Fresh strawberry cheesecake berries were such a hit a few months ago I had to make them again, with a modification. We’d thought at the time that the plain cheesecake filling was delicious, but also thought that mashing a few of the berries into the filling to make it even more of a strawberry treat might be a good idea. It was!
I admit I had a mess going on in my kitchen and the counter drain board was piled high with dishes I’d washed as I was baking and preparing food for an upcoming picnic. My Cuisinart was buried behind the mountain and I didn’t want to dig it out and use it to puree the berries in the filling. And I always forget about my blender, which sits with its cute lil cover over on the other side of the kitchen on the liquor cabinet (where it sees more use as a beverage-making appliance). So it was me, some berries, the cheesecake filling, and a hand-held electric mixer. It was ugly. Nah, just kidding.
It came out ok. The berries weren’t as pureed as they could have been, but we were going to be chomping on whole berries anyway, who was going to notice the small pieces in the strawberry cheesecake filling? I liked the addition of strawberries to the filling and it worked. But I suggest digging out the blender or food processor; it took a lot of mixing to get those berries even moderately mashed with the electric mixer. I thought I was losing the battle a few times.
I didn’t even look up the recipe for the filling. I vaguely knew I needed cream cheese, powdered sugar (the amount is just a suggestion in the recipe anyway) and vanilla extract. I had 6 ounces of cream cheese left over from a recipe I’d already made that called for 10 ounces of cream cheese. Don’t you hate when they do that? Were those 2 extra ounces of cream cheese really necessary? Or couldn’t they have modified the recipe to use the whole 16 ounces so I didn’t have a partial brick of cream cheese left over? That annoys me.
The cream cheese was already room temp, so I put it into a large pitcher and measured out about a ½ cup of powdered sugar. I did give the recipe a glug of vanilla, even though I used about 6 ripe strawberries I’d cut in half to flavor the filling. I beat it on medium, then on high, then on medium again. I beat it a long time, and eventually got it to mostly puree. It was a nice pink and when I taste tested the filling it was perfect.
From there I scraped it into a zippered sandwich bag I’d set in a cup, then zipped it and put it into the cooler. I’d fill the berries at the picnic; they would have been messy to fill and transport.
I washed the strawberries and had my daughter use a small melon baller and remove a little of the insides from the berries. We tucked the berries into yet another zippered bag and they also went into the cooler. I put a couple of tablespoons of graham cracker crumbs into a third bag and put that into the cooler as well. They would be sprinkled on top after the berries were filled.
At the picnic we had so much food we relaxed or played games for while after grilling and eating. Later we set up the dessert spread and I cut a tip of the bottom of the filling bag off and filled the berries. I displayed them on a colorful plate then sprinkled them with the graham crumbs. The berries were a huge hit, mostly with the grandkids. The adults had eaten way too much earlier, and nibbled on desserts. The kids had nibbled on their earlier meals so were ready to attack the desserts. Typical!
The kids loved the berries; I had to refill the plate with more. I thought it was a fairly healthy dessert and so easy to eat outdoors with your fingers. I’d suggest them as a dessert for indoors or outdoors!
Strawberry Cheesecake Strawberries
6-8 ounces cream cheese; room temp
½ cup powdered sugar (more if you want a sweeter filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6-8 strawberries; halved
8 ounce box of ripe strawberries
2 Tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
Put all ingredients into a food processor or blender and pulse until the berries are pureed. You can make it as smooth or lumpy as you wish.
Spoon filling into a zippered sandwich bag, seal and refrigerate until needed.
Wash strawberries, trip off the stem ends, and using a small melon ball maker, scoop out a small amount of strawberry from the stem end. Refrigerate until needed.
Cut off a small corner of the bag and pipe filling into each berry. Arrange on a plate, then sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs.
Store leftover filling by slipping the bag into a fresh zippered bag and refrigerate until ready to use again.