This was the dessert I served on Father's Day for the 3 fathers who ate at our table. It was a success on a day when almost everything seemed to go wrong. I used several recipes for this cake and made changes to everything anyway, so it's pretty pointless to list a source. (But if you insist on knowing, I adapted a crust from a Food & Wine May 2003 recipe entitled "Lemon Ripple Cheesecake Bars," and I adapted a cheesecake filling from Suite101.com's Strawberry Cheesecake Recipe published Jan. 24, 2008.)
New York-Style Cheesecake with Mascarpone and Macerated Strawberries
Rating: 9 out of 10
CRUST: 1 cup white whole wheat (or regular whole wheat) flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 packs True Lemon (or 1 Tbsp. lemon juice)
1/8 tsp. sea salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces and chilled
CHEESECAKE FILLING: 3 packages (8 oz. each) Neufchatel cheese, softened
1 container (8 oz.) Mascarpone cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups super-fine sugar
1 tsp. orange zest
2 packets True Lemon (or 1 Tbsp. lemon juice)
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or regular vanilla extract)
2 large eggs
2 egg whites
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup lite sour cream
2 Tbsp. fat-free half and half
Make the crust: Preheat the oven to 325F and position a rack in the center. Butter a 9" springform pan. In a food processor, pulse all ingredients until a soft, crumbly dough forms. Press dough evenly over the bottom and a scant 1/2" up the sides of the pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden and firm. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
Make the cheesecake filling: Preheat oven to 450F. Place pan of hot water in bottom of oven. In food processor, pulse the cheeses and sugar until smooth and fluffy, scraping down sides as needed. Add flavorings and eggs, one at a time, and process till smooth after each addition. Add cornstarch, sour cream and half and half and pulse just till combined. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes. Without opening oven door, reduce heat to 250F and bake an additional 35-45 minutes, or till cheesecake is just slightly jiggly in center. (Mine took 45 minutes, and my oven runs "true.") Remove to a wire rack away from drafts to finish cooling. Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight before cutting.
Make Macerated Strawberries: 15 minutes to 1 hour before serving, Slice 1 pint of strawberries into a medium bowl. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4-1/3 cup Creme de Almond over the strawberries and stir to distribute. (In place of Creme de Almond, you can use any orange liqueur.) Grate some good-quality dark chocolate over each cheesecake slice and serve with macerated strawberries on the side.
This cheesecake will serve 10-12 people.