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A taste of summer to perk things up in January

Last Monday evening, I catered food for the Elmira Horticultural Society’s annual meeting. They requested a buffet of appetizers and desserts so that makes menu planning great fun. As many of you know, I love experimenting with dessert recipes so I took an unbaked cheesecake recipe and created this Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Cheesecake.

If you are groaning in despair at another rich dessert recipe in January when you have vowed to cut back on calories and exercise more, you are not alone. Just file this recipe away and pull it out later this year when fresh strawberries are in season.

It is a good idea to make the chocolate dipped strawberries first before the cheesecake. Pick out berries of similar size, wash them and leave  the stems on. Lay them on paper towels to dry thoroughly before dipping or the chocolate will not stick to the strawberries. After they are  dipped, lay them on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper to harden. So when you pour the ganache over the cheesecake, the strawberries are ready … you will have to put the strawberries on the ganache before it cools or the strawberries will not stick!

Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Cheesecake

Crust:

  • 1-1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Filling:

  • 1 Tbsp. unflavoured gelatine
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • 250 gr. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. white vanilla
  • 4 cups whipped cream (already whipped)
  • Fresh strawberries, enough to cover the crust

Ganache:

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 10-12 chocolate-dipped strawberries

For crust, mix ingredients and press firmly on the bottom of a 9” spring-form pan. Chill.

For filling, put 1/4 cup cold water into a small microwaveable dish. Sprinkle unflavoured gelatine evenly over the surface of the water. Let soften about 5 minutes.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and white vanilla until no lumps remain.

Heat softened gelatine in microwave for a few seconds to melt, then add to cream cheese mixture while the mixer is running.

Slowly blend in milk, and then fold in whipped cream.

Wash strawberries, remove stems and let them dry.

On chilled crust, set strawberries pointed side up, until entire crust is covered.

Pour filling on top of strawberries, pushing the filling down into the cracks.

Chill cheesecake several hours or overnight.

Remove cheesecake from pan and set it on a serving plate.

In small microwaveable bowl, put ganache ingredients. Microwave only until warm, then stir until all the chocolate is melted.

Pour ganache over cheesecake, smoothing with a knife and coax a little ganache to drip down the sides.

Set the chocolate dipped strawberries on top before ganache hardens completely.

Chill until serving.

Serves 10-12 people.

 

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