Cheesecake is traditionally my chosen dessert for celebrating my birthday. This year, my daughter asked my husband to help her make my birthday cake, so they baked me a cheesecake!
They followed my recipe, and I tried not to hover while they made it (except when my husband asked me to show him how to line the springform with parchment paper). My husband joked that I should call this 2-hour Husband Cheesecake, since it took him 2 hours to put together (whereas it would have taken me only 30 minutes or so). The results were fabulous, and oh so pretty!
Crustless Strawberry Cheesecake (a.k.a. 2-hour Husband Cheesecake)
Three 8-ounce packages of organic cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup mild-flavored honey OR 1 cup organic sugar
1 tsp lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
4 Tb lemon juice (from 1 or 2 lemons, depending on size and juiciness)
1/4 tsp fine-ground celtic sea salt
2 tsp organic vanilla extract
2 whole eggs, preferably from pastured hens
2 egg yolks, preferably from pastured hens
2/3 cup sour cream
Strawberry topping (recipe follows)
Equipment needed: springform pan (see note below) and large roasting pan or oven-safe skillet
NOTE: If you don't have a springform pan, you could certainly cook this in a greased casserole dish (skipping the parchment paper and foil). BUT, don't expect to have picture-perfect pieces of the cheesecake as it will likely get a bit smooshed as you scoop it out. The springform is nice because the sides come off the pan, so you can easily cut and scoop the pieces out.
Line the bottom and sides of a springform pan with parchment paper. The reason for the parchment paper is to make sure the cheesecake will not stick and that it will be easy to serve. You can trace the bottom of the pan onto the paper to make it the right size, and then you'll need a long strip or two for the side of the pan. You can use a little softened butter to "glue" the paper to the bottom and sides if you have a hard time getting the paper to stay in place. Then grease the parchment paper with softened butter.
Wrap the bottom and sides of the springform with a double layer of aluminum foil. Since the cheesecake will be cooked in a pan of hot water, the foil will keep the water from getting into the cheesecake. (If your springform pan is in excellent condition, you can probably skip the foil. If in doubt, go ahead and use the foil so you don't end up with a soggy, ruined, cheesecake.)
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Zest the lemon. A microplane zester works very well to zest the lemon easily.
Juice the lemon. I like to use a lemon reamer for this.
Use a stand mixer with a wire whip attachment (or a hand mixer) to beat together the cream cheese, honey (or sugar), lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium-low for a minute, then increase the speed to medium and beat for another 1-2 minutes until light and fluffy, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times.
Beat the eggs and yolks into the cream cheese mixture one at a time on medium speed. Then beat in the sour cream. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix a bit more to make sure everything is well-mixed.
Pour the batter into the springform pan. Place the springform into a large roasting pan or oven-safe skillet. Then pour enough hot water into the roasting pan/skillet to go about halfway up the side of the springform pan.
Carefully place in the oven. Bake for about an hour, until the middle is starting to set (but still quite jiggly).
Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in for another 15 minutes with the door closed. Then crack open the oven door and leave the cheesecake in for another 30 minutes.
Move the cheesecake onto the counter to cool a bit more, then transfer to the fridge and chill for at least 3-4 hours hours. If you won't be eating the cheescake yet, cover the top of the top of the springform pan with some plastic wrap.
When ready to eat, remove the side from the springform pan and then remove the parchment paper from the side of the cheesecake. Slice the cheescake and serve with the strawberry topping. One trick to make sure the slices are all pretty is to clean the knife and pie scooper well between each slice.
Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge.
10 oz frozen organic strawberries*, thawed enough to slice
2 Tb mild-flavored raw honey OR 3 Tb organic sugar (or use more if your berries aren't very sweet)
1 Tb lemon juice
Slice the strawberries.
Combine them with the honey (or sugar) and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Stir well.
Cover and place in the fridge for several hours.
*Except during our local strawberry season, I find that frozen strawberries have far superior flavor to the fresh ones sold in grocery stores.
This post is part of Weekend Potluck!
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