Monday, April 5, 2010

New York Style Marble Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

Cheesecake is my guilty pleasure. It is basically a blank canvas that you can take and turn into the most delightful desserts or enjoy as it is. Smooth and creamy on the tongue, New York style cheesecake has lemon zest mixed in giving it just barely a hint of tartness to cut through the rich sweetness that cheesecake is known for. Blending in some bittersweet chocolate to part of the batter, then swirling it in with the rest, makes it even better. To make it the best thing you've ever tasted, a sauce of fresh strawberries tops it off. It's such an elegant dessert that is sure to impress anyone you serve it to.

What You Need:

2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup plus 3 tbs sugar
1 stick melted butter
3 (8oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbs flour
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs
Zest of 1 lemon
4 oz bittersweet chocoalte
2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup sugar
Juice of a lemon

What To Do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 inch spring form pan.
In a bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, 3 tbs sugar and melted butter together. Press into just the bottom of the spring form pan. This makes a nice thick bottom crust. Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until it's slightly golden brown. Remove and let cool while you make the filling.

Melt the chocolate in the microwave and sit it aside and let cool.

In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the remaining cup of sugar, cream cheese and vanilla. To make a smooth creamy batter, you have to make sure the cream cheese is at room temperture. I take my cream cheese out of the fridge in the morning and let it sit at least 4 or 5 hours so that it's nice and soft.

Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Blend in the flour and then the sour cream, again scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the eggs 1 at a time until well incorpoated. Scrap down the sides and bottom once more, making sure it's all mixed well. Mix in the lemon zest. Remove about 1 1/2 cups of the batter and mix it into the melted chocolate.

Pour half of the remaining batter over the bottom of crust. Place several spoonfuls of the chocolate batter into the plain batter, using about half of the chocolate. Cover this with the rest of the plain batter, dotting again with the rest of the chocolate.

Using a knife, gently swirl the two batters together, making sure not to over mix it or it will all become chocolate. Bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour, or until the center is almost set. Run a sharp knife around the rim of the pan and allow the cake to cool on a wire rack before removing the rim. Refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight before serving.

To make the strawberry sauce combine the berries, 1/2 cup sugar, and lemon juice and cook over medium heat until the berries are very soft and liquid is thick. You can serve it as is or you can blend it together and strain to remove the seeds before putting it over the cheesecake.

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