Because your holiday table needs this strawberry meringue cheesecake!
The weather outside is positively springy and my mood matches it 100%. I think the fact that today we are packing for our holiday has something to do with it! We will be away for Easter but I wanted to bring you something special before we go. I thought about what dessert I would like to eat at the end of my Easter dinner and something delicate and light came to mind. Once I knew what texture I wanted, I had no doubts about the colour. Pale pink! There is just something about the colour of early spring blossoms that are so beautiful and hope giving! Don’t you think?
This strawberry meringue cheesecake is the embodiment of spring. Light, delicate, fragrant and amazingly delicious!
I had all kinds of grand ideas for my Easter dessert and then I thought to myself…would my readers enjoy spending a whole day in the kitchen baking up a storm? And I knew right away the answer was NO. When the weather is this lovely all we want to do is to mix thing up and stick it in the fridge to set. This strawberry meringue cheesecake is exactly that. No baking required, not even the base! How great is that, especially when the end result look this gorgeous!!
This no-bake strawberry cheesecake has a texture of the most delicate strawberry mousse, and is made with full-fat soft cheese (I got mine from Marks and Spencer), it is slightly less tangy than Philadelphia cream cheese, which also could be used for this recipe. It is set with gelatine leaves, you could also use gelatine powder. I added a full cup of processed fresh strawberries in the mix, and because it is made with real strawberries, it tastes like STRAWBERRIES.
When developing this recipe I experimented with freezing one of the cakes as well, which produced a gorgeous frozen dessert in the style of an Italian semifreddo. And because it is set with gelatine it doesn’t turn into a creamy mush when it thaws, it still holds its shape, which is perfect for a dinner party! I took the first frozen version to our friends’ house for dinner and we all absolutely loved it!
The only real “fancy” thing I allowed myself, when creating this strawberry meringue cheesecake, is the meringue topping. It’s actually really easy to make but you do need a blowtorch since we can’t really put this delicate mousse-like cake in the oven. If you do not own a blowtorch, which I assume you don’t, because that’s crazy and over the top type of kitchen equipment, you can easily top this cheesecake with whipped cream!
So your strawberry cheesecake will look similar to this.
Or like this if you take a blowtorch to your meringue, which is a great fun if I am completely honest. It’s incredible to watch your snowy white meringue peaks turning golden and smell the burnt sugar. Confectionary bliss!!
- 200 g/2 cups digestive biscuits/graham crackers
- 100 g/1/2 cup butter
- 4 sheets/2 tsp gelatine
- 300 ml/1 1/4 cups double cream/heavy cream divided
- 400 g/14oz full fat soft cheese/cream cheese
- 200 g/1 cup sugar
- 400 g/1 cup strawberries processed in a food processor
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 4 egg whites
- 240 g/1 cup +2 tbsp caster sugar
In a medium bowl crush digestives or graham crackers or process them in a food processor and mix the crumbs with melted butter.
Line the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan with the buttery crumbs and press in with a measuring cup or a large spoon. Put in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Soak the gelatine leaves in a cup of cold water for 5 minutes. Skip this step if using gelatine powder. Heat half of the cream in a microwave, then squeeze out excess water from gelatine leaves and add them to the hot cream, they will dissolve immediately. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl whip soft cheese or cream cheese if using with sugar, vanilla and processed strawberries until well blended, then pour in the cream and gelatine mixture and whip for a minute longer to combine well.
In another bowl beat remaining cream until soft peaks form, do not overwhip. The cream shouldn't be stiff. Fold the whipped cream in the strawberry cheese mixture with a spatula until well combined.
Line the sides of the spring form pan with a strip of parchment paper for easy release. Pour in the strawberry cheesecake mixture in the spring form pan and put in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or better overnight.
Before serving make the meringue. Beat egg whites in a very clean, grease-free bowl with caster sugar until the mixture is tripled in volume and the sugar is completely dissolved. Take a small amount of meringue and rub it between your fingers, the texture should be smooth and you shouldn't detect any sugar granules. Another test is to turn the bowl with the meringue upside down. If the meringue is made correctly, it will remain in the bowl.
Take the strawberry cheesecake out of the fridge and unmold it, then carefully pull the parchment paper strips away from the side of the cheesecake. (You can always smooth the sides with a palette knife if they are less than perfect.)
You can either pipe the meringue from a pastry bag using a round tip or pile it on free style. Then brown the top with a blowtorch holding it a few centimetres away from the meringue.
Alternatively you can skip the meringue topping and decorating your strawberry cheesecake with whipping cream.