I’ve perfected the cheesecake cup.  (Applause).   I’m all about taking advantage of how amazing the strawberries are this year.  So off I was to the farmer’s market to pick up three huge baskets.  Truth be told, I had no idea what I was going to do with them just yet.   But, it was Mother’s Day that weekend, and I knew I would figure it out by then.    On Friday, someone brought in a huge cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory at work and a light bulb when off.  What’s  better than a Strawberry Strawberry Cheesecake?  And…I’m soooooooooo glad that I did, because these things were absolutely delicious!  They were definitely a huge hit and everyone raved about them.  The strawberry syrup really adds a lightness to the cheesecake.  There’s no mistaking, this dessert is bound to impress anyone and everyone.  I can’t wait to make these again.  I wish I had set some aside for myself, but I was so worried about having enough for everyone, I packed each and every single one.  I guess that’s a good thing, considering I’ve been so busy that I’ve made no time for the gym.  Back to the dessert…

The strawberries are fantastic!  The flavor really comes through in this dessert–from the strawberries in the batter, the dollop of strawberry cream cheese frosting, and even the strawberry itself on top.  Come to think of it, this isn’t a double strawberry cheesecake , it’s a triple!  With strawberries at their peak, how can you not showcase them?  I was actually a tad worried that people would be put off by the additional layer of frosting on the cheesecake.  You can’t imagine my surprise when some mentioned they wished there were more of it.

Well, I really hope that you guys get the chance to make these while this dish.  Making it for a gathering? Spruce it up with some Oreo crumbs and you’ve got yourself a jaw dropping crowd pleaser.

Double Strawberry Cheesecake Cups

Makes approximately 26 cups (or one whole cheesecake)

For the strawberry puree:
1 1/2  baskets of fresh strawberries (approx. 12 oz)
2 tbsp. sugar
Freshly squeezed lemon juice from 1/2 lemon

Graham Cracker Crust:
8 oz package of graham crackers (1/2 of a standard box of graham crackers)
3 tbsp. sugar
4 tbsp. melted unsalted butter

Cheesecake filling:
16 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup vanilla sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. salt
12 oz. sour cream, at room temperature
1 cup strawberry puree

Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cupof unsalted butter, room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 powdered sugar, sifted

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 cup strawberry puree

To prepare the strawberry puree, hull and slice the strawberries.  Toss the berries with the 2 tablespoons of sugar and set in the strainer placed over a bowl.  Let the mixture sit for 1-2 hours to extract the juices.  After than time frame, take a spatula and press down on the berries to expel as much juice as possible.   Transfer the juice to a small sauce pan over medium-high heat and simmer until liquid reduces to about 3 0z.   Remove from heat.  Take strawberry sauce, lemon juice, and strawberries and throw into a blender.  Blend until smooth.

To prepare the graham cracker crust, preheat the oven to 350˚F.  Place the crackers and sugar into a food processor and pulse.  When mixture is finely ground, add in the melted butter and pulse until the mixture is evenly combined.  Mixture should be damp to the touch.   Take a cupcake tray and prepare with liners. Add 1 tablespoon of crumbs to each cupcake.  Pack the crumbs down and bake for 6-8 minutes, or until golden brown.  Set aside to cool.  (Word to wise–keep an eye on the crust.  My oven gets quite hot, and I always have to keep a watchful eye on everything.  You only want the crust to be golden.  Once cooled, it should harden.  If not, you didn’t bake them long enough the first time)

To make the cheesecake filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, until smooth.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Blend in the vanilla and salt.  Mix in the sour cream until well incorporated.  Blend in the strawberry puree (I know you I shouldn’t do this bc of the raw eggs, but I do a quick taste test to see if I’m happy with the amount of strawberry.).  Fill cups with 3/4 of the way up and place in oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes–just until the cheesecake is set.  Edges will be firm to the touch, but the center will still be slightly jiggly.

Allow to sit in tray for a few minutes.  Using a large spoon (or if you have any handling room, pick up the cheesecake using the liner), remove from the tray and transfer to a wire cooling rack.  Once cool, place cheesecakes in refrigerator.  Cheesecake cups will be ready to eat in 4 hours (but best overnight).

To prepare strawberry cream cheese frosting, beat the cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy, about 5 minutes.  Add powdered sugar and mix until smooth.  Add lemon juice, vanilla and strawberry puree.  Adjust the amount of puree to achieve your desired consistency and preference. I make this frosting a tad thinner than I would with anything I’d frost a cupcake with.  That being said, I don’t mind using more strawberry puree in the frosting.

When ready to serve, pipe on some frosting and garnish with strawberries and even Oreo crumbs.