Strawberry Honey Swirl Cheesecake
Welcome to Summer!! And here, that means lots and lots of strawberries! As a mom on a budget I am big on using whatever is in season and we have officially entered strawberry season full force. Enter me figuring out ways to bake with them, making my kids eat them for snacks, and freezing them to keep or use in smoothies. I'm gonna be honest, it's definitely not a bad problem to have. haha And what is more classic than a cheesecake with graham crust and a strawberry glaze?? But this one has a few twists that make it over the top yum!
My family is always big on cheesecakes and it is a great summer dessert since it always chilled too. It also happened to be my husbands bday the other week and he had requested a cheesecake. Being the super awesome wife I am (hair flip) I made him this strawberry honey cheesecake. It was very well loved (scroll to the bottom to see)......and gone within a couple days.
Since my last banana pudding cheesecake was a hit with y'all (you can find the recipe here) I decided to share this yummy one with you too!
It is my luscious New York style baked cheesecake that I dress up with some fresh strawberries and honey as a twist. I used honey in the graham cracker crust and also in the strawberry glaze in lieu of sugar. All the same cheesecake rules apply here, like making sure your cream cheese is room temp, don't over mix, and baking it with a water bath. I have pretty awesome cheesecake guide that will change your cheesecake game to all-star status that you can download here. And the rest is all in the directions below.
I did end up baking this guy a little longer since I swirled in fresh pureed strawberries on top. I just really wanted to have layers of that strawberry goodness. It also caused it to crack a bit upon cooling, even though I followed my cooling in the oven method but this didn't bother me. I'm sure it was due to the way the fresh fruit baked with the cheesecake filling so if that's something you don't want then I would skip this step. I knew I was covering it with a glaze anyways so I wasn't concerned.
If you want to get your swirling on then puree some fresh berries and pour as much as you'd like on top of your cheesecake pre-baking. Next, use a toothpick and swirl it around. How much of it you want is really up to you. I did probably about 1/4 of a cup of puree on here.
Now, I know it cracked during cooling but I was actually pretty in love with the color of it too and was kinda sad to cover it up but that strawberry honey glaze was no joke and it would've been a crime to not add it. To make this, I pureed about another 1/4 cup of fresh berries and poured it in a sauce pan with 3 tablespoons of honey. You can use any honey you prefer but the better quality the honey the more you will taste it. Then I sliced strawberries into coin size pieces, kind of on the thicker side since I knew I was cooking them, and added them to my pot too. Next I let it simmer on medium-low stirring regularly so it didn't burn for about 15 minutes or until it was at a glaze like consistency. I tasted it here and if I wanted it more sweet I added more honey or left it as is. It's nice because you can really control your sweetness level. I think this made for a really well balanced dessert.
After my cheesecake was nice and set in the fridge for at least 4 hours, I poured my cooled glaze right on top and we barely waited a minute before we sliced it up to eat. My family was literally dying watching me photograph it so I guess I should be glad I have any pics at all. They were lurking around me just waiting for the word (outtakes at the bottom). haha I hope y'all enjoy as much as we did!
STRAWBERRY HONEY CHEESECAKE
PREP TIME: 2-3 hours (including thawing out ingredients)
BAKE TIME: 55-60 minutes
MAKES: 1 9inch cheesecake
13-14 whole graham crackers
1 tablespoon honey
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 lb softened cream cheese (2 packages)
1 cup white granulated sugar
1 pint sour cream
1/2 lemon zested
1 tablespoon vanilla paste (or extract)
sprinkle of nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh strawberry puree
1 lb fresh strawberries
3-5 tablespoons honey
1. Thaw all cold ingredients to room temperature.
2. Spray a 9 inch spring-form pan lightly with cooking spray.
3. Put all your graham crackers into a food processor and pulse until ground into crumbs. Pour into medium bowl.
4. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter. Mix the melted butter and 1 tablespoon honey with your graham cracker crumbs with fork until it comes together. You want it to be moist enough that if you press it against the side of the bowl it holds it shape fine, like wet sand.
5. Pour crust mixture into your greased spring-form pan and use the bottom of a glass to press the mixture evenly around and up the sides to create your crust. It doesn't need to be perfect or very high up the sides. It really just depends on how think you want your crust. I try to get mine about 1/2 of an inch up the sides and keep it about 1/8 inch think throughout.
6. Place prepared crust in freezer to set.
7. Fill a pan or glass dish with water about 3/4 of the way full and place it on a rack in your cold oven. Just leave room for your cheesecake pan. This is to create your water bath effect for baking your cheesecake.
8. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
9. Puree a handful of fresh strawberries in a blender or food processor till smooth. Set aside for now.
10. In a stand mixer, add your 2 packages (1lb) of softened cream cheese. Beat this alone with a paddle mixer attachment to cream.
11. Add eggs one at a time and beat until smooth. Scrape your bowl frequently.
12. While mixer is on low, slowly add your sugar until combined.
13. Stop mixer and add your sour cream, vanilla extract, lemon zest, and nutmeg. Beat until combined. Again, scrape the bowl frequently.
14. Do not over mix. You want a smooth creamy consistency. It shouldn't have lumps except maybe the random tiny dot here and there.
15. Remove your crust from the freezer. Pour cheesecake mixture into your prepared pan. Tap gently on the counter to remove air bubbles.
16. Drizzle your strawberry puree on top, how much of it you want and wherever you want. Use a toothpick to gently swirl it around.
17. Place your cheesecake on a rack in your preheated sauna oven. Bake for 55 minutes. Check consistency (see notes above recipe) and bake for another 5 minutes or until done. Turn oven off, prop open oven door slightly and let cool inside oven for at least an hour. This prevents the top from cracking typically but in this case it will probably crack some from the strawberry. That's totally fine.
16. After it's cool and set here you will transfer to your fridge to get cold and finishing setting for 1-4 hours. It's really up to you here. We have eaten it after an hour in the fridge and after overnight in the fridge. It's good either way. The longer it's in there the more firm it will be though but still yummy none the less.
17. While your cheesecake is cooling, puree half of your 1lb of strawberries the same as you did before and pour your puree into a small saucepan to make your glaze.
18. Slice up the remainder of the strawberries into coin size pieces and add them to your pan with puree. Add 3 tablespoons honey and stir.
19. Start to heat your glaze on medium-low stirring regularly. Cook for about 10 minutes until it has thickened some and is more of syrupy texture. This could take longer or shorter for you depending on your stove. You can taste and add more honey if you want it sweeter or leave as is. Set the pot aside and allow to cool completely to room temperature.
20. Once you cheesecake is set, remove it from fridge and pour your glaze on top and you're ready to serve! Or you can place back in the fridge until you are ready for it. This is definitely a dessert you could make ahead. Enjoy!!
STORAGE: It should be fine in your fridge up to a week but good luck if you get it to last that long! ;)
Outtakes below courtesy of my son and husband who couldn't wait to eat......
Angie and my crazy family