Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Chocolate Moosey

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Slice Overhead
Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake


Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More



Today's Tuesday Tutor: Chocolate Moosey
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |  Instagram: chocolatemooseyblog
Recipe: Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

My tutor today is Carla from Chocolate Moosey, and I'm extra excited about today's Tuesday Tutor for a whole bunch of personal reasons. First, Carla is from my original hometown of Pittsburgh - and while that may not mean much to most, it means a great deal to me. Pittsburgh is an awesome city (even if it is treacherous to drive in thanks to all the rivers and mountains) so I'm thrilled to be featuring a blogger from my hometown. Truthfully, I'd be featuring Chocolate Moosey today even if Carla didn't live in Pittsburgh because her blog is filled with delicious goodies and insightful tips from 5+ years of blogging.

But I do have an ulterior motive for featuring Carla - her cheesecake. Carla is a self-professed cheesecake aficionado and has perfected the art of making cheesecake (free from cracks, rubbery edges, or collapsed centers). And when I told Carla I was terrified of making a cheesecake after multiple epic failures, she recommended today's Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake. And if you think this cheesecake looks familiar, you'd be right - it was featured a few weeks back in the Food Fetish Friday series. And it is 100% Fetish Worthy.

About the Author
  1. "Despite what you may think, I never grew up baking with my family. Sure, my mom would make a cake from a box, but my passion for baking didn't come from my parents. In fact, I'm the one who inspired my mom to start baking from scratch this past year."
  2. "I have a cupcake obsession. And I'm not just talking about eating them. I have a little glass cupboard in my kitchen filled with ceramic cupcakes. I have cupcake signs hanging up. I wear cupcake t-shirts. I even have a cupcake Christmas tree where all the ornaments are literally cupcakes (http://www.chocolatemoosey.com/2011/12/18/cupcake-christmas-tree-2/)."
  3. "I don't know how to grill. Ok I can grill hot dogs on my little propane grill, but I've never cooked anything else (except for eggplant last week - trying to learn!). I don't even know how to set up a charcoal grill."
  4. "I have entered only two baking contests in my life. Both times I have won first place."
  5. "One thing I do regret is not embracing my Italian heritage more. I never grew up with my grandparents, so I never learned any cooking from them. My parents didn't embrace it either, so I really missed out. Making homemade pasta is on my bucket list."



Original recipe courtesy of Chocolate Moosey
For a printable recipe with complete list of ingredients and steps, see the original recipe

3 Packs of Cream Cheese
This recipe has two parts: Cheesecake and Strawberry Curd. If you're making both on the same
day, then you will want to pull out the cream cheese from the refrigerator before you start. You
will need 24 ounces which is 3x8-oz blocks. All the cheese to come to room temp while you
prepare the strawberry curd...

Strawberries
The strawberry curd is very simple. It with a handful of strawberries...

Hulled Strawberries
Wash and hull the strawberries...

1 Cup Sliced Strawberries
You will need about 1 cup of sliced strawberries for the curd...

Strawberries in Ninja
Add the strawberries to a food processor or blender. I used my Ninja blender for this task.

Sugar Added to Strawberries
Add 2 - 4 Tablespoons of granulated sugar (it depends on how sweet your strawberries are). It's
late in the strawberry season, so mine were pretty tart so I used 3 Tablespoons of sugar.

Ninja Ready to Blend
Blend the strawberries until smooth.

1/2 Lemon in Juicer
Next comes the corn starch thickener for the curd. You will need the juice of 1/2 a lemon

Corn Starch Added to Lemon Juice
To the squeezed lemon juice, add 2 1/2 teaspoons corn starch. Whisk together until you have
a smooth sauce. Really try to break up those lumps...

Pureed Strawberries and Sugar
Add the lemon and corn starch mixture to the strawberry puree and blend again until smooth

Strained Strawberries into Pan
Strain the puree into a small pan

Remaining Seeds from Strawberry Puree
You will need to work the puree through the sieve with a spoon. You will be left with a thick
paste of seeds - discard the seeds (but keep the sieve handy as you will need it again)

Strawberry Puree Ready to be Cooked
You're ready to thicken your curd.

Strawberry Puree Covered
Cover the curd and  bring to a boil over medium heat (this will take a couple of minutes)

Cooking Strawberry Puree
Once the curd begins to boil, remove the lid and whisk continuously for 3-4 minutes until the
curd smooth and thickened. Remove from heat.

CorningWare Ramekin with Cover
If you are not using the curd the same day you make it, you will want to store the curd in a
heat-safe dish with a sealable lid. I used my 7 oz Corningware ramekin for this...

Strained Strawberry Curd
Strain the curd into a heat-safe dish. You will again need to press the curd through the sieve
with a spoon.

Strawberry Curd Ready to be Chilled
You will end up with about 3/4 cup of curd. Set aside to cool while you make the cheesecake
filling and crust...

Organic Honey Grahams
The cheesecake crust starts with graham crackers. Most brands of graham crackers include
high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils (transfats), so I checked a couple stores
and found these little bunny grahams. They taste just like graham crackers, but no HFCS or
transfats - and they're made with whole grains which was an added plus.

Honey Graham Cookies in Food Processor
Add your graham cracker pieces to the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. You
will need about 2 - 2 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs, so that's about 10 graham crackers or
1 box of the graham bunnies like I used. If you don't have a food processor, you can mash up
your graham crackers in a sealable plastic bag...

Graham Cracker Crumbs
Process the graham cracker pieces until you arrive at fine crumbs as shown.

5 Tablespoons of Butter
Next comes the butter that will bind the graham crackers together. You will need about 5
Tablespoons of unsalted butter

Sliced Butter in Corningware Grab-It Bowl for Melting
Melt the butter. I slice up the butter into pieces and use the microwave to melt the butter. It
takes about 25 seconds...

Adding Melted Butter to Graham Cracker Crumbs
Add the melted butter to the graham cracker crumbs

Graham Cracker Crumbs Combined with Melted Butter
Process the butter and crumbs until both are well combined.

Graham Cracker Crumbles in Springform Pan
Dump the buttery graham cracker crumbs into a springform pan. (If you don't own a springform
pan, go out and buy one. You really do need one for cheesecake and they're handy for other
desserts as well...)

Graham Cracker Crust Pressed into Springform Pan
Press the crumbs over the bottom and up the sides of the pan

Springform Pan Placed on Half Sheet Pan
Place the prepared crust on a baking sheet and set aside while you prepare the cheesecake
filling. Now would be the time to preheat the oven to 350F

Softened Cream Cheese Added to Stand Mixer Bowl
Your cream cheese should now be softened and at room temperature. Add all 3 blocks to the
bowl of a stand mixer. If you're not using a stand mixer, you can always use a big bowl and
an electric hand mixer...

Granulated Sugar Added to Cream Cheese
Add 1 cup of sugar to the cream cheese

Stand Mixer Fitted with the Paddle Attachment
Use the paddle attachment if you're using a stand mixer.

Combining Cream Cheese with Sugar
Combine the cream cheese and sugar together on low speed until smooth and creamy. Do
not beat the ingredients on higher speeds as you do not want to incorporate a lot of air...

3 Large Eggs
While the cream cheese and sugar combine in the stand mixer, you can prepare other
ingredients for the filling, starting with 3 large eggs...

1/2 Lemon in Juicer
...and the juice from 1/2 lemon...

Cream Cheese and Sugar Smooth and Creamy
Check the cream cheese and sugar - it should be creamy as shown. You will want to scrape
down the sides the bottom of the bowl before adding the remaining ingredients.

Adding Eggs to Cream Cheese and Sugar
Add your eggs to the mixture, one egg at a time, allowing each egg to fully incorporate before
adding the next egg.

Adding Lemon Juice to Cream Cheese Mixture
Once the eggs are fully incorporated, add the lemon juice

Adding Vanilla to Cream Cheese Mixture
Then add 1 Tablespoon of vanilla extract. Let the filling mix until well combined, but do not
whip. Scrape down the sides the bottom of the bowl again to ensure everything is fully combined.

Cheesecake Filling Ready
Once the mixture is completely smooth, you're ready to finish the cheesecake

Cheesecake Filling Poured into Pan
Pour the filling into the prepared crust, smoothing the top gently with a spatula

Strawberry Curd Spooned over Cheesecake
Next spoon on the strawberry curd - I used most the the curd, but you could probably use all
of it without any problems as I only had about 1 Tablespoon remaining...

Swirling Strawberry Curd into Cheesecake with Knife
Use a knife to swirl the strawberry curd through the cheesecake filling. Just move the knife
back and forth through the filling and curd. It takes a few minutes, but it really will look
beautiful if you take the time...

Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Ready for Baking
After using the knife, you will arrive at something like this. Bake the cheesecake (on the
baking sheet) for 35 minutes at 350F. Check the cheesecake at the end of the bake time and
if it's a little jiggly in the center but a skin has firmly formed over the top then you touch it,
the cheesecake is done. Do NOT over bake!

Baked Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake Cooling
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack

Running a Knife Around Edge of Cheesecake and Pan
Run a knife around the edge between the cheesecake and the pan. Then allow the cheesecake
to cool on the wire rack for another hour. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 12 hours
before serving.

Chilled Cheesecake Removed from Springform Pan
To serve, release the cheesecake from the springform pan. I don't bother to try and remove from
the pan's bottom - I just serve directly from the pan bottom...

Slice of Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake
Everything about this cheesecake is delicious - the texture, the flavor, the strawberry swirl.
It's even gorgeous to look at! And once slice won't be enough...


Thoughts while scarfing...
  • What do you want from the perfect cheesecake? I guarantee this cheesecake has it - creamy texture, very moist (not the least bit dry), easy-to-make (no water baths, no crazy baking techniques), rich texture, and absolutely no cracking. Oh, and just in case you're like me and you want that punch of berry-flavor, this cheesecake has just the right amount. If you're looking for the perfect cheesecake, I insist you try this one.
     
  • If you use a stand mixer to combine the cheesecake filling, make sure you do NOT whip the ingredients - don't mixer any higher than low speed because you really don't want to incorporate air into the filling.
     
  • I know the strawberry curd takes a bit of extra time to make, but it's really so simple to make and it makes a big difference in the final cheesecake. So spend 15 minutes to make the curd and you can thank Carla for the recipe later...
     
  • Cheesecake should ALWAYS be chilled for a good 12 hours before serving - so remember to make this dessert the day before you want to serve it. And if you don't want to mar the beautiful surface of your cheesecake, do not remove from the springform pan until you're ready to serve and just stretch plastic wrap over the pan before chilling.

33 comments:

  1. I had so much fun going through your steps JW. And that's how you swirl the strawberry curd through the cheesecake filling.When you pour strawberry curd on the cake, I was like oh no how you going to do it. Never imagined how beautiful swirl was created! Carla, your cupcake Christmas tree is awesome! :D Nice to meet you, and thanks JW for introducing Carla to us!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was a little nervous when I started dropping dollops of strawberry curd of the top of the cheesecake, but it really was easy to swirl in through with a knife and it only took a couple minutes. Carla was an awesome tutor and I'm so glad I had a chance to feature her...

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so excited you conquered your cheesecake fear :D beautiful swirling and thanks for having me in the kitchen!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was awesome having you as my tutor today, Carla! Thank you so much for helping me create this flawless cheesecake!

      Delete
  4. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)August 21, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    I love Annie's graham bunnies-they're awesome :) And Chocolate Moosey is another great choice for Tuesday Tutor, I absolutely love her!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Looks delicious, but I can't help but think of the bunnies that gave up their existence for this delicious cheesecake.. smile. I know - I can't eat chocolate easter bunnies - never been able to because I think I'm killing something real. My brain gets messed up in that way.

    I'm still wondering how you keep that waist line from expanding too far. Ahhh, maybe you have "age" on your side or you just work out a lot..

    I'm trying to be funny and cute... hope that is coming through or you are going to be rolling your eyes at me today.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I had never tried the graham bunnies before, but I'll definitely be keeping a box in the pantry now so I can make this cheesecake again! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the post - and Carla is an awesome blogger...

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jody_thehobbyroomdiariesAugust 21, 2012 at 10:45 AM

    That cheesecake turned out great! I love the strawberry curd, I'm totally making some, that sounds good. We are a bunny-cracker-loving household for the same reason you used them--no yucky stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  8. lol Not rolling my eyes at all, Don - I don't have a problem sacrificing animal shaped ingredients for cheesecake, but I don't think I'd enjoy hunting or killing the real thing... As for the waistline, well, that has expanded over time, but I'm steadily working it back into submission. A lot of swimming and crunches and of course portion control ;)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Until I made this cheesecake, I honestly had never paid much attention to what was in graham crackers - I always figured they were fairly harmless because the basic recipe and product has been around for decades (maybe a century or more) so what could be bad? I was shocked by the use of HFCS and transfats - so I'm so happy to have found the bunnies! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and the curd is delicious (even more so with the cheesecake!)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Another wonderful post JW :) The cheesecake looks gorgeous ! My kiddos love bunny graham crackers :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I'm so happy you enjoyed, Namitha! I had a great tutor today and I really enjoyed this cheesecake immensely. And the bunny crackers are delicious :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your cheesecake turned out absolutely perfect! Love the strawberry swirl, it makes it look so beautiful and I bet taste delicious also.

    ReplyDelete
  13. mjskit @mjskitchen.comAugust 22, 2012 at 12:47 PM

    Now this is a cheesecake that I definitely want to make! You did a beautiful job with it - it's just gorgeous!!!! Love the bunny crackers! :) another great tutorial JW!

    ReplyDelete
  14. It was delicious, Jessica - I was so impressed because all of the cheesecakes I've attempted have come out a bit dry and just disappointing. This was superb. I'm so glad you enjoyed...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Aww, thank you for the kind words, MJ! I was so intimidated by this cheesecake when I started out (I even told Carla I was a little terrified of making it), but I was so happy with how it turned out and all the credit goes to an awesome recipe...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Love your recipe for strawberry swirl cheesecake! It looks very delicious!


    Stopping by your blog from On the Menu Monday (I posted #55 Pizza Sauce).


    Pinned and Tweeted!


    Amber @ The Cook's Sister

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for the kind words and for sharing - it was delicious and very straightforward to make. Definitely check out the original recipe by Carla from Chocolate Moosey because she gave me the courage to make it!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Jody_thehobbyroomdiariesAugust 23, 2012 at 3:57 PM

    Yeah, no kidding, why is all that extra junk in something as simple as graham crackers?! It's ridiculous. It makes me wonder how much effort goes into making your own grahams. Maybe I'll have to dust off a recipe and find out.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've seen a few recipes for homemade grahams pop up now and then, so they can't be terribly difficult ;)

    ReplyDelete
  20. Beautiful bright red swirl cheesecake. Pretty straight forward on the making. I like the way bake without water bath. Great tutorial you had posted. Well done! Boorkmarked! Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the kind words, Vivian, and I'm so glad you enjoyed. It's definitely worth making and I was also so relieved that I didn't need to use a water bath!

      Delete
  21. That is so pretty!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thank you - I'm so glad you liked it!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yay! You were featured this week at Recipe Sharing Monday. Thanks so much for partying with us :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm so happy you enjoyed, Namitha! I had a great tutor today and I really enjoyed this cheesecake immensely. And the bunny crackers are delicious :)

    ReplyDelete
  25. Another wonderful post JW :) The cheesecake looks gorgeous ! My kiddos love bunny graham crackers :)

    ReplyDelete
  26. Until I made this cheesecake, I honestly had never paid much attention to what was in graham crackers - I always figured they were fairly harmless because the basic recipe and product has been around for decades (maybe a century or more) so what could be bad? I was shocked by the use of HFCS and transfats - so I'm so happy to have found the bunnies! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post and the curd is delicious (even more so with the cheesecake!)

    ReplyDelete
  27. lol Not rolling my eyes at all, Don - I don't have a problem sacrificing animal shaped ingredients for cheesecake, but I don't think I'd enjoy hunting or killing the real thing... As for the waistline, well, that has expanded over time, but I'm steadily working it back into submission. A lot of swimming and crunches and of course portion control ;)

    ReplyDelete
  28. Jody_thehobbyroomdiariesOctober 2, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    That cheesecake turned out great! I love the strawberry curd, I'm totally making some, that sounds good. We are a bunny-cracker-loving household for the same reason you used them--no yucky stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I had never tried the graham bunnies before, but I'll definitely be keeping a box in the pantry now so I can make this cheesecake again! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the post - and Carla is an awesome blogger...

    ReplyDelete
  30. Looks delicious, but I can't help but think of the bunnies that gave up their existence for this delicious cheesecake.. smile. I know - I can't eat chocolate easter bunnies - never been able to because I think I'm killing something real. My brain gets messed up in that way.

    I'm still wondering how you keep that waist line from expanding too far. Ahhh, maybe you have "age" on your side or you just work out a lot..

    I'm trying to be funny and cute... hope that is coming through or you are going to be rolling your eyes at me today.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)October 2, 2012 at 12:53 PM

    I love Annie's graham bunnies-they're awesome :) And Chocolate Moosey is another great choice for Tuesday Tutor, I absolutely love her!

    ReplyDelete