Baked Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 8:
This one gets a major 2019 update—and a couple of notable experiments—addition of red food coloring and subtraction of cinnamon.

Back in Prototype 7, I felt that too much cinnamon was being used in the crust. Why was I using so much of this spice in the first place? It was probably because I had a major quest to make sure that the crust was very tasty. But back then, I was using somewhat less sweetener (brown sugar in particular) as well. But at some point, I got that up to 1/4 cup each for brown sugar and granulated sugar, at least for my plain cheesecakes. But I also likely felt that the cinnamon taste in a crust went better with those cheesecakes than with many other flavors, particularly strawberry. In light of this, I considered cutting back on the cinnamon here—but by how much??

I ultimately decided to fully leave out this spice for this particular prototype. If I found that the crust was too bland, I could always add back some of the cinnamon (perhaps about 1/2 teaspoon?) in the next strawberry prototype. I simply did not want the cinnamon to overwhelm the strawberry. Another cheesecake that led to my slashing the cinnamon here was my very first Neapolitan prototype.

It was that Neapolitan cheesecake's strawberry layer's loss of a reddish/pink appearance, after baking, that moved me to do something rather unusual for my cheesecakes: Give food coloring a try. But I was more interested in obtaining a decent, light red look in the strawberry layer of a Neapolitan cheesecake than in a strawberry-only (single-flavored) one. This was probably due to the colors of Neapolitan mattering much more to me than colors of nearly any other flavor, including solo strawberry itself. In fact, the pink presence in the Neapolitan meant so much to me that I became willing to settle for artificial (red #40) food coloring—a notable departure from my normally-natural efforts!

With that in mind, I felt that I would carry out a red food coloring experiment on this strictly strawberry cheesecake, in order to get a good idea of how much of this coloring would ultimately be needed to get the amount of red tint that I desired. If I was happy with the result, I would make plans to proportionally utilize the red coloring for the strawberry portion of a future Neapolitan prototype.
3-Cheese Blend (3CT-1NC-2YG): Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 24 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

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).

2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
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.

7/8 cup granulated sugar
1 cup Nestlé Strawberry Nesquik drink mix (the same amount of mix that would be needed as if to make 2 quarts of the drink itself)
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
6 eggs
Optional: 3/8 teaspoon heat-resistant red food coloring (see comments above)

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 80 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 two hours, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Strawberry Cheesecake—Prototype 8

Now that's one nice-looking, reddish, strawberry cheesecake! The batter's flavor was very delicious. The cinnamon-free crust had a fairly-plain, sweet taste to it. Its texture, however, seemed to be too mushy (looks like this has been going on with plain-style crusts in many other varieties of my cheesecakes). Perhaps the pre-bake time for the crust warranted much more than 10 minutes.

I made this one in 2019 for The Home Depot 4th of July cookout, a periodic barbecue at my workplace, where it was well-received.

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