1 1/4 cup ground almonds 1/4 cup granulated sugar 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder 4 tbsp butter
Balsamic Strawberry Filling
1 cupYES!Berries Your Everyday Snack!® strawberries 2 tbsp strawberry jam 1 tbsp of good balsamic vinegar, use as thick and syrupy as you can find, or reduce 3 tbsp over medium-high heat till it turns to 1 tbsp 20 oz (560 grams) full-fat cream cheese (2 typical 250 gram bricks, plus 1/4 of a brick of cheese) do not use light or low fat. 1 1/4 cup icing sugar divided 3 tbsp freeze-dried strawberry powder 2 tsp crushed pink peppercorns Use the back of a knife against a cutting board, or a mortar and pestle. 1 tsp lemon zest 1 tsp vanilla powder paste or extract 1 tbsp cornstarch 1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream, it must be at least 35% milk fat if not more. if you can find 40% you have scored here in North America!
fresh strawberries and mint to decorate sliced as you want
Spray a 20cm (8 in) springform cake tin and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper. Don't use butter as it will harden in the fridge and make it harder to release the side walls of the pan.
Brown the butter in a small pot over medium-low heat. It will go through various stages of bubbling and foaming, Once the bubbles have pretty well disappeared, there are bits of fat solids on the bottom, and the butter has a nutty aroma, it is done and should be removed to cool.
Place the ground almonds, sugar and cocoa powder into a medium bowl. Slowly pour the butter over the mixture and blend with a fork till crumbly. If you find it won't hold when pressed together between two fingers, you could add a little bit of coconut oil to help it out. The humidity of the day (or lack thereof) can affect this.
Press the mixture into the prepared pan evenly and chill till needed.
Place the berries, the jam, and the balsamic vinegar into a small food chopper or blender. An immersion blender in a tall narrow jar (the one it came with) is perfect to get these to blend into an even puré If you can't get all the bits chopped down finely, that's alright, it will make for a lovely confetti throughout the filling. Set aside.
Use a hand mixer to briefly beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of the icing sugar to just combined. Do not overbeat.
Add strawberry purée, freeze-dried strawberry powder, pink peppercorns, lemon zest, and vanilla powder or paste and stir to combine.
Over a small bowl and using a hand sieve (or a whisk if this is all you have on hand, sift the remaining 1/4 cup of icing sugar and the cornstarch. This will remove any lumps.
In a separate bowl, and using a hand mixer, whip the whipping cream with the whisk attachment. Start off slow and increase the speed as it thickens. Slowly add the sifted icing sugar and cornstarch. Continue beating on high speed until the cream holds stiff peaks.
Use a spatula add about 1/4 of the whipped cream to the cream cheese and strawberry mixture. Gently fold to combine. Then add the rest of the whipped cream, gently folding so as not to deflate any of the whipped cream. Once it is evenly combined, spoon it into the prepared pan. Level it off with a small off-set spatula.
Chill for 8 hours or overnight.
Carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin by releasing the wall. Keep the base on.
Remove the paper lining the sides. Place it on a cake stand or decorative plate
Garnish with some sliced strawberries, mint leaves and a sprinkling of freeze-dried strawberry powder, if using. Or how about a lovely strawberry coulis, or even a drizzle of chocolate sauce (as long as it isn't hot!)
When slicing, you will cut through to the bottom paper. Use a small off-set spatula to gently separate the crust from the paper.
If you find that it just hasn't set the way you would like, feel free to store in the freezer before cutting. Freeze for at least two hours, and then remove to the fridge for about 20 minutes. Then you can slice it. If freezing it, don't garnish with the fruit, and cover it with plastic wrap of some sort.