Baked Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 1:
 
There is plain cheesecake. Then there are flavored varieties, of which I felt that strawberry has been among the most popular—but it has often been in the form involving a topping placed over plain cheesecake. As I have done with many other flavors, the recipe presented here features the inclusion of strawberry within the batter.
 
Yogurt Cheese:
Prepare ahead of time 3 pounds of yogurt cheese, derived from three 32-ounce containers of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 48 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference.

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") pan, but do not wrap foil around it until just before the batter is added (spreading the crust in an already wrapped pan can result in greater disturbance to the foil, thus increasing leakage risks).

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) yogurt cheese (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
4 tablespoons melted or softened butter
1 cup granulated sugar
14 oz. strawberry conserves (such as from Whole Foods Market)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons arrowroot
5 cups (40 oz.) yogurt cheese (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil, and carefully pour the batter on top of the crust. Bake all this in a tub at 300 degrees for 105 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then cool down while still in oven (with this oven shut off) and in tub with door slightly ajar for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 105 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 1

I had difficulty picking up the strawberry flavor in this one, but I still got plenty of favorable comments from others at Living Hope Church, where this cheesecake was served among a good amount of sweet treats and other snacks, on Palm Sunday of 2015. There remained about a couple of slices after what seemed to be over an hour, and I left those behind for others to enjoy at a small lunch that followed.
 
Baked Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 2:
 
Got natural strawberry flavoring? To my surprise, I could not find any at Whole Foods—and I did not know of any other nearby brick-and-mortar that I could look to for such an ingredient. I settled for taking a chance on greatly boosting the thick strawberry stuff—which I also changed from "conserves" to "fruit spread".
 
Repeat Prototype 1, but replace the batter's 14 ounces of strawberry conserves with 20 ounces of strawberry fruit spread (which seemed reasonably close to strawberry conserves).

Also, increase the baking time from 105 minutes to 2 hours (keep the in-oven-with-door-ajar cooling time at 1 hour). Likewise, increase the cooling time at room temperature (i.e., outside the oven) from 105 minutes to 2 hours.
 
I provided this prototype for a Home Depot (my workplace) potluck meal. I could somewhat pick up the strawberry flavor, but the tartness seemed quite dominant (perhaps I should utilize a 2-to-1 blend with cottage cheese in future strawberry prototypes). My fellow workers gave me some nice comments, and one of them mentioned picking up both strawberry and cinnamon flavors (the latter being included in the crust). There was, after my 8-hour (plus a lunch break hour) shift ended, about 1/3 of the cheesecake remaining, and I left that behind (along with other potluck leftovers).
 
Baked Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 3:
 
It was time for me to take strawberry matters into my own hands. If it was difficult to get natural strawberry flavoring—or even natural strawberry drink mix—and the spreads were not working out to my satisfaction, I would settle for fresh strawberries and puree those in a blender (with the green stems removed first, of course).
 
3-Cheese Blend (1CT-1NC-4YG):
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces of strawberry puree
1/2 cup arrowroot
5 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the batter (to minimize the foil's disturbance and therefore its leakage risk, do not put it on any earlier).

Next, pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 120 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then cool the cheesecake down while still in oven (with this oven shut off) and in tub with door slightly ajar for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 120 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 3

I felt that this one came out too soft (which is why the above photo is showing the cheesecake with a little gash on the left—some of this cheesecake remained too stuck to the pan).

On the other hand, I felt that the strawberry flavor had a nice presence—"bright" and lively, yet it did not seem to be too tart. I had earlier considered adding more sugar in the future, but after I tasted this latest prototype, I reasoned that adding more sugar would probably begin to "dull" the strawberry taste. A young person—Michael—who often rated my cheesecakes that I brought to Living Hope Church, described this strawberry flavor as "spot-on". I served this cheesecake there at that time (in early April of 2016), among a modest snack selection, and it was gone in probably about half an hour. I was faced with a challenge for a future prototype: How to further firm up the cheesecake while maintaining a decent, strawberry taste.
 
Baked Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 4:

Repeat Prototype 3, but make this change for the batter:
Boost arrowroot by 1/4 cup, to 3/4 cup (thus adding more stability).
 
The outcome was persistently soft, despite the increased arrowroot. Now this softness was upon removing the cheesecake from its pan. What this particularly meant was that too much residual batter was left on the pan's sidewall, thus resulting in excessive gashes on this cheesecake. After it was chilled, I had a serving, and have found the texture to be too rubbery. I took that result as too much arrowroot. I felt the need to return that ingredient to 1/2 cup. So what could I do for the future? Should I take a chance on an unusual increase in baking time??

Because I was personally dissatisfied with this prototype, I ate very little of it. I decided to unload the rest on my Home Depot workplace. This cheesecake was gone surprisingly very quickly, likely within 5 hours, in the break room there.
 
Baked Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 5:
 
The quest is on for a decently-firm strawberry cheesecake (without being too rubbery)! This latest one takes on a multiple-installment baking approach, somewhat based on my sixth banana prototype. I also decided to flavor up the crust a little, putting some of my surplus strawberry puree to use.
 
3-Cheese Blend (1CT-1NC-4YG):
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Crust:
2 ounces of strawberry puree
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces of strawberry puree
1/2 cup arrowroot
5 eggs

Expect close to 8 1/2 cups of the resulting batter, but do not add this to the pan all at once. Rather, this needs to be done in four installments. Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the first batter installment (to minimize the foil's disturbance and therefore its leakage risk, do not put it on any earlier).

For each of the first three installments, gently scoop about 2 1/3 cups of batter into the pan, fully covering the surface (here's a tip—scoop small amounts of batter around the edge of the pan, letting this batter flow towards the middle on its own), and then bake this pan with its contents for 25 minutes, at 325 degrees. For these three installments here, bake with the pan in a tub filled with at least 1/4 to 1/2 inch of boiling water, but (to reduce spillage risks) do not fill the tub all the way at this point, because the whole tub-and-pan assembly is going to need to be removed from the oven (in order to comfortably add contents to the pan) between installments.

After these first three installments are done, there should be about 1 to 1 1/2 cups of batter left, with 75 minutes of baking time reached at this point (25 minutes for each of the first three installments). Now comes the fourth installment—carefully add the last of this batter on top of the pan's earlier installments, fully coating the entire surface. Next, return the entire pan-and-tub assembly to the oven, this time with the temperature reduced to 300 degrees. At this point, fill up the tub generously with boiling water. Resume baking for another 120 minutes (based upon usage of a 9 1/2" pan).

Afterward, shut the oven off, and leave its door slightly ajar, with the cheesecake still inside—and in the tub—for an hour. Next, remove the cheesecake from the oven and tub. Continue to cool it down at room temperature for another two hours. After doing so, remove the cheesecake from pan and refrigerate.

Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 5

The batter's outcome remained a stubbornly-soft, "can't-win" texture, despite all this extra cooking time and temperature (although the bottom batter installment seemed to show some sign of hopeful firmness).
 
Baked Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 6:
 
Several months after I had given up looking for natural strawberry flavoring or a natural strawberry drink mix, a nicely updated product happen to somehow come my way. Nestlé has made a change for the better on its strawberry Nesquik—a reasonably natural (at least natural enough by my standards—no ingredients that I could find that a strict grocer like Whole Foods would deem "unacceptable") strawberry powder product was within my easy reach at last!

Strawberry Nesquik (click here for bigger, more detailed photo)

I felt grateful. Thanks, guys!
 
3-Cheese Blend (1CT-1NC-4YG):
Prepare ahead of time 32 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from two 32-ounce containers (that's 64 ounces altogether) of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 32 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 8 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Crust:
2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

Batter:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Nestlé Strawberry Nesquik drink mix (the same amount of mix that would be needed as if to make 1 quart of the drink itself)
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (5 tablespoons altogether) arrowroot
5 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil at this point. Carefully pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 105 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then shut off oven and cool cheesecake down while still in it (and in tub), with door slightly ajar, for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 105 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 6

As expected, the batter turned out to be nicely firm. And this cheesecake fared alright at Living Hope Church.

But where was the strawberry? I could hardly taste it! How did I decide to use 1/2 cup of strawberry Nesquik in the first place?

I made that determination based on the amount of drink mix that would have been needed to make 1 quart of the drink itself. So how did I come up with this 1-quart rule? It was derived from Prototype 7 of my cherry cheesecakes. The amount of cherry Kool-Aid mix that I used there (7/16 cup in that case) was what would have been needed for a quart of the prepared Kool-Aid, and I used this same amount of that mix for what turned out to be a successfully-tasting cherry cheesecake.

Could it be that, for beverage purposes, proportionally less Nesquik was needed, relative to Kool-Aid, perhaps because of milk—which Nesquik was meant for—being a substantially better flavor carrier than water—which Kool-Aid was meant for? In that case, perhaps less than 7/16 cup of Kool-Aid would be needed if this water-enhancing mix were to be combined with milk rather than water—and more than 1/2 cup of Nesquik would be needed if this milk-enhancing mix were to be combined with water rather than milk.

Anyway, more Nesquik would be needed in the next strawberry prototype. But how much??
 
Baked Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 7:
 
Okay, this is it—crank up that strawberry Nesquik twofold! However, I got somewhat concerned about this leading to too much overall sweetness, so I decided to also reduce the granulated sugar a little bit in order to compensate.
 
Repeat Prototype 6, but make these changes for the batter:
Boost Nestlé Strawberry Nesquik drink mix by 1/2 cup, to 1 full cup (this revised amount of mix being what would be needed as if to make 2 quarts of the drink itself).
Reduce granulated sugar by 1/8 cup (2 tablespoons), to 7/8 cup.

Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 7

I felt that the amount of strawberry flavor for this prototype's batter was just about right (I had some concern beforehand about boosting the Nesquik too much, and that caused me to consider using only about 3/4 of a cup—so I was glad that I ended up going with one full cup instead).

However, I started to feel that the crust's cinnamon flavor was somewhat too strong. What led to this was that, in order to simplify things, I had chosen not very long ago to use a standard, plain-cheesecake-oriented formulation for the crust (Prototype 15 of my plain cheesecakes being a noteworthy example) in many of my non-chocolate-related cheesecake flavors. But with this strawberry prototype, I reconsidered and reasoned that such an approach wasn't always a good idea. That would be (hopefully!) okay for plain and perhaps some other flavors of cheesecake—but not for strawberry.

Anyway, this cheesecake was almost completely gone—only a very small sliver was left—likely with 15 minutes at Living Hope Church (noticeably better than the previous prototype in this flavor). I ultimately finished off that remaining sliver.
 

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