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Dessert Recipe

Vanilla Cheesecake with Tomato, Strawberry & Basil

Ashley Alexander

Vanilla Cheesecake with Tomato, Strawberry & Basil

Ashley Alexander

Serves Large 10-inch cake


Cheesecake Base

11⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄3 cup granulated sugar
2⁄3 cup cold salted butter, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract

Cheesecake Filling

Five 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
2 tbs vanilla bean paste or extract
11⁄4 cups granulated sugar
5 large eggs + 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sour cream

Sweet Tomato, Strawberry & Basil ‘Jam’

2 cups ripe tomatoes of your choice, roughly chopped
2 cups ripe strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 large fresh basil leaves


To make the jam:

Blend the tomatoes and strawberries in a blender until smooth.
Pour into a medium saucepan, add the granulated sugar, vanilla, and basil leaves and bring to a simmer. Simmer on low to medium heat for roughly 45-60 minutes, until thick and syrupy.

Set aside to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This can be made up to a week ahead of time and kept in the fridge until ready to use.
To make the base:
Preheat your oven to 180°C/350°F (use convection, if you have it).
Line the bottom and sides of a 10-inch round springform cake pan with parchment paper, set aside.

In a medium bowl add the flour, sugar, chopped butter, and vanilla.
Using your fingertips, rub the butter into the flour and sugar mixture until all of the butter is incorporated. Press the mixture down very firmly into the lined cake pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Once the cake pan and base have completely cooled, wrap the bottom and sides of the cake pan with a few layers of aluminum foil. We will be baking the cake in a water bath so make sure the foil reaches the top of the pan and there are enough layers of foil so no water can seep through. The water bath helps to keep the cheesecake moist and creamy.

To make the filling:

In a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and sugar and beat until smooth again.

Add the eggs and yolks one at a time, beating after each addition.
Add the sour cream and beat gently until just combined.

Pour the filling mixture into the prepared cake pan (wrapped in foil) over the cooled base. Dollop about 1⁄2 cup of the Sweet Tomato, Strawberry & Basil ‘Jam’ on top of the filling and gently swirl it using a knife or skewer.

Place the foil-wrapped cake pan into a large roasting and place it on the oven rack. Gently pour boiling water into the pan until it reaches roughly halfway up the cake pan. Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes until the cheesecake doesn't jiggle when slightly shaken and it starts to rise at the edges.

Once the cake is cooked turn the oven off and leave the cake in the oven with the door closed for 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and from the water bath. Place it on a wire rack.

Run a knife around the edge of the cake to separate it from the parchment paper. This will help to prevent cracks as it cools.
Once cool, place it into the fridge to set overnight.

To assemble:

Remove the cake from the pan and place it onto a serving plate.
Serve as it is or top with whipped cream, dollops of the remaining Sweet Tomato, Strawberry & Basil ‘Jam’ and some roasted cherry tomatoes.

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