Strawberry Cheesecake...with a Chocolate Surprise!

      “A party without cake is just a meeting” 

― Julia Child

Winter is just beginning to roll in.. quietly. You can feel it in the nip in the air early in the morning.. or in the chill of the evenings... The blankets and shawls are finally making a rather dazed and early appearance at my home this year...and I,well I am longing for extra winks to snuggle in my blanket..I am longing for big bowls of hot chicken soup...and yes, I was even longing for some cheesecake..My ultimate dessert favourite. 

On a recent trip to the farmer's market , I had splurged on the amazing produce found and came home loaded with some super delicious cherries, pears, plums and strawberries!! 
Oh God... the sight of all that glorious color beckoned me from afar, it willed me to move my lazy ass from the couch, uncurl and come out of my snuggly blankie and make something with it... 
I decided to make a big, fat cheesecake. A Strawberry one. 

It’s the kinda gal I am. And its also the day my lil blog turned 4 months old.. and hey a gal's gotta do something dang delicious to commemorate a delicious journey, right!? ;) Not to mention the surprise that I have already lasted 4 months...and gained a few pounds!! (Talk about yummy sacrifices I have been making) :P 
There are so many ways to make a starwberry cheesecake. You can top the crust with syrupy strawberries before pouring in the filling. You can bake strawberries right into the filling itself. You can add a strained strawberry puree to the filling to create a beautiful pink masterpiece, or you can swirl in strawberry puree and make lovely designs on the top of the cake.
My preferred way is the least fussy: make a dang good, basic cheesecake and top it with syrupy sweet strawberries...and as a rather indulgent addition, I hid some dark and white chocolate bark in there too! 
It’s how I roll :D

I love cheesecake, but rather than go the traditional, predictable Springform pan route, I sometimes like to serve them in individual wine glasses or whatever glasses I can get my hands on! It’s easier to serve,especially at a party,  which means it’s easier to eat, which is always a plus in my book. It also makes these perfect for a potluck dinner, or any place you need to take a portable dessert!
Here’s how I made the little delights.

Bringing this to a few parties.... First to the Fiesta Fridays hostess, the " amazing Angie" as I think of her...she is the author of ths fabulous blog you thought Halloween can only be spooky, click on her blog link to see the prettiest spider webs ever!!! Promise!!
And to the other famously talented gals Jhuls at and read about personal triumph over a bad phase of life in a heart warming post and enjoy some delicious black and white cookies over a cuppa coffee with your friends...and then hop on to another wonderful blogger  Margy @La Petite Casserole....Though I am yet to get in touch with her, I have been a silent observer and admirer since long..and totally love love adore her posts!! Margy here's hoping to get acquainted with you through my simple but gobsmackingly delicious Prawns!

I am also bringing this to another fave group of party gals at the #FoodieFridays!!
I dont know what to say about the team there, except that they are all simply phenomenal.. Michelle Nahom is simply Ah-Ma-Zing!!! Love you Mich.. you help out little starters like me, and give a shout out and I love that about you!! Not to mention your blog posts are simply beautiful...  :) SO glad to be a part of this fab group.... Hop over to her blog immediately !!


For the Crust: 
  • 250g digestive biscuits
  • 100g butter, melted
For the cheesecake: 
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 600g soft cream cheese ( I used Philadephia) 
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 250 ml  double cream

For the topping:

  • 2 bags (12 Ounce) Frozen Sweet Cherries
  • 1/4 cup Honey
  • 1/4 cup Whiskey (optional)
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  •  Juice Of Half A Lemon
  • 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon Almond Extract

  1. Make the base:  Put 250g digestive biscuits in a plastic food bag and crush to crumbs using a rolling pin. Transfer the crumbs to a bowl, then pour over 100g melted butter. Mix thoroughly until the crumbs are completely coated. Tip them into the prepared glasses and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer. Chill in the fridge for 1 hr to set firmly.
  1. Make the cheesecake:   Remove the vanilla seeds from 1 pod: Slice the vanilla pod in half lengthways, leaving the tip intact, so that the two halves are still joined. Holding onto the tip of the pod, scrape out the seeds using the back of a kitchen knife.

  1. Make the filling:  Place 600g soft cheese, 100g icing sugar and the vanilla seeds in a bowl, then beat with an electric mixer until smooth. Tip in 250ml pot double cream and continue beating until the mixture is completely combined. Now spoon the cream mixture onto the biscuit base, Smooth the top of the cheesecake down with the back of a dessert spoon or spatula. Leave to set in the fridge overnight or even 4 hrs will do. 

  1. Make the Chocolate Surprise:  Melt some good quality dark chocolate using a double boiler,You can of course microwave it too in 10 sec spurts...but I prefer the double boiler method.. once melted, add in some cream and butter and whisk till smooth. Set aside to cool. 
  2. Get some chocolate shavings from the white chocolate. Simply take a peeler and peel at the bark.
  1. Make the topping : 
  2. Combine the strawberries and honey in a medium saucepan and cook it over medium heat until hot and bubbly. Pour in the whiskey and stir to combine, then let it cook for 2 minutes. Stir in the butter until it melts.
    Mix together the lemon juice with the cornstarch, then pour it in. Continue cooking for 2-3 minute until thicker. Add the almond extract.
    Pour into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours, or until chilled.

  • Take the glasses out after 30 minutes to an hour..The crumble should have hardened by now. 
  • Pour over the Cream cheese filling.. Refrigerate for minimum of 4 hrs or overnight. 
  • Once ready to serve, bring it out
  • Pour some melted dark chocolate on the filling..
  • Top it with the white chocolate shavings... 
  • Add a dollop of the Strawberry compote ....and Serve !!!

1. Base hasn't set? 
Ans: To ensure the base sets properly, the melted butter must be thoroughly mixed through the biscuit crumbs. Make sure you also leave it in the fridge to firm up for at least 1 hr before adding the filling so that the crumbs do not mix into the soft cheese mixture.

2. Filling hasn't set?
Ans : The cheesecake may have needed more time in the fridge. The mixture should be quite firm to begin with, but a long chilling time (preferably overnight) is essential to ensure the filling sets well.

3. Try a different flavour. 
Ans : Lemon: Beat the finely grated zest & juice 2 lemons with the soft cheese & icing sugar instead of the vanilla seeds. Top with lemon curd & leave to chill. Raspberry: Replace strawberries with fresh raspberries. Passion fruit & mango: Make a delicious passion fruit sauce by sieving the pulp of 4 passion fruit and sweetening to taste with a little icing sugar. Top the cheesecake with chopped mango, then pour over the sauce, dotting the top with a few of the passion fruit seeds.

Of course try my mango cheesecake with caramel work!!

4. Can't get it out of the tin?
Ans: If you find the cake difficult to un-mould, then either let it sit for a little longer, or wipe the outside of the tin with a warm cloth. This heats the edges and should allow you to remove the tin easily

Perfect for the upcoming Christmas and New Year eve parties hovering over the horizon... Make ahead, and simply serve up a delectably wow dessert in minutes!

In celebration mode,
S <3

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