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The idea of making my own cheesecake came from my mom. She loves the creamy, smooth and rich taste, well who doesn’t? Haha, actually me. My favourite part about a cheesecake is the graham crack crust. I know, I’m weird. But not crust alone either, I would love a cheesecake with a thick layer of crust with just a thin layer of the cream cheese batter.
Strawberry cheesecake is the first cheesecake I ever made. I found this recipe in All Recipes and decided to try it out. After researching on all the tips of how to bake the perfect cheesecake (no cracks, no soggy crust etc.), it was pretty successful and it has been on top of my mom’s request list till now. Now, every time I come home from Toronto, I always make it for my family.
Since I’ve been making this cheesecake a lot of times already, I decided to change a few things such as pecan-graham cracker crust. This crust is so yummy, I love the nutty-ness it adds to the sweet crust. I also doubled the original crust recipe so its at a thickness I prefer.

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Strawberry Cheesecake (adapted from All Recipes):

Ingredients:
Crust:
2 cups of grahm cracker crumbs
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of butter or margarine (melted)
1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans
1/2 tsp of vanilla

Strawberry sauce:
300g (half a package) of frozen strawberries (unsweetened)
1/3 cup of sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla
1 tablespoon of corn starch

Cheesecake batter:
2 packages of cream cheese (soft)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (room temperature)
1/8 cup of lemon juice
1 tsp of vanilla
3 eggs (room temperature)

Directions:

For the Crust:

  1. Combine graham cracker crumbs, pecan, sugar, vanilla and butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan (I used 10 inch).
  2. Bake in oven for 8 min at 375 degrees F
  3. Cool and Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

For the strawberry sauce:

  1. In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries and cornstarch; cover and process until smooth.
  2. Pour into a saucepan, add sugar and vanilla; bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes.
  3. Set aside 1/2 cup strawberry sauce; cool. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for serving.

For the batter:

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in milk. Add lemon juice and vanilla; mix well.
  2. Add eggs (one at a time), beat on low just until combined (DO NOT OVERMIX or cake will crack). Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over crust.
  3. Drop half of the reserved strawberry mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto cream cheese layer.
  4. Carefully spoon remaining cream cheese mixture over sauce.
  5. Drop remaining strawberry sauce by 1/2 teaspoonfuls on top. With a knife, cut through top layer only to swirl strawberry sauce.
  6. Preheat oven at 300 degrees F. Prepare water bath and wrap tin foil around the cheesecake pan to prevent water leaking into the crust. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Turn off oven and leave oven door a little bit open and let it cool for about an hour. Then cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Decorate with fruits if desire. Refrigerate overnight.

the science of baking (please ignore this part if you are not a science nerd like me): 
Most cheesecake in North America is made using cream cheese, which was invented by American dairymen, William Lawrence of Chester in 1872. So being a science nerd here is a little bit about the science of cream cheese that I thought it was cool =P. Cream cheese is made up of heavy cream and milk. Milk is in liquid form because of the negative charges (hydrophilic) around the milk proteins causing it to repel each other and form micelles around the fat (hydrophobic) in milk. That’s why a type of bacteria is added in the fermentation process to lower the pH so the proteins lose its negative charge and become neutral. The bacteria is then killed by heat at the protein’s isoelectric point to prevent further lowering of pH so proteins don’t become positively charged.

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