This desert is rich, and I view it more as a “company” desert, rather than an everyday, family desert.  The  best part is that you can make it way ahead of your serving date.

1 1/2 cups (155 grams) finely ground graham cracker crumbs (from about 10 crackers)
3 tablespoons (40 grams) granulated sugar
2 pinches sea salt
7 tablespoons (100 grams) unsalted butter, melted

Cheesecake filling
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room room temperature
1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped cream topping
1 cup heavy or whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Strawberry sauce
1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved
2 tablespoons sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons water

Make crust: Heat oven to 350°F. Combine graham crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add butter and stir until crumbs are evenly coated. Spray standard 9-inch pie plate with cooking oil.  Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish.   Bake crust until lightly browned, about 9 to 10 minutes. Set on cooling rack to cool completely. Once cool, you can even transfer it to the freezer to get it started on the chilling process.

Make cheesecake filling: Beat cream cheese until soft and fluffy, then slowly beat in condensed milk until smooth. Beat in zest and vanilla.  Pour into cooled crust and freeze for 6 hours until firm.

Make whipped cream topping: Whip cream with sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread the whipped cream over the frozen filling and return to the freezer until firm, usually less than an hour.

Make strawberry topping: Combine strawberries, sugar, lemon, cornstarch and water in a medium, heavy saucepan. Let macerate for 15 to 20 minutes, then cook over medium-low heat to a simmer, stirring. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more, then remove from heat and set pan in an ice bath until strawberries are cool.   Chill strawberry sauce in fridge until needed.

To serve:  Take a paring knife and actually slide it into the outer inch of the pie.  It will be hard.  Give it a push and the whole pie should pop out.  Set the pie on a cutting board.  Using a long knife, cut the pie into wedges and place them back into the pie plate.  Top pie slices with strawberry mixture when serving.


Barely adapted from Smitten Kitchen

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