Strawberry Orange Cheesecake

Strawberry Orange Cheesecake

Crust.

  • 1 1/2 cups finely crushed graham crackers
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling.

  • 8-9 fresh strawberries
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup coconut cream (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin powder

Topping.

  • 1 pound strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
  • juice of 1 navel orange
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt

Note:  For the coconut cream, you will need one 14-ounce can of full-fat unsweetened coconut milk.  Before you'll be making the filling, set the can, without shaking it, in the refrigerator to thoroughly chill at least overnight.  After chilling the coconut milk, carefully open the can and drain off the water, keeping just the solid cream - you should have about one cup of solid coconut cream.  Now you'll need to let the cream soften to room temperature again so that it can be mixed into the filling without being lumpy.  If you don't like coconut, the coconut cream can also be left completely out of the cheesecake without substituting anything else, although you could add 1/2 cup of sour cream instead, if you prefer.


Crust.

Preheat the oven to 325.  In a bowl, combine the crushed graham crackers and salt, then drizzle with the melted butter and toss with a fork until moistened.  Press the crumbs firmly against the bottom (not up the sides) of an 8-inch springform pan, making the crust as flat and level as possible.  Bake for 8 minutes, then set aside to cool completely.  Cut several strips of wax paper and arrange them inside the sides of the pan - this will ensure easy release of the cheesecake.


Filling.

Wash and dry your strawberries, and cut off the leaves with a knife, so that each strawberry has a flat, level cut, then cut the strawberries in half.  Arrange the strawberry halves on the cooled crust, cut side facing out, around the sides of the pan.  Depending on the size of your berries, you may need more or less - mine were medium-sized and I needed 8 1/2 strawberries to fill the space around the inside of my pan.  Set aside while you make the filling.

With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, coconut cream, orange zest, vanilla bean paste and powdered sugar for several minutes until smooth.

Pour 1/2 cup of the whipping cream into a microwavable dish, and stir in the gelatin.  Microwave on high for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes, in 30 second increments, to dissolve the gelatin; whisk it well to dissolve the lumps.

Pour 1 cup of the whipping cream into the cream cheese mixture and beat until thick and smooth, then add the cream/gelatin mixture, beating again until smooth, scraping the bowl down as needed.

Pour the cheesecake filling into the prepared pan and tap it gently against the counter so that the filling settles around the the strawberries; smooth out the top.  Refrigerate overnight.

 

Topping.

For the strawberry compote, combine all ingredients in a saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the berries are soft and the liquid has reduced slightly into a syrup.  Cool, then pour into a glass jar and refrigerate.

Before serving, unmold the sides of the pan, and peel off the wax paper from the cheesecake.  Serve each slice with the compote.


Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen
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