Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A hike & a slice of pie....

Went for a hike with my guy Saturday morning.   The weather was perfect and I captured the following photos...

One part of the path was lined with cactus on either side...I walked very carefully.

Can you see the angry face?
And what do you do after a hike…why eat Strawberries & Cream Cheesecake of course!

I got the recipe from Martha Stewart via the Delish website.  I made one change (well, some of the measurements for things were changed, oh and maybe one other ingredient...but that's it!)  in that I used these cookies for the crust…

Oh my dang!  It was delicious!  It does take some work to make but so worth it.  Try it, you’ll like it!

Here’s what I used:

1 pound or so of hulled strawberries
3 tbs. light corn syrup
1 cup finely ground Trader Joe's Cookie Thins Toasted Coconut 
1 cup plus 3 tbs. granulated sugar
3 tbs. melted unsalted butter
3 (8 oz.) cream cheese – at room temperature
¼ tsp. salt
1 tbs. vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs – at room temperature
8 oz. mascarpone cheese – at room temperature

1.  Preheat over to 300 degrees. 
2. Place strawberries on a baking sheet in a single layer and drizzle corn syrup.  You will need to make sure the strawberries are coated with the corn syrup.
3. Bake for about 1 ½ hours until strawberries turn deep red and syrup thickens (I didn’t see any syrup so I thought I screwed something up, but it worked out).
4.  Let strawberries cool completely and then put in a bowl and mash them up.
5.  Turn the oven up to 350 degrees.
6.  Add 3 tbl. sugar and melted butter to the cookie crumbs and stir until combined.
7.  Press mixture, in an even layer, into the bottom of a 9-inch spring-form pan  and bake for 10 minutes until crust has darkened and firm to the touch.  Let cool over wire rack.
8.  Turn down oven to 325 degrees.
9.  Add cream cheese to bowl of electric mixer that has been fitted with paddle attachment and mix until creamy for approximately 2 minutes.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
10.  Add gradually remaining sugar (1 cup) and salt and mix until incorporated. 
11.  Add the eggs one at a time, and mix well after each addition.  Make sure to scrape down the sides of bowl.
12.  Mix in vanilla bean paste and mascarpone until very creamy and there are no lumps remaining – approximately 3 minutes.
13.  Add 5 cups of cream cheese mixture to the mashed strawberries.
14.  Stir to combine and pour mixture on top of crust and smooth with a spatula.
15.  Add dollops of the plain cream cheese mixture on top, and smooth with a spatula
16.  Wrap the exterior of the spring-form pan in 2 layers of foil and set in a large roasting pan.
17.  Add boiling water until water reaches halfway up the sides of the spring-form pan. 
18.  Bake until set – about 1 hour 10 minutes. 
19.  Remove spring-form pan from water bath and transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
20.  Refrigerate until cold – at least 4 hours (I left mine overnight)
21.  Cut a slice, taste it, eat that slice, and try not to go back for seconds, thirds…all of it. J

As I said lots of work, and you really need to read the directions before trying (I didn’t and so got frustrated when I was ready for baking it and learned I had to boil water first!).  The hardest part for me was putting the foil on the wasn't the prettiest site.  I’m sure there is an easier way!  Oh, and it also would have helped if I put the stupid spring-form pan together right.  I would have inserted a photo of the complete cheesecake, but parts of it didn't look so pretty.  It didn't affect the taste though! 

Until next time!

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