding more gel until you reach the desired color.

    Enjoy!

    Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com