Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Raspberry Lemonade Cheesecake

I love cheesecake. Well, I love making cheesecake - more than I love eating it. Strange, right? But, I guess I could say that's the truth about anything I make. There is just something about the process of baking. It's the perfect combination of art and science. You have to know the math and the science, then you are free to explore.

It's probably like that with other arts, but I am just not artistically inclined...at all. Give me some numbers, or some technical document and I'm happy. My brain just doesn't think aesthetically...it's more practical than that. I guess that's why I made such a good project manager.

Anyway, on to better topics - this cheesecake. I've been experimenting with different sweeteners to cheesecake. Yes, there is a method to my madness...well, sometimes there is. I've been wanting to make cheesecakes based on concentrated juice ever since the Pink Lemonade cupcake craze more than 3 years ago. I thought the idea could open a whole new array of flavors for cheesecakes. This was the first attempt - raspberry lemonade. And, it's fantastic. The tart lemons and raspberries compliment the creamy cheesecake perfectly! This is a great dessert, and I encourage you to make it soon.

For a .pdf of the recipe, click here. And, enjoy!

Raspberry Lemonade Cheesecake

Makes one 8” cheesecake

For the Raspberry Sauce:

2 pints fresh raspberries, cleaned
½ cup raspberry lemonade concentrate
½ cup sugar
2 T. butter

For the crust:

1 ½ cups vanilla wafer crumbs
3 T. sugar
6 T. butter (3 ounces)

For the cheesecake:

24 oz. cream cheese, softened (3 8 oz packages)
½ c. raspberry lemonade concentrate
3 T. corn starch
1 cup raspberry sauce (made from above)
1 1/3 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 ½ t. salt
2 t. vanilla extract or frambois
1 t. lemon zest

Make the raspberry sauce: Place ½ of the raspberries, sugar, and the juice concentrate in a medium sauce pan. Heat on medium/medium high until thick and bubbly. This may take a while, but it does need to be stirred frequently to prevent burning. Adjust for sweetness by adding additional sugar if needed (the recipe comes out a bit tart, but I preferred that to cut the richness of the cheesecake). Remove from heat, and add butter and remaining raspberries. Let cool

Preheat oven to 350. Make the crust: Combine all ingredients and mix until mixture resembles wet sand. Pat into cheesecake pan, gently patting up the edges of the springform pan. Set aside.

Prepare the cheesecake filling: In a large mixing bowl, whip cream cheese with a mixer 2-3 minutes, until a bit lighter. Add sugar, and whip an additional 2-3 minutes, scraping bottom of bowl as needed. Add eggs, one at a time, until completely incorporated. Add cornstarch, salt, zest, and extract, until mixed into batter. Pour over prepared crust.

Bake at 350 for 1 hour – I like to put a cookie sheet under the pan, because sometimes the pans do leak - until middle of cheesecake only gently wiggles when pan is moved. Turn oven off, and leave cheesecake in oven for an additional 1-2 hours.

Store in refrigerator, allowing to set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serve with remaining raspberry sauce.

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