It has been years since Miss Fats has baked a cheesecake. And reflecting upon it, she’s not sure why. Perhaps the pressure to get that filling silky smooth and set just right was too much for her. After all, there’s nothing lamer than a dense cheesecake with a mushy center. But thanks to a recent spring-form pan purchase, she was all set to return to the chilled dairy cake realm (just you watch out, ice cream cakes), and try her hand at a massive and indulgent cream cheese monster.
Miss Fats was baking this cake for a department event and had the request for some sort of “cream-cheese-strawberry-type-cake,” and due to a lack of imagination, went straight to cheesecake with strawberry topping. (Sorry this sounds so apathetic. Miss Fats does not know what’s wrong with her: she has so little enthusiasm for the prospect of cheesecake with fruit. Her unconscious is clearly deeply effected.) For the recipe, she turned to Food 52’s Meyer Lemon Cheesecake with Biscoff Crust, which looked beautifully spring-like and just what everyone needed for a June lunch meeting.
Since Miss Fats still can’t figure out what Biscoff cookies are, she opted to go for the standard graham cracker crust. She simply substituted the same amount of graham cracker crumbs for the Biscoff cookies and it worked out perfectly. Since she also could not get her hands on meyer lemons, she used normal lemons but added an additional one to amp up the flavor (she also omitted the lemon extract).
Food 52’s recipe worked perfectly. The filling was incredibly easy to create thanks to a stand mixer and leaving the cream cheese out until it was fully softened. She highly recommends beating the hell out of that cream cheese when you first put it in the bowl- there is nothing worse than a lumpy batter. Even though Miss Fats opted to use full fat cream cheese, the actual cake turned out to be surprisingly light (or as light as a full fat cheesecake can be…) and not too sweet. The bright lemon flavor cut the heaviness of the cream cheese and the crispy crust provided the perfect balance of texture and even a little salty note at the end (Miss Fats is a HUGE fan of Food 52’s addition of salt to the crust).
Now, Food 52’s recipe does not include strawberries. And frankly, there isn’t necessarily a reason to add them: the lemon cheesecake is insanely good in itself. Except why the hell not? Strawberries are in season, gorgeous and affordable right now. We all must shove as many in our mouths as possible. So Miss Fats is going to share her totally ad hoc strawberry topping with you so you can push this cake into the realm of excessive.
creates a heaping portion for a 9 inch cheesecake
2 pints strawberries, divided
1-2 tbs sugar (depending on your berries)
2 tbs water
pinch of salt
1. In a small sauce pan, combine the sugar, water and about 2/3 of a pint of hulled, chopped strawberries. Cook over medium heat until berries begin to breakdown and form a sauce (about 10 minutes). Using a handheld blender (or regular one), puree the sauce until smooth. You can also skip this step if you don’t mind a chunkier sauce. Simply cook a little longer, mashing the berries with a spoon or fork as you go. Allow to fully cool.
2. Slice the remaining berries and toss in the cooled sauce. Dump that good stuff all over top of your cake.
In the end, this cake really seemed to please everyone. Miss Fats received reviews including “more” and even “perhaps even the best cheesecake I’ve ever eaten.” Now these are sugar-induced delirious statements, however Miss Fats does believe this recipe makes a case for the top. With the strawberries and tangy lemon cream cheese flavors, this dessert manages to be both sunny and utterly indulgent. She’s sure that this cake will become a critical recipe in her dessert arsenal and plans to experiment as soon as possible (hello, rhubarb is in season.) Don’t even get Miss Fats started on the sweet-salt combos likely to come. Just you wait.