Strawberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

(recipe makes one 9” cake or 8 individual cakes)

no baking required!!!

For crust:

1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 C sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
Pinch of salt

Place crumbs in a bowl. Add sugar and salt and mix well. Melt butter in the microwave. Add vanilla into melted butter. Add butter mix to crumbs. Mix well. Press crumb mix into pan or pans that have been sprayed with non-stick spray. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

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For filling:

7 ounces white chocolate broken into pieces
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1 C powdered sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla bean paste
Zest from half an orange
Zest from one small lemon

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1 C heavy cream

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3 T strawberry jam

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Melt chocolate in the microwave. Use 50% power and melt in 10 second intervals. Careful not to over heat. Let melted chocolate sit on the counter while you prepare the remaining ingredients.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add cream cheese. Make sure it is room temperature. A couple of seconds in the microwave can assure this. Beat until smooth and void of lumps. Sift powdered sugar into the cream cheese and blend well. Add vanilla bean paste and zests. Mix until well combined. Add cooled white chocolate and blend. Once combined, remove cream cheese mix to another bowl. Clean mixing bowl.

In the stand mixer with a whisk attachment, whisk the cream until firm peaks form. Fold about a third of the cream into the cream cheese mix. Incorporate using a folding technique. Add remaining whipped cream and strawberry jam. Fold to mix. Place filling into graham cracker crust(s). Chill in the refrigerator for 4-5 hours or overnight. They will hold nicely for several days.

For service, unmold and add additional strawberry jam as a topping. Gently warm jam with a few drops of water to reach a spreadable consistency. Slice strawberries on top.

With the addition of whipped cream, the texture of the cheesecake is very light and airy.

With the addition of whipped cream, the texture of the cheesecake is very light and airy.

Recipe lifted from Food & Wine.

I used individual baking molds. For information on those, check out the recipe for Lemon Blueberry Cakes.

Another thought on this idea would to substitute bittersweet chocolate for the white chocolate and omit the lemon zest. Use more orange zest instead. Chocolate cookie crumbs for  the crust would work too.

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