Monday, 18 July 2011

When Life Gives You Strawberries.....

.... make cheesecake and jam! 

Last week I ended up with too many cherries and strawberries for my family to eat, so here's what I ended up with! Check out the recipes page if you want to try it yourself!

#1) Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

 I also had some cream cheese given to me, so I decided to bake a strawberry swirl cheesecake. And yes, I was baking in my gym clothes. I used a recipe from and was pleased! This was my first baked cheesecake that I made, and I think it turned out quite well!
I blended the strawberries in my magic bullet and then had to cook them over the burner to make the strawberry part. The strawberry part would make a great sauce for ice cream sundaes too! To make the swirls you pour half the cheesecake mixture in, then plop half the strawberry mixture in by spoonfuls, then plop the rest of the cheesecake mixture and strawberry mixture by spoonfuls and then you swirl it with a knife.
It turned out a little softer than I was expecting, so I think I should have left it in the oven for a bit longer, so it tasted more like a no-bake cheesecake. It was still delicious!!


Strawberry Swirl Cheesecake

-1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
-1 /4 cup sugar 
-1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted 
-2 ½ cups strawberries 
-1 tbsp cornstarch 
-3 cups (3x8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened 
-1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
-1 /4 cup lemon juice 
-3 eggs 
-1 tablespoon water

Combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom of an ungreased 9-in. springform pan. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

In a blender or food processor, combine strawberries and cornstarch; cover and process until smooth. Pour into a saucepan; bring to a boil. Boil and stir for 2 minutes. Set aside 1/3 cup strawberry sauce; cool. Cover and refrigerate remaining sauce for serving.

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in milk. Add lemon juice; mix well. Add eggs, beat on low just until combined.

Pour half of the cream cheese mixture over crust. Drop half of the reserved strawberry mixture by 1/2 teaspoonfuls onto cream cheese layer. Carefully spoon remaining cream cheese mixture over sauce. Drop remaining strawberry sauce by 1/2 teaspoonfuls on top. With a knife, cut through top layer only to swirl strawberry sauce.

Bake at 300 degrees F for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight. Remove side of pan. Thin chilled strawberry sauce with water if desired; serve with cheesecake. Store in the refrigerator.

 #2) Strawberry Jam

I still had a ton of strawberries left so I decided to try making strawberry jam, all by myself! The cooked kind took more strawberries, so I made that one. I crushed the strawberries with a potato masher, and it worked quite well. This is how much sugar went into it (7 cups)!

 Everything was going well, cheesecake was almost done in the oven, jam was starting to boil, but I used a medium sized pot instead of a large one... bad choice. It boiled over and made a huge sticky mess all over the stove! Luckily Maddie was there to help me contain the mess (and take a picture of course). I salvaged most of it, but lost a some. Lesson learned.

After cleaning up, it made 3 big jars of jam. I tried a bit and it was delicious! Very sweet though!

Strawberry Jam

-4 1/2 cups crushed strawberries
-1 box Certo Pectin Crystals
-7 cups granulated sugar

Makes 8 cups

Wash, hull (remove stems), and crush strawberries. In a large saucepan, stir together strawberries, and Certo. Bring to a boil over high heat. Add the sugar. Return to a hard boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir and skim for 5 minutes to prevent floating fruit. Pour into warm, sterilized jars to 1/4 inch from rim. Cover with lids and screw rings on tightly.

To sterilize jars: place the glass jars in the oven at 225C for 10 minutes, and keep them warm until filling time. Place the lids in boiled water until ready to use.

#3) Baby Cherry Pies

 I used my Grandma Williams' pastry recipe that she taught me how to make last Thanksgiving. I was inspired by a recipe that I found here by Anna Olson. I didn't actually use the recipe though because I had sweet cherries instead of tart cherries. I used a recipe that called for sweet cherries that had a bit less sugar in it.

 I  put them in tins meant for meat pies since they didn't have smaller ones at No Frills, but I think they look so cute! My family doesn't really like cherry pie that much, but it was pretty good! If you like cherries, you would have loved this pie!

Baby Cherry Pies

-1 batch pastry

-4 cups pitted sweet cherries
-4 tbsp corn starch
-2/3 cups sugar
-1/8 tsp salt
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/4 tsp almond extract

Prepare pastry. Wash and pit the cherries and stir together with all the ingredients. Roll out the pastry and put it into small tins. Add the pie filling and place more pastry on top. Sprinkle the tops with sugar, and wash with an egg if desired. Bake at 425C for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 325 for approximately 35 minutes until the crust is slightly browned.

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