Quick! Before strawberries go out of season…
…make this Strawberry Rose Cheesecake.
In recent years, strawberries have oft been featured in my birthday desserts. This is only natural, since my birthday is in late May: the glorious beginning of strawberry season here in Oregon.
I wanted to make an easy, undaunting cake for my first gluten-free birthday, so I settled on strawberry cheesecake. Most cheesecakes don’t require adaptation to make gluten-free, except for the crust.
This is not my recipe, but Barbara’s, and what a recipe it is. I’ve only adapted it a very little bit. The cheesecake itself is perfect – firm and tangy – and the rosewater complements the strawberry flavor so well. If you’re looking to make a cheesecake for a get-together or someone with a June birthday, this is the one. You won’t regret it.
If you have trouble finding rosewater, look in the cosmetic section of your local natural foods store. They carry it in spray bottles, but you can use it to cook and eat with, too.
You can make the cake in a pie pan, like I did, or a springform pan, but it would look lovelier in a springform, I think. It will serve 8-10 people.
Strawberry Rose Cheesecake
1.5 cups gluten-free cookie crumbs (I used KinniKritters animal cookies, and they were perfect)
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup butter, melted
1.5 lbs. cream cheese
3/4 cup sugar
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1.5 cups strawberry jam
2 tablespoons rosewater
1 quart fresh strawberries
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cookie crumbs, nuts, and melted butter. Mix well, until the mixture is holding together enough that you can pinch some of it and have it hold its shape. (You can also do this in the bowl of a food processor, drizzling the melted butter through the feed tube.)
2. Press the crumb mixture into a 9-inch pie pan or springform pan. The crust should come about halfway up the sides of the pan. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little uneven, since the cheesecake will come up further than the crust. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes, then set aside to cool.
3. Turn the oven down to 300 degrees and place a pan of water in the bottom to creat a moist environment for the cheesecake to bake in.
4. In a mixer, beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice together until fluffy.
5. In a small bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolk together until well-combined and slightly lightened in color. Add to cream cheese and sugar mixure and beat until well-combined.
6. In the microwave or a small saucepan, heat the jam until it melts a little and stir in the rosewater.
7. Pour half of the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Spoon 1/3 of the jam mixture over the batter in dollops. Pour on the rest of the batter. Spoon half of the remaining jam mixture onto the batter, setting the rest aside. Take a butter knife or chopstick and swirl the jam into a marble pattern.
8. Bake for fifty minutes to an hour, until the cake is set around the edges and still slightly jiggly in the middle. The residual heat of the cake will set it further. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
9. Cover the cake with foil and put it in the fridge for at least ten hours.
10. Before serving, heat up the remaining jam and rosewater mixture. Spread over the top of the cake.
11. Slice the stems off the top of the strawberries. Place them pointing up over the surface of the cake. Serve and enjoy!