The blush-pink cheesecake is lighter and bit more tart than usual. The brownie crust is fudge-y where it touches the cheesecake but crisp where it had touched the bottom and sides of the pan during baking. Every mouthful is a kaleidoscope of colors and contrasting textures. This brownie-crusted strawberry cheesecake is a the best practical lesson on why strawberries and dark chocolate will forever be the ultimate dessert couple.
The idea started a long time ago. Sam said I should try using my dark chocolate fudge brownies recipe as a crust for cheesecake. I tried once. And failed. I thought that the brownie crust had to be underbaked before pouring in the cream cheese mixture. I was wrong. The crust never held shape and got mixed into the cheesecake. It was an ugly, ugly mess.
But I learned something important that sad day. The brownie crust had to be completely baked before pouring in the cream cheese mixture. In theory, I was sure. But theory is just theory unless successfully proven. So, a few days ago, I tried again. This time, I proved my theory to be correct. The success was so overwhelming I wanted to jump with joy. But I didn’t. I just sliced the cheesecake and enjoyed it with a big smile on my face.
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Prepare an eight-inch cheesecake pan by wrapping the sides and bottom with two layers of aluminum foil.
- Lightly spray the inside of the pan with oil.
- Place the chocolate and butter in a microwaveable bowl. Melt in the microwave oven for 45 seconds on HIGH. Mix until smooth. Cool for a bit.
- Mix in the sugar and salt.
- Add the egg and stir.
- Lastly, add the flour and mix until the mixture looks homogenous.
- Pour the brownie mix into the prepared pan. Bake at 350F for 40 to 45 minutes. Prick the center with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, the brownie crust is done.
- The crust will be higher along the edges. That's how it should be.
Brownie-crusted Strawberry Cheesecake
- Adjust the oven temperature to 300F.
- Boil water in a kettle.
- Place the strawberries in the blender. Pour in the milk. Process until smooth. Measure. You should have exactly one cup. If you have less, add more strawberries and process again until smooth.
- Place the cream cheese in the bowl of your mixer. With the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light.
- Add the sugar and salt to the cheese. Beat for a minute on medium speed.
- Set the mixer speed to low. With the motor running, add the eggs one at a time and adding the next egg only after the least one has been fully incorporated.
- Pour in the strawberry mixture and food color. Mix on low speed until fully blended.
- Pour the strawberry-cheese mixture over the brownie crust.
- Place the cheesecake pan in a larger baking pan or tray at least two inches in height.
- Pour boiling water into the larger baking pan. The water should reach halfway up the height of the cheesecake pan.
- Bake the cheesecake at 300F for three to four hours or until the edges are firm but the center is still slightly jiggly.
- Place the cheesecake pan on a rack and cool slowly to room temperature. Wrap with foil and cling film. Chill overnight.
- Run a knife around the cheesecake to separate it from the pan. Release the cheesecake.
- Top the brownie-crusted strawberry cheesecake with whipped cream. Slice and serve.