One of my favorite desserts is strawberry cheesecake with a graham cracker crust. It’s so simple, and so satisfyingly good. When the weather turns warm, and I want to increase my time spent outdoors, I look for easy dishes that don’t compromise on flavor or presentation. This dessert fits the bill. I can make it in about 20 minutes, layer it up, and glide into a garden with it and a book to relax over. And I can pretend, if only for a moment, that I don’t have a million things waiting for me to do in the house.
This is my first time to participate in the Improv Cooking Challenge hosted by Kristen at The Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. It’s a monthly party where everyone takes the same two assigned ingredients and lets their imaginations run wild. It doesn’t matter what other ingredients we use, whether we make something savory or sweet. Unlike some challenges like this, like blog hops I regularly play with, it’s a one-day challenge, instead of all month long.
Strawberry Cream Cheesecake Tians
Graham Cracker Crust
- 1 cup honey graham cracker crumbs (I crumbled honey graham crackers with a rolling pin.)
- 4 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- lemon zest from ½ lemon
- pinch salt
Cream Cheese Filling
- 6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 ounces ricotta cheese
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 8 medium fresh strawberries
Whipped Cream Topping
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Mix together all of the ingredients for the Graham Cracker Crust in a small bowl, and set aside.
Mix together all of the ingredients for the Cream Cheese Filling in a small bowl, except for the strawberries, spoon the filling into a small baggie or piping bag and set aside. Scrape the filling to the bottom of the baggie or pipe bag. Any hard straight edge will work, even a ruler.
Hull the strawberries, slice in half lengthwise, and slice each half lengthwise into thin slices. Set aside.
Whip the whipping cream in a small bowl using a hand mixer until the cream starts to considerably thicken. Add the sugar and continue whipping until firm enough to pipe. Place in a piping bag fitted with a piping nozzle.
Now you’re ready to assemble. I used small parfait glasses 3″ in diameter and 4″ tall including the stems. Place 1 very packed tablespoon of graham cracker mix in the base of the glass and pack it down with something flat. I used the bottom of a rose vase. Snip one of the corners of the baggie containing the cream cheese filling, and pipe 2 tablespoons of filling on top of the graham cracker mixture by pushing the filling through the cut opening at the corner. By careful not to make a large cut when you snip off the corner. A small cut works very well. Arrange the strawberry slices on top by fanning them in a circle, and pipe a dab of whipping cream on top.