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Strawberry and White Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

from Elinor Klivan's The Essential Chocloate Chip Cookbook
Strawberry and White Chocolate Chip Cheesecake

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

3 cups strawberries, washed and stemmed
2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 cup [5 3/4 ounces] white chocolate chips

2 pints [about 34] strawberries, washed and stemmed
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 teaspoon canola or corn oil

This and many other wonderful recipes may be found in Elinor Klivan's
The Essential Chocloate Chip Cookbook
from Chronicle Books


Think spring in a cheesecake: soft pink strawberry filling with creamy white chocolate chips and a dazzling topping of whole strawberries drizzled with white chocolate. This is perfect for those many celebrations of spring - Mother's Day, wedding showers, and graduations.

Soften the cream cheese thoroughly so it will mix smoothly into the batter. A quick method for softening cream cheese is to let the wrapped packages sit in a sunny window just until the cream cheese feels soft if pressed with a finger.

Make the crust. Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan with sides at least 2 3/4 inches high. Wrap the outside of the pan with a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Have ready a baking pan with at least 2-inch-high sides that is large enough to hold the springform pan.

In a large bowl, stir the graham cracker crumbs and cinnamon together. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moistened. Scrape the crumb mixture into the prepared pan and press it evenly over the bottom and 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Be careful not to make the crust too thick in the corners of the pan.

Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Set aside on a wire rack, with the oven left on, while you mix the filling.

Make the filling. In a food processor, process the strawberries to a puree. Strain the puree into a small bowl, pressing on the solids in the strainer to help push the liquid through the strainer; discard any seeds or pulp left in the strainer. Measure 1 cup of puree for the filling and set aside. If there is any extra puree, save it for another use.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar just until smoothly blended.

Mix in the flour. Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl, then add them in two additions, beating just to blend them in smoothly. Mix in the vanilla, almond extract, and cream. Mix in the strawberry puree until the batter is evenly pink. Stir in the white chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the baked crust. Put the pan in the large baking pan and set on the oven rack. Pour enough hot water into the large pan to reach 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake until the center seems firm when you give the cheesecake a gentle shake, about 1 hour and 15 minutes. When done, the cheesecake may have a few tiny cracks around the edge but these will close up as the cheesecake cools.

Cover the cheesecake loosely with paper towels and let cool in its water bath for 1 hour.

Carefully remove the cheesecake from the water bath. Remove the paper towels and the foil wrapping from the pan and cool the cheesecake on a wire rack for 1 hour, or until it feels cool to the touch.

Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or overnight. The cheesecake will be firm when cool. It can be refrigerated for up to 2 days before the fresh strawberry topping is added.

Add the topping. Arrange the whole strawberries on top of the cheesecake, covering it thickly.

Put the white chocolate chips and oil in a heatproof bowl or the top of a double boiler and place it over a saucepan of barely simmering water (or the bottom of the double boiler); the water should not touch the bowl. Stir until the white chocolate is melted and smooth.

Use a small spoon to drizzle thin, swirling lines of the white chocolate coating over the strawberries. Once the strawbrry topping is added, the cheesecake should be served the same day. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

To serve, use a small knife to loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan and remove the sides. Use a large sharp knife to cut the cheesecake, carefully wiping the knife clean after each slice.stored at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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