I remember my first Valentine's Day. I was a freshman in college dating my current boyfriend, whom I haven't met in person yet. Even though we were apart I still felt close to him. I'm pretty sure I even hugged the outside of the package he sent until the big day came around. I still have the box, and he still has the one I sent him. We opened gifts on web camera, taking turns and smiling our little faces off.
He surprised me with a box of sunflowers and a glass vase. I didn't even know I had mail until my roommate told me I had something at the front desk. Imagine my surprise getting this long box, I had a huge grin walking to my room. I love the uncontrollable grins that you just can't hide, well in the right moments anyway. Sunflowers are my favorite flower. They were beautiful. I think all of my roommates were a tad bit jealous, which was amusing since I wasn't getting along with most of them. Hehe.
So this year I will be spending Valentine's Day alone. I think I will probably watch a romantic period piece in bed and eat cheesecake! Lot's of cheesecake.
This recipe is fantastic. I wouldn't change anything about it and I plan on making it again really soon. The texture is creamy and smooth yet it's still firm, definitely a New York style cheesecake. The cheesecake is rich in flavor alone. The strawberry sauce is a great compliment and balances the richness. I melted some chocolate and piped hearts on parchment paper. Then I made whipped up heavy cream by using and a sprinkle of sugar (to taste).
(adapted recipe via Not So Humble Pie)
10 ounces chocolate graham crackers, crushed into crumbs
7 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 ounces good quality white chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1.5 cups fresh strawberries (blended)
1 tbsp sugar
1.5 cups cold water
1-2 tsp lemon juice (to taste)
1.5 tsp cornstarch
Crust: Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine chocolate graham crackers with melted butter and press into bottom of the pan and 1.5 inches up the sides of a 9'' springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and then allow to cool completely.
Sauce: Blend strawberries in a blender. Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan until combined. Stir in cold water, blended strawberries, and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat whisking often until it starts to boil. Let boil for half minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and strain. Set aside.
Cheesecake Filling: Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Place the chopped white chocolate in a bowl and set aside. In a saucepan bring the 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the hot cream all over the chocolate and allow to stand for one minute. Stir until it has melted completely.
In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Mix in sugar and beat well, scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.
On medium speed, slowly add the white chocolate ganache. When the chocolate has combined, add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and salt.
Pour cheesecake over the graham cracker crust until halfway. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of strawberry sauce over the cheesecake filling. Continue to pour the rest of the cheesecake filling in the pan. Drizzle another 2 tablespoons of strawberry sauce over the top, take a toothpick or knife and swirl the sauce around.
Set the pan onto a couple large sheets of aluminum foil and smooth them up the sides of the pan to waterproof. Place the cheesecake into a large roasting pan and then place in the oven. Pour the boiling water into the roasting pan, filling to about one inch (no higher than the lowest edge of aluminum foil). Allow to bake at 325°F for one hour then reduce heat and bake at 300°F for an additional 60-90 minutes until the center is just set.
Remove from oven and allow to cool completely. Once cool chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
Check out my 2012 Valentine's Day post: Chocolate Panna Cotta