Servings: ten to twelve.
Get a double dose of both strawberry (filling and topping) and chocolate (crust and ganache) with every bite of this cheesecake.
In a medium bowl, stir together the chocolate wafer crumbs and 3 Tbs. granulated sugar. Mix in the melted butter until the crumbs are evenly moist and clump together slightly. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press evenly onto the bottom and about 2 inches up the sides of the pan (to press, use plastic wrap or a flat-bottom measuring cup). Bake until the crust is fragrant and slightly darkened, 9 to 12 minutes. Let the pan cool on a rack. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, strawberry purée, flour, and a pinch of table salt on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl and the paddle frequently, until very smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Make sure the cheese has no lumps. Add the 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar and continue beating until well blended and smooth.
Add the vanilla and beat until blended, about 30 seconds. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended. (Don’t overbeat once the eggs have been added or the cheesecake will puff too much and crack as it cools.) Pour the filling into the cooled crust and smooth the top.
Bake at 300°F until the center jiggles like Jell-O when nudged, 55 to 65 minutes. The cake will be slightly puffed around the edges, and the center will still look moist. Set on a rack and cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. The cake can also be frozen at this point for up to 1 month (see make-ahead tip, below).
In a small bowl, melt the 3 oz. chopped chocolate and the butter. Add the corn syrup and whisk until smooth. Unclasp and remove the side of the springform pan and run a long, thin metal spatula under the bottom crust of the cheesecake. Carefully slide the cake onto a flat serving plate. Pour the chocolate ganache on the cheesecake and spread evenly.
Just before serving, garnish with the sliced strawberries. To cut, run a thin knife under hot water, wipe it dry, and cut the cake into slices, heating and wiping the knife after every slice.
Make Ahead Tips
To freeze, put the unmolded, cooled cake on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer, uncovered, until the top is cold and firm; then wrap it in two layers of plastic and one layer of foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
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Made this over the weekend--family and guests LOVED it! Do be warned about the 8 hour chill time (in case you are like me and didn't read the full recipe until you begin making it). I substituted chocolate graham crackers for the chocolate wafers for cost and convenience. I'll definitely be making this again. Delicious!
I have made this cake twice, and will be baking a third tomorrow. It is a very solid recipe, but I made a few adjustments the second time around which, in my opinion, made the cake even better. First, I strained the strawberry puree through a fine seive so that the cake had a perfectly smooth texture without the crunch of strawberry seeds (aside from the few on the topping). Second, I used a different ganache recipe which gets firm enough to keep from running, but not rock hard like the one in this recipe, so that the cake can be cut without it smashing or having to use a real hot knife to get through the ganache. Melt 4 oz semisweet chocolate in double boiler, then whisk in 1/2 cup heavy cream until smooth. Pour onto chilled cake immediately and use spatula to smooth out surface. I applied the strawberry slices immediately after spreading the ganache so that the ganache was still soft enough to conform to the fruit before firming up(preventing the fruit from sliding off of the cake if you have to travel with it, as it did the first time I made this...and I worked so hard on fanning out those strawberries just right). I also made a strawberry glaze to top the fruit off with in order to keep it looking fresh...just a simple combo of strawberry puree, a little sugar to taste, and a little diluted cornstarch simmered in a sauce pan a few minutes then cooled.
Great recipe, it's a new family favorite!
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