Saturday, March 8, 2014

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cheesecake With Pastry Crumb

Sometimes you just need a treat. It's a fact. 
I know eating when you are stressed out is not a good thing and that using food for comfort is how bad eating habits develop. 
Preaching to the choir on that one.
But sometimes, there is just nothing like a big ol' slice of tastiness to help you feel comforted. 
Like this amazing cheesecake, for example.
I decided to make it after my niece, Sue's daughter Kenz, ended up in the hospital AGAIN. They just can't seem to figure out what is going on with her. (Prayers and positive thoughts for her always welcome! Thank you.) Anyway, I figured we could all use a little treat. 
I was inspired by the ridiculously beautiful looking cake over at Vikalinka. She used apricots in hers and, believe me, once apricots are in season here, I am definitely making this again. It is soooooo good!
I love food that taste great and looks so pretty!
I also love food that isn't so pretty.
Okay... I just love food. 

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Cheesecake With Pastry Crumb
(Slightly adapted from Vikalinka) 

2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup butter, cold
1 egg

2 bricks (8 oz each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 vanilla bean pod

Fruit layer
2 cups strawberries, chopped

1/4 cup almonds, ground

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 10 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Set aside. 
Prepare pastry - In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, and baking powder. using 2 knives or a pastry blender, cut in the cold butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. (*You can also use a cheese grater and grate in the cold butter*)  
Mix in the egg until dough comes together into a ball. *You may have to add a tablespoon or more of water to get it to come together* 
Use your hands to pat in to ball. Cut off 1/3 of the ball and place it in the freezer. (This frozen bit will become your topping.) Use your hands to crumble the remaining dough into a 10 inch springform pan. Press the dough over the bottom and up the sides about 1 - 2 inches. 

Place in fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Prepare cheesecake filling -  In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until smooth, scraping the sides several times. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well combined. 
Beat in sugar and flour.
Lastly, cut open the vanilla bean pod and scrape out the seeds. (Discard pods or save for another use.) 

Beat the seeds into the cheesecake mixture until well distributed. 
Pour cheesecake mixture into prepared crust.

Sprinkle with the cut up strawberries.

Set aside while you prepare crumb topping.
Prepare crumb - Take the bit of dough out of the freezer. It should be quite firm. Grate the dough on a cheese grater until it is all crumbly.

Sprinkle on top of the strawberries.

Now, sprinkle evenly with the 1/4 cup ground almonds.

Bake at 350 for approximately 45 - 55 minutes, until topping is golden and cheesecake is set. 
Remove from oven and let cool until cool enough to touch before removing the sides of the pan.

Chill in the fridge for at least 2 more hours before serving. 

I kept it covered, in the fridge, overnight and it was lovely the next day as well. 
My coworkers loved the leftovers! 
I'm very excited to try this with apricots and peaches!
Be sure to pop over to Vikalinka to see her beautiful photos.

Looking for more links to tasty and crafty ideas? Check these blogs out - Ms. enPlace, Jam Hands, The Velvet Moon Baker, Hungry Happenings, and Chef In Training


  1. Can I have a slice. Oh, that looks good. I do hope they figure out what is up with your niece and that she is on the road to recovery soon.

    1. Thank you Beth :) Of course would love to share a slice with you!

  2. Wow .... I wish I had a slice of this right now!! Pinned :)

  3. Hope your neice is doing well and that answers are found soon.

    Beautiful cake. Sometimes this kind of treat is just the thing we need.
    Thank you for sharing!