Valentine’s Day Cheesecake

Yield 16

Ingredients

For the Crust:

  • 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 6-7 grahams)

For the Cheesecake:

  • 12 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 Tbsp sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • zest from 1 lemon

For the Strawberry Coulis (Sauce):

  • 2 cups frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp COLD water

Instructions

  1. FOR THE CRUST: Pre-heat oven to 350*F. Prepare an 8" springform pan with baking spray. Pulse graham crackers in a food processor until fine crumbs. Empty crumbs into prepared springform pan. Add sugar and melted butter. Mix together until all the crumbs are wet, then press onto the bottom and 1½ inches up the sides of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. LOWER THE OVEN to 280*F.
  2. FOR THE STRAWBERRY COULIS: In a medium saucepan, heat the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice, until the strawberries are thawed and soft. Mash the strawberries with a potato masher, then puree them smooth with a hand/immersion blender. Strain the mixture over a wire sieve, to catch some of the foam and seeds. Clean saucepan and return the strawberry liquid to it over medium heat. In a small bowl, combine the corn starch and COLD water creating a slurry. Wait until the strawberry liquid comes to a boil and then add the corn starch slurry. Let it boil and thicken up. Remove from heat and place the saucepan on a hot pad in the fridge for 10 minutes or more to cool slightly.
  3. FOR THE CHEESECAKE: Using your food processor, process the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sour cream, egg, sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Process again until smooth and fully combined, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  4. TO ASSEMBLE: Wrap the outside of the springform pan with a double layer of foil. (The cake bakes in a water bath, and doing this will help keep water from seeping into the cake as it cooks.) Spread the cheesecake batter into the chocolate crust shell. Carefully jiggle the pan to even out the top and release any air bubbles.
  5. Fill the strawberry sauce into a squeeze bottle with a tiny tip and begin to pipe small circles in a swirl pattern over the cheesecake (larger dots on the outside, smaller dots as you go inward.) Save the extra strawberry sauce for serving. Take a toothpick or sharp pointy knife, and beginning in the center circle, run the toothpick through the center of each circle being careful to NOT lift the toothpick until you have finished the very last circle.
  6. Place the cheesecake into a slightly larger roasting pan or baking dish, place it in the oven and carefully pour hot water halfway up the sides of the springform pan. (The water bath helps prevent cracks and helps evenly cook the cheesecake; although you can see in my pictures that the cheesecake cracked where the hearts are. That actually happened when I moved the cheesecake off the base of the pan onto a plate. So don't ruin your cheesecake like I did, and keep it on the base of the springform pan.) BAKE at 280*F for a little over an hour, until the edges look set, and the center jiggles slightly. Turn the oven off and keep the cheesecake in there for 2 hours. Remove cheesecake from oven, take the foil off the pan and let it finish cooling in the refrigerator for 2 more hours. Cut with a hot knife for crisp, clean slices. Serve with extra Strawberry Coulis.

Recipe Notes

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