“Strawberries…the smell of summer! Not as difficult as it seems, plus some down time. From ATK.”
9 graham crackers (whole crackers broken into pieces)
3⁄4 cupall-purpose flour
8 tablespoonsunsalted butter, melted
1 1⁄2 lbscream cheese
2 teaspoonsvanilla extract
6 ouncesstrawberries, hulled (1 cup heaping)
5 strawberries, hulled (to garnish)
2 cupssour cream
1 teaspoonsugar (for strawberry garnish)
TO BEGIN: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Make foil sling for 13 by 9-inch baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of aluminum foil; first sheet should be 13 inches wide and second sheet should be 9 inches wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over edges of pan. Push foil into corners and up sides of pan, smoothing foil flush to pan. Spray with vegetable oil spray.
FOR THE CRUST: Process cracker pieces and sugar in food processor until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Add flour and salt and pulse to combine, about 2 pulses. Add melted butter and pulse until crumbs are evenly moistened, about 10 pulses.
Using your hands, press crumb mixture evenly into bottom of prepared pan. Using bottom of dry measuring cup, firmly pack crust into pan. Bake until fragrant and beginning to brown around edges, about 20 minutes. Let cool completely. (Allowing to cool completely is very important to the end result.).
FOR THE FILLING: In clean, dry processor bowl, process cream cheese and sugar until smooth, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. With processor running, add eggs, one at a time, until just incorporated, about 30 seconds total. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add vanilla and process to combine, about 10 seconds. Pour cream cheese mixture over cooled crust. Bake until center is almost set but still jiggles slightly when pan is shaken, about 45 minutes.
FOR THE TOPPING: Meanwhile, in clean, dry processor bowl, process 6 ounces strawberries and ½ cup sugar until pureed, about 30 seconds. Stir strawberry puree and sour cream in bowl until combined.
Remove cheesecake from oven. Pour strawberry mixture over cheesecake (cheesecake layer should be completely covered). Return pan to oven and bake until topping is just set, about 15 minutes.
Transfer pan to wire rack and let cheesecake cool completely, about 2 hours. Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. Slice remaining 5 strawberries thin and gently toss with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in bowl. Using foil overhang, lift cheesecake out of pan. Cut into 24 squares. Garnish each square with 1 strawberry slice and serve.