Quite possibly one of the most loved of all summer berries has to be strawberries. Us Brits love them! Last year we consumed over 83 thousand tonnes of these fragrant, juicy beauties alone.
The British season for strawberries runs from late May right through until early September. I strongly believe in eating seasonally, this makes sure that I’m getting the best quality, most flavourful foods whilst still looking after those pennies (flour doesn’t buy itself). When it comes to buying your strawberries you should always look for plump, shiny berries with a bright colour & sweet aroma. Big isn’t always best either, large strawberries have a higher water content, meaning they are less flavourful so go for small to medium-sized ones instead.
Strawberries are relatively easy to grow, both indoors & out, however my garden does seem a little cursed where they’re concerned. I’ve yet to successfully nurture anything more than a single berry (I think it’s best that I stick to flowers & herbs) so I completely condone buying them in each summer.
Whilst these beautifully, sweet, juicy berries are perfect in their own right & don’t need anything to improve on them (although a little pouring cream or bowl of sugar for dipping is never unwelcome), this wouldn’t be a blog & I wouldn’t have wobbly thighs if I didn’t try to bake them into something, turn them into jam or in this case a rather tempting dessert.
A super simple, fail-proof dessert to be exact, guaranteed to please a crowd, a small gathering or simply a wobbly thighed woman. My strawberry cheesecake is smooth, creamy & indulgent. It looks impressive but requires absolutely no baking whatsoever, just a little bit of blitzing & mixing (what a winner eh!).
There’s a reason that I don’t make cheesecakes that often, I usually reserve them for special occasions or Christmas, I could quite happily demolish a good cheesecake just as easily as it was to put together. Judging by the comments & popularity of these recipes though, it would seem I’m not alone (come join us on the wobbly side, it’s sweet).
For me, a cheesecake should always have a good, thick biscuit base (not an innuendo), it should have a light, smooth texture & have plenty of flavour without being overly sweet. Making the most of British strawberry season, I over-eagerly bought probably a punnet too many of them, leading me to think up a few ways of using up a lot of strawberries in one go. With a larder already chock full with jam, a cake already in the cake tin (& there’s only so much Pimms a girl can drink), a cheesecake was the clear winner here.
The strawberries definitely shine though on this one, it’s full of flavour & a glorious pink colour to boot! Smooth, creamy & irresistible. If you’re a little put off at the thought of using the gelatine for the topping then you can either leave off the topping, just use half the amount of strawberries stated & throw the rest into some Pimms or you can use the strawberry puree as a sauce & pour it over your dessert to your hearts content, either way, enjoy!
NO BAKE STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE
(makes one 23cm cheesecake)
For the base:
- 300g digestive biscuits
- 100g butter
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 600g strawberries (hulled & roughly chopped)
- 600g cream cheese
- 284ml double cream
- 115g icing sugar
For the topping:
- 1 1/2 gelatine leaves
- Grease & line the base of a 23cm springform cake tin
- Using a food processor, blitz the biscuits until they resemble fine breadcrumbs
- Gently melt the butter in a small saucepan set over a low heat or in the microwave
- In a bowl, combine the biscuit crumbs with the melted butter, ensuring that all of the biscuit has been coated by the butter
- Tip the mixture into the prepared tin & use the back of a spoon to press the mixture down evenly into the base of the tin
- To make the filling, start by preparing the strawberries, hull & roughly chop all of the strawberries
- Place the strawberries into a high sided/large bowl & use a hand blender to puree the strawberries (alternatively you can use a food processor)
- In a separate bowl place the cream cheese, double cream & icing sugar & use a whisk or hand mixer to beat together until well combined & smooth with no lumps
- Reserve 250ml of the pureed strawberries & set aside for later
- Pour the remaining strawberry puree into the cream cheese mixture & beat again until all of the strawberry is well combined with the other ingredients
- Pour the cream cheese mixture over the biscuit base & place in the fridge
- Whilst the filling is chilling, make the topping
- Place the gelatine leaves into a bowl of cold water & leave to soak for 5 minutes
- After 5 minute remove from the water & squeeze out the excess liquid
- Place the soaked leaves into a small saucepan & gently heat until the geletine has melted
- Pour the melted gelatine into the reserved 250ml of strawberry puree & stir through
- Remove the cheesecake from the fridge & pour over the topping ensuring that it is evenly spread
- Put the cheesecake back in the fridge & leave to chill overnight
- Bring the cheesecake back to room temperature for 30 minutes before releasing from its tin to serve