I love this recipe for two reasons: it is very easy to make and it is exquisite. It takes 50 minutes to prepare (not much for a dessert), and it has a beautiful presentation. On top of this, the textures of the crust and filling are both amazing and combine perfectly with each other. You can feel the crunchy bite of the baked dough, the creaminess of the filling, and the freshness of the strawberries, all in one bite.
I like to make it in the summer, because its bright colors are perfect for a sunny day. In Lima, however, we eat strawberry, lucuma, passion fruit, and many other cheesecakes, throughout the whole year. The more, the better.
If you want to try this recipe, keep one thing in mind: this is not a dessert that you can have sitting in the refrigerator for several days, because the strawberries will lose their lovely freshness, which is key here. I would recommend eating this cheesecake within 2 days of making it, and if you have a sweet tooth I’m sure you won’t have a problem with that!
Here you have a couple of useful tips that will help you make the best cheesecake ever: 1) The cream cheese must be at room temperature, or the filling will have some lumps. Take it out of the fridge several hours before cooking. 2) The crust can burn easily, so keep a close eye while it’s in the oven.
For the coulis (fruit sauce) use any kind of berries; if you want you can use just strawberries or a combination of your favorite berries. The same applies to the layer of strawberries on the top. This flexibility allows you to play with any fruit combination, and get a different result every time.
It’s important to clarify that this recipe is not a regular cheesecake. The texture is different (more like a mousse), and so is the preparation (not baked, and doesn’t have gelatin). But it is similar enough to call it that way, and has nothing to envy from the traditional cheesecake. Try it and you’ll see.
- 2 cups ground vanilla cookies (or Graham crackers)
- ½ cup butter, melted
- 1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
- 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese, at room temperature
- Juice of three lemons
- 2 lb strawberries
- 4-5 tablespoons sugar
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 1 teaspoon potato starch
- Preheat the oven to 350ᵒ F.
- Combine the vanilla cookies with the butter using a spoon. Put the mixture in the base of a pie pan or a regular tart pan (you can also use mini tart pans, but the baking time will be shorter) and push with your fingers until it is uniform. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly golden. Cool in a rack.
- Pour the sweetened condensed milk and the cream cheese into a bowl, and beat with a mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the lemon juice and stir with a spoon until the cream becomes thicker.
- Pour the mixture over the cookie crust and refrigerate while you complete the recipe.
- To make the berry sauce: cook half of the strawberries in a saucepan with the sugar over medium heat. Stir until the berries release their juices and are cooked through. Add the orange juice and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Strain the mixture, pressing the fruit in the sieve. Discard the solids and pour the juice back into the saucepan.
- Dissolve the potato starch in ½ cup water and add to the sauce. Stir and simmer over medium heat until it boils. Transfer to a jar or a saucer, and cool completely.
- Slice the remaining strawberries and place them on top of the cheesecake (see photos).
- Refrigerate the cheesecake for a couple of hours. Drizzle some of the berry sauce on top of the strawberries and serve more on the side.