Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Strawberry Cheesecake

This morning I walked out to our strawberry patch and found the first dark red, perfectly ripe strawberry of the season. We have lots of fruit on the plants this year so it is promising to be a good harvest; I just have to beat the kids, the dog and the birds to get them! The rest of the fruit is a ways off being ready and I have a hankering for strawberry cheesecake, so it is a quick trip out to R & Bees (by the Whakatane Airport turnoff) to get perfectly delicious strawberries in more practical quantities.
Strawberries are loved the world over, and world production is increasing every year to feed the need.  In 2011 most of the world produced over 4.5 million tonnes and it is estimated that China produces a further 2.1 million tonnes.

 Improvements in genetics and a move to hydroponic growing has contributed to that increased production.
The first garden strawberries were grown in France in the late 18th century.Prior to this, wild strawberries and cultivated selections from wild strawberry species were the common source of the fruit.

The strawberry fruit was mentioned in ancient Roman literature in reference to its medicinal use. The French began taking the strawberry from the forest to their gardens for harvest in the 1300s. Charles V, France's king from 1364 to 1380, had 1,200 strawberry plants in his royal garden. In the early 1400s western European monks were using the wild strawberry in their illuminated manuscripts.

The strawberry is found in Italian, Flemish, German art, and English miniatures. The entire strawberry plant was used to treat depressive illnesses. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry)
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, so much so, that 1 cup will give you more than you need in a day. They do have some other goodness too, with a range of vitamins and minerals, but all in low quantities which of course still contribute to your daily intake.

Regardless of the nutrition, strawberries are yummy and most of us love them. In a few weeks, once the price has come down a little, I will share some jam recipes and tips. I am really into making Christmas gifts, and jam is one of my favourite gifts to give.

Kia makona, Mawera Karetai x

Strawberry Cheesecake with Ginger Crust
For crust
  • 2 packs of gingernut biscuits (add some pecans if you have some in the cupboard)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For filling
  • 3 x 250gm packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (please don’t use essence)
  • 3 large eggs
For topping
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, halved
  • 1 Pack of good quality Strawberry Jelly

Make crust:
Position rack in centre of oven and preheat to 163°C. Process biscuits, sugar and butter in processor until well mixed. If you do not have a processor, you can put them in a strong bag and smash the biscuits with a rolling pin. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and halfway up sides of 22cm diameter springform pan. Bake crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the pan to a cooling rack.
Make filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs and beat just until blended.
Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Bake until sides of cheesecake are slightly puffed and centre moves slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 1 hour. Transfer cake still in the pan to a rack and cool completely.
Make topping:
Take your pack of strawberry jelly, make the jelly using ½ the water, but the full pack of jelly – this will create a firm set to hold the strawberries.
Leave the jelly to cool on the bench. Once it has cooled, but before it has set, arrange strawberries around the trop of cheesecake then pour over the cooled jelly.
Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, remove from pan, cut into wedges and serve. hat increased production.
The first garden strawberries were grown in France in the late 18th century.Prior to this, wild strawberries and cultivated selections from wild strawberry species were the common source of the fruit.
The strawberry fruit was mentioned in ancient Roman literature in reference to its medicinal use. The French began taking the strawberry from the forest to their gardens for harvest in the 1300s. Charles V, France's king from 1364 to 1380, had 1,200 strawberry plants in his royal garden. In the early 1400s western European monks were using the wild strawberry in their illuminated manuscripts. The strawberry is found in Italian, Flemish, German art, and English miniatures. The entire strawberry plant was used to treat depressive illnesses. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strawberry)
Strawberries are packed with vitamin C, so much so, that 1 cup will give you more than you need in a day. They do have some other goodness too, with a range of vitamins and minerals, but all in low quantities which of course still contribute to your daily intake.
Regardless of the nutrition, strawberries are yummy and most of us love them. In a few weeks, once the price has come down a little, I will share some jam recipes and tips. I am really into making Christmas gifts, and jam is one of my favourite gifts to give.
Kia makona, Mawera Karetai x
Strawberry Cheesecake with Ginger Crust
For crust
  • 2 packs of gingernut biscuits (add some pecans if you have some in the cupboard)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
For filling
  • 3 x 250gm packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (please don’t use essence)
  • 3 large eggs
For topping
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled, halved
  • 1 Pack of good quality Strawberry Jelly

Make crust:
Position rack in centre of oven and preheat to 163°C. Process biscuits, sugar and butter in processor until well mixed. If you do not have a processor, you can put them in a strong bag and smash the biscuits with a rolling pin. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and halfway up sides of 22cm diameter springform pan. Bake crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the pan to a cooling rack.
Make filling:
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs and beat just until blended.
Pour filling into crust-lined pan. Bake until sides of cheesecake are slightly puffed and centre moves slightly when pan is shaken gently, about 1 hour. Transfer cake still in the pan to a rack and cool completely.
Make topping:
Take your pack of strawberry jelly, make the jelly using ½ the water, but the full pack of jelly – this will create a firm set to hold the strawberries.
Leave the jelly to cool on the bench. Once it has cooled, but before it has set, arrange strawberries around the trop of cheesecake then pour over the cooled jelly.

Refrigerate overnight. Before serving, remove from pan, cut into wedges and serve.

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