Strawberry Basil Cheesecake

If you want to squeeze in just one more strawberry dessert before the summer ends, this is the one to make!  Or if you want to save a bit of summer for when the winter blues hit, then this one will be your creamy, sweet sunshine as cheesecakes freeze and defrost easily without harm to taste or texture.  Even the strawberry basil sauce will freeze perfectly.

Pretty much everything I make starts with an inspiration, a desire, a dream (yes, I dream about food, don’t you?) or, as in this case, someone dropping by with 2 quarts of strawberries.  I’ve already made strawberry biscotti  and starting thinking about all of you canners out there, but I’m just not there yet, except for small batches that I can use up during the week.

So with that thought in mind and a big basil plant outside my front door, making a strawberry basil sauce to top a fresh strawberry cheesecake seemed like a good idea!  Thinking of a way to incorporate basil into the cheesecake without flecks of green running through it, I decided to add some fresh basil into the graham cracker crust.  Honestly, the basil swirling away in the food processor released the most amazing fragrance.

This cheesecake had a very light, creamy texture, perfect for the brunch I served it at.  I used 24 oz of cream cheese, while some of the heavier cheesecakes I’ve made used 2 lbs of cream cheese.  The basil adds a subtle flavor complimenting the sweet strawberries and refreshing taste from the lime juice.

To freeze a cheesecake, it is best done without a topping.  After the cheesecake is completely cooled, removed the sides, leaving the bottom of the pan.  Freeze the cheesecake for about an hour.  Take it out of the freezer and remove the bottom of the cheesecake pan.  Wrap the cheesecake first in plastic wrap and then tightly in foil.  If you’re like me that makes several ahead of time, remember to label the cheesecake!   Cheesecakes can be frozen up to 2 months (I’ve had them frozen up to 3 without a problem).  Sliced cheesecake can be frozen and removed for individual servings.   To defrost, remove the wrapping, place on a cake plate and allow to thaw in the refrigerate about 10 hours.

Strawberry Basil Cheesecake

For the crust:

1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 cup lightly packed fresh basil

1/4 cup butter, melted

For the filling:

24 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (I use full fat or will mix it up between low fat and full, never fat free!)

3/4 cup sugar

5 teaspoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

1/4 cup Bacardi Razz raspberry rum or white

3 tablespoons lime juice

1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place a pan of water on the lower rack (this will produce a moist environment to prevent cracking).

For the crust: In a food processor, combine the graham crackers, sugar and basil.  Process into a fine crumb.  Add in the melted butter until combined.  Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and sides of a 9 inch springform pan.  Set aside.

For the filling:  In a large stand up mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar and cornstarch.  Beat until smooth.  Add in the eggs and yolk, one at a time, beating well.  Beat in the rum and lime juice.  Gently stir in the sliced strawberries.  Pour the filling into the crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.  Lower to 225 degrees and continue to bake for about 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the center is no longer looks wet but will still have a slight jiggly.  (Cheesecakes will firm up as it cools.)  Remove from the oven to a cooling rack and immediately run a knife around the sides.  This will loosen the cake so that as it cools and shrinks it will not crack.  Though it is normal for cheesecakes to crack, mine did not and I do believe it’s due to the pan of water on the bottom rack.

Release the sides of the pan and chill uncovered overnight.  Serve with strawberry basil sauce, recipe below.

For the strawberry basil sauce:  In a medium saucepan, combine 2 cups of hulled strawberries, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice and 2 tablespoons Bacardi Razz raspberry rum.  Bring to a boil stirring and gently crushing the strawberries.  Continue to cook over medium heat until desired consistency, about 15-20 minutes, stirring often.  Turn off the heat and stir in about 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil.  Cool and refrigerate or freeze.



40 thoughts on “Strawberry Basil Cheesecake

  1. I love the flavors that you incorporated in this cheesecake…strawberry and basil and rum…I so wish I could have a slice of this cheesecake, maybe two since it is a light cheesecake 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you are having a wonderful week Linda!

    1. I noticed that no matter how full my guests are after a dinner, when cheesecake is pulled out, they are happy to be offered a slice! Thanks for your kind comments, Juliana!

  2. How fantastic that i can freeze this, what an excellent idea.. I have not made a cheese cake in ages, best i start getting everything together, first I have to make the cream cheese! c

  3. So much to like about this cheesecake, Linda. Adding the basil to the graham cracker crust is a completely new idea for me. (By the way, thanks for saying how many “sleeves” of graham crackers and not cups. I never crumble enough or have too many.) And your strawberry sauce would be just as good served atop pancakes, ice cream, and just about any dessert that needs topping. Your freezer tipes are certainly welcome. As much as I love cheesecakes, I rarely make them unless I’m having company — and then I give most of it away. Not anymore! That’s right. I’ll make a cheesecake and keep it all for myself. Yay!

    1. Oh, I so agree, it drives me crazy when recipes only refer to how many cups of crumbs! I guess you can buy graham cracker crumbs already in crumb form…but they cost more and I always doubt thats the freshest way to go! I’ve had alot of extra crumbs trying to figure it out too!! You’re right about the sauce and if I was a canner…like you :), I ‘d love to make several jars! It truly tastes amazing especially if you’re a basil lover!

  4. Oh this cheesecake makes me dance and sing. I just wish I had a slice. I think adding fresh herbs to baked goods is such a great way to add complexity. And LIME?…RUM? Heck yes! You area a genius!

  5. What an inspiring dish Linda! It sounds so delicious. I never would have thought about basil in a cheesecake before – I love it! I will definitely have to make this. Mr. N and I would be in heaven. 🙂

    1. Honestly, I’ve not put any herbs into a sweet cheesecake before, but I’ve seen and added in herbs to other sweet desserts, so I thought I’d give it a try and it worked out really good. Now that I’m thinking about it, how did I not think of herbs in a biscotti?? 🙂

  6. Meanwhile…we are just coming in to strawberry season. The priced has dropped just this week from $5.00/punnet to $2.00/punnet. What a great looking cheesecake and yes, strawberries and cheesecake go so very well xx

    1. Oh good for you!!! I forget about all the different growing seasons! That’s a terrific drop in price too. I could pretty much get year round great tasting strawberries in Florida. I have to keep more seasonally where I living now.

    1. I’m forever jotting down ideas! I have a pad by my bed, tiny notebooks in my purse, with my phone I’ll snap a photo of inspiration! I think all food lovers can relate at least a little bit with my obsessiveness!

    1. Even tho cheesecakes are long baking with a hot oven on during the summer, they also are such a great dessert being chilled…and “cool” as I’m assuming you meant by that word 🙂 On the other hand, cheesecakes are a “cool” dessert no matter what the current trends are!

  7. Loving the addition of basil Linda – bet it made for a fantastic flavour. Cheesecake is my all time favourite dessert so I’d be in heaven with this. You sure do a better job with your cheesecakes than me – mine always end up looking a bit crumpled on top! 🙂

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