Thought it was time to do another cheesecake and, since I was also looking at giving one of this weekend's goodies to my Stepmother for her birthday, the Strawberries and Cream flavour seemed the perfect choice.
Started out making the biscuit base. I only have a mini-blender so had to blitz them up in a few batches as couldn't fit all the biscuits in at once. Having whizzed that a few times the digestives were all mashed up. Then added the melted butter and mixed together with a wooden spoon until all the smashed up biscuit has been coated and can be compacted together.
I posted on my facebook blog before starting how to get a smooth edge to the cheesecakes. I usually line the tin with one big sheet of greaseproof paper but this folds on the sides and makes the edges of the cheesecake a little rough. Since this cake was to be a gift I obviously want it to look stunning but was unsure how badly the cheesecake would stick if no greaseproof paper was used on the sides. My followers and fellow bakers advised me that it wouldn't stick but some do used a thin strip of paper rather than nothing just in case. I ummed and ahhed about it for a while and decided not to use any as have found it can pull a few small chunks off the side and thought running a knife around the inside of the tin before releasing the spring side would work better.
Although I wasn't greasing the sides of the tin, I did cut a circle out to fit inside the bottom as the digestive base would most definitely stick and with the slight lip inside the tin it is difficult to get out. This inside, I spooned the biscuit base into the tin, smoothed it out with the back of a tablespoon and then into the fridge it went to set.
Whilst the base was setting I started on simmering the strawberries. They go into a saucepan with a minute amount of water and some sugar, brought to the boil then simmered until the liquid has halved and the strawberries are squishy. This has to be completely cooled before it can be added to the main cheesecake filling so I left it on the oven top and had a little break.
Break over and my cuppa gone, I set about whisking the philadelphia, sugar and eggs together that will make up the filling once the strawberries have been added. Once the main three ingredients have been combined with the electric whisk, I used my trust old wooden spoon again to stir in the strawberry mixture. I was worried that the remaining liquid might colour the filling, as in the cook book photo it is white. Due to this I added the strawberries first and then a little of the liquid at the time to make sure. I needn't have worried though as it didn't make a difference to the colour of the filling. The strawberries did seem to settle at the bottom though, even with me trying to make sure they were evenly distributed. This happened once the filling had been poured into the tin on top of the set biscuit base.
All combined it went into the oven for about 35 minutes in total. I used the water bath on the shelf underneath the cheesecake, which had to go onto the second shelf as my beef casserole was cooking above it. All cooked and I let it cool on the side for just over an hour before popping it into the fridge for the recommended 2 hours. By this time it was past 10pm but I wanted to get it finished that night as it was to be taken over to my parents around midday on Saturday.
The remaining ingredients, the icing sugar, double cream (whipped of course) and the mascarpone cheese, get mixed together and then layered on top of the main cheesecake itself and back into the fridge to set overnight. This was all completed on Friday night, all that remained was to decorate with fresh strawberries in the morning before we headed off for cake and present.
I was rather pleased with the decoration on top and as we were heading out the door I just ran my knife around the edge before releasing the tin and seeing my wonderfully smooth sided cheesecake. I then had to get the tin side back around it, as decided that was the easier and safest way to transport the cake without a major disaster.
Myself, hubby and stepmother all tucked into a slice after the presents had been opened. It was my favourite cheesecake made so far. Nice to have the creamy layer on the top of the cheesecake and the strawberry pieces inside the filling itself. Although as I stated earlier on, they did all sink to the bottom no matter how hard I tried but it didn't affect the taste of the cake. It went down well with all of us and the cheesecake was left their for the rest of the family to try. This did leave my husband feeling disappointed and so I promised I would make him a plain strawberry one the next day, just for our little family.