Strawberry season starts in Queensland in May and goes on until October. From about late June – early July, some of the farms start offering Pick Your Own or PYO. Members of the public visit the actual strawberry patch and go throw the plants and pick the berries. It is a fun experience, especially for the little members of the public. Strawberry ice-cream at the end of the trip was a consolation for ours.
Last year (2013), we visited near the end of the season. There was still plenty of fruits on the ground hugging shrubs. We went to Berry Patch at Chambers Flat. The fruits were warmed up by the sun and delicious. I have not seen such big fruits in the supermarket. I realised, after we put leftover ones in the fridge, they shrink.
We did not want ours to go bad so we decided to make a cheesecake, one that we had seen a few months back and had been thinking of making.
The cheesecake recipe for Triple Chocolate Cheesecake was published in Better Homes and Garden Australia’s April 2013 magazine. It was the first western cheesecake that I came across that was baked in a bain-marie. Previously, I had only come across this technique in Japanese cheesecake making. It gives a more even cooking and the cake does not dry and develop cracks like some baked cheesecakes are prone to do.
We made a few changes to ours to use the strawberries.
Instead of using the last layer of chocolate ganache as frosting, we cut thin slices of the fresh strawberries and spread them on the baked cake. We then made some strawberry flavoured jelly and poured it over the strawberries. I thought it tasted good so did the church the next day.
Here is our adjusted recipe, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Australia, April 2013
Cooking oil spray, for greasing
375g butternut biscuits
60g dark cocoa powder
125g unsalted butter, melted
500g cream cheese
100g caster sugar
2 Tbsp cornflour
1 tsp natural vanilla extract
300g sour cream
200g white chocolate, melted, cooled
1 punnet strawberries
1 packet of strawberry jelly mix
1. Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease a 22cm springform cake tin with cooking oil spray, then line base and side with baking paper. Put biscuits and cocoa in a food processor. Pulse until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add butter and eggwhite and pulse until combined.
2. Press biscuit mixture into base and up side of prepared tin. Put in freezer for 10 minutes to firm up.
3. Put cream cheese, sugar, eggs, cornflour and vanilla extract in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping down side of bowl several times. Add sour cream and process for 30 seconds. Add white chocolate and process for 2 minutes or until smooth.
4. Pour white chocolate mixture into tin. Wrap outside of the tin with 2 layers of aluminum foil. Secure the foil. Put tin in a baking dish and fill with water to come halfway up sides of tin. Bake for 1 hour. Remove tin from water bath. Set cheesecake aside in tin to cool completely.
5. Cut thin slices of the strawberries then arrange them on top of the cake.
6. Mix the jelly according to the instructions on the packet with half a cup less water. Cool down then pour over the cake. Put the cake in the fridge for the jelly to set.