Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert with Special Crust

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Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipeRetro Recipe Revamped:
Strawberry Pretzel Salad Made the All-Natural Way

Finally! A summertime favorite gets a revamp—the all-natural way. And, with gluten-free options. Two weeks ago, The Big Lug requested that I make this dessert for our Labor Day celebration and I was reminded to make it to feature here on the blog. Summer isn’t over yet. And, I am a rebel. There are plenty of other blogs featuring apple and pumpkin recipes, but I am holding onto summer goodness these last couple weeks while anticipating glorious fall—my favorite time of year. How about you? Isn’t anticipation half the fun? I think so.

The other week, I had promised you more summer goodness from Wicked Good Kitchen. Please accept my sincere apologies for not posting this recipe, a summertime favorite of ours, before the Labor Day holiday weekend for you all to enjoy. In fact, the plan was to feature this recipe last Friday as part of the rotating feature, Feature Fridays.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Some Personal Stuff: Never Enough Hours in the Day

Last week, didn’t start well. At all. On Monday, I received problematic news via Pinterest. This news took up most of my Monday and Tuesday as did working with my blog designer. Speaking of my blog designer…she rocks. Notice the mouse-over PinIt button on the images? She added that widget as well as the Follow Me at Pinterest button at the top of my posts and new social media sharing buttons at the bottom. More about the Pinterest thing in a moment. So, my workweek didn’t start until Wednesday. Because we had been busy celebrating my birthday during the last full weekend of August the weekend prior, I started my blogging week off a bit behind—which never feels good.

By Friday, we had to take our girl kitty to the vet specialist in ophthalmology for her “cherry eye” problem to consult about surgical correction. (Good news: The doc agrees that we need to keep a watchful eye on our baby girl’s eyelids checking for prolapsing and his surgical fee, should surgery be necessary, is much less than estimated by our general vet. Whew.) This meant I only had Wednesday and Thursday to test and retest this recipe with several options for you—that is, three (3) crust options and two (2) topping options along with gluten-free options. (Again, whew.)

Meanwhile, The Big Lug and I had plans for a long four-day Labor Day weekend and he talked me into taking time off from the blog. I really should have listened to him and posted on Monday of last week that I was on vacation following the Pinterest thing which threw off my schedule due to seeking legal counsel. Did I listen to hubby? No, I pressed on hoping I could get all the work done, including all those step-by-step photos edited, by Friday. Although, I felt that I really should not schedule myself a vacation because I am taking two weeks off for an “educational leave” starting this Monday. Honestly, I wish I could clone myself and delegate some of this workload. Ha! I bet many a food blogger feels the same. We need an army to do all that we do!

In my last post, I had promised three (3) recipes to be forthcoming; something peachy as well as a sweet and a savory dish. Well, life happens and we get derailed from our original plans with regard to blogging. One important thing I’ve learned is that I should not promise something is forthcoming until my work is a wrap. And, I mean a complete and total wrap—even if something is near, what they say in my husband’s line of work, “substantial completion”. That said, I truly believe in quality over quantity for my blog posts with recipe options that have been thoroughly tested along with helpful tips and options for special diets. Oh! And, I still have that awesome summer recipe roundup post for you as well. Again, I am a rebel and I don’t care if my post is published after Labor Day. It is still summer! So, I am aiming for Friday or Saturday for that as I just have the image work to complete. The savory post is coming tomorrow, on time for the kickoff of the NFL season, and will include a cookbook review. The peachy thing? I’m banking it for next year perhaps. We’ll see.

In all honesty, August has been a rough month for Wicked Good Kitchen as I had been trying to squeeze in some personal time with The Big Lug to celebrate my birthday. (Remember? We’re weird and celebrate our birthdays all month long. His birthday was in July and we were still celebrating his, too!) Several things have happened that have kept me out of the kitchen—incidentally, one related to blogging. There is a very negative side to blogging which we all face as bloggers and I am only happy to address them here in support of other bloggers—which I wholeheartedly enjoy doing. I consider it a privilege to do so.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Some Blogging Stuff: Lessons Learned

What happened to me in early August should never happen to you. But, unfortunately, these things do happen because there are some nasty people in the world. Evil truly does lurk in the heart of man. Thank goodness, not the majority of man. I am talking about theft—specifically, theft of one’s intellectual property by someone or some entity profiting from it. Nasty. Pure and simple, it’s just nasty. Since it was the first occurrence for me, it will probably be the most difficult event, on an emotional level, with regard to copyright infringement I will ever face. The first time cuts like a knife. But, it is time to grow some thick skin and persevere whilst allowing the law of the land to reign supreme. I believe recipes should be shared. However, copyrighted images or recipes are not meant for stealing and profiting from.

If you’re interested, you need only click here on the blog to read about what transpired (at Pinterest after I reported a spammer) via the comments I received from fellow Pinterest users and my replies. Simply scroll down to read them. Meanwhile, at the time of this writing, the spammer is still a Pinterest user. Not cool, Pinterest.

What I’ve learned about blogging is a lot. In fact, I started writing a post about it over last Memorial Day weekend, What I’ve Learned During My First Six Months of Food Blogging, which I hope to share with you this September. In this post of helpful information for new food bloggers, I will also be addressing what transpired between me and another food blogger when she sent me an email in early August when I dropped what I was doing to respond immediately. You will probably be surprised at what I have to say. Nonetheless, I will share my opinion with you. To help form my opinion, I looked to what I have learned from the rabbinical world. Let’s just say this: If you wish to remain friends, or stay married (well, essentially, have an enriching relationship with anyone—even a boss or mentor), I have sage advice for you about keeping that relationship going strong. So, stay tuned for that to come soon.

See? I didn’t promise an exact date. And, as I stated above, I hope to share it with you this September. I’m learning. In fact, this past spring, I worked on a 6-part cookie tutorial, Drop Cookies 101, which I had wanted to post right away and stated it was forthcoming via Twitter. (You can check my Flickr stream here, here, here, here, here and here for some of the images.) This series includes the drop cookies tutorial itself, two (2) cookie recipes and two (2) additional mini tutorials as well as a cookie cookbook review. Do you see that Resources link up in my top menu bar? It is my goal to fill that page with links to all of my tutorials to date along with other helpful information as well as future tutorials.

However, I decided to delay these posts because when I was reviewing the type of parchment paper I once used to line my baking sheets for the parchment paper section of the tutorial, I learned something not so pleasant. Upon my additional research, I learned that Quilon coating, used to coat the commercial parchment paper that I once used, and which commercial bakeries use, is not good for us. Needless to say, I changed brands of parchment paper and went with Beyond Gourmet™ Unbleached Parchment Paper (shown below) available at Whole Foods Market®. Then, I started reading more about something many of us use every day in our baking—silicone.

Beyond Gourmet Baking Parchment Paper

Many of us use silicone baking mats, silicone baking vessels as well as silicone coated baking parchment or parchment paper. At that time, I concluded that more research was necessary in order to write a thorough and informative article. The good news is, editorially, the tutorials are well suited for fall with “back-to-school” and “back-to-basics” in the forefront of our minds for September or October posts. I hope you will drop by for the Drop Cookies 101 tutorial as it is packed with good information to ensure baking success…just for you!

Also, at the time I was working on the Drop Cookies 101 tutorial series, Easter was fast approaching and I had planned on developing two (2) special carrot cakes—both were for dedications; Carrot Cake Cheesecake Cake and Paleo Carrot Spice Layer Cake which is a cutting-edge grain-free recipe. As always, I have been a strong supporter of the gluten-free and grain-free communities and I was driven to successfully create a grain-free carrot cake that required not only testing, but further retesting to ensure the recipe could be replicated by others in their own kitchens. The problem? Easter was incredibly early this year! Therefore, I had to literally drop the Drop Cookies 101 tutorial, and the further research, in order to squeeze into my schedule and complete the work for the carrot cake recipe posts.

This delay and change in plans for the Drop Cookies 101 tutorial proved to be well worth it because the grain-free carrot cake recipe I developed has been very popular as an incredibly tasty treat for those living the paleo lifestyle or with dietary restrictions such as food allergies. In fact, Sylvie, of Gourmande in the Kitchen, featured the cake in her Mother’s Day Recipe Round Up guest post for Paleo Parents. And, Crystal, a natural chef and nutrition educator, over at Zen Eats, will be using the recipe to create her wedding cake! She shares her “one-and-done” (as she calls it) kitchen baking trial in her post, Allergy-Friendly Wedding Cake Trial! And It’s Carrot Cake! This type of work, grain-free baking and recipe development, is very rewarding. It is my passion and I truly feel honored in both of these instances where my work has been featured and will even be used to create someone’s wedding cake for their special day. I love my job.

Adding to the “crunch time” with my schedule last spring, I had been sick with the flu in early March after posting my recipe for Ultimate Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies in late February, another cutting-edge grain-free baking recipe but one that came together in a single recipe test. (I wish all recipe tests worked that quickly and easily!) I was sick and knocked on my bum for an entire week. But, I had my Oatmeal Raisin Spice Cookies and hot tea to help me through as well as catching up with Downton Abbey. Yes, Downton and scrumptious old-fashioned and chewy-crunchy oatmeal cookies went together like peanut butter and jelly. But, another lesson learned. When you start a food blog, anticipate perhaps being down during flu season and have a few recipe or non-recipe posts prepared for backup. Okay, enough about blogging stuff.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert: An All-Natural Twist on the Classic

Now, let’s talk about this Strawberry Pretzel Salad situation and how this retro recipe was revamped. Shall we?

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert is what I call this fun strawberry dessert in our house—at least my version. It has been a summer favorite of The Big Lug’s ever since we enjoyed it when his Aunt Felicia made it for his cousin’s high school graduation party in the summer of 1988. In fact, she made it for every subsequent family reunion picnic and Christmas Eve celebration and I have been looking forward to sharing my version with you since even before I started the blog but was working toward the goal of launching it. However, as you know, tart cherry mania sort of took over the blog this summer. Since I missed out on my beloved tart cherries last summer, and all summer berry goodness during my illness, I simply couldn’t resist!

This popular recipe, Strawberry Pretzel Salad, just begs for a remake, doesn’t it? In fact, Barb, of Creative Culinary, shared her revamped version, Strawberry Pretzel Dessert. Barb’s recipe is nifty because she calls for balsamic vinegar (optional) in the glaze that both enhances and lightly sweetens the flavor of the fresh strawberries.

Yammie’s Noshery created a Strawberry Pretzel Tart, shaping the pretzel crumb crust into a tart pan and using a strawberry pie glaze to top it off. Also, the very talented Nikki, of Chef in Training, shared her adaptation of this classic dessert last year, Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad. And, Alyssa, of The Recipe Critic, recently shared her Strawberry Pretzel Salad this summer—which, incidentally, just happens to be a very popular pin over at Pinterest here.

Also, Paula Deen has her own version, Strawberry Pretzel Salad, which incorporates crushed pineapple and Bobby Deen has his lighter version, Bobby’s Lighter Strawberry Pretzel Salad.

When Barb posted her recipe back in early June, I shared with her the story of how we first encountered “Strawberry Pretzel Jell-O Salad” in my comment below her post. Below, I share the excerpt and her reply.

 

Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen
June 3, 2013 at 2:45 pm

Oh my, Lord! B, have been working on the same idea…riffing on that old classic, Strawberry Pretzel Salad, albeit sans pretzels (as they are processed). Hubby’s little cousin graduated from high school in 1988 and this salad was in full swing! His Aunt Felicia made the salad for his graduation party that summer. And, every summer family picnic and Christmas after that she made it as well! (Hahaha!) This Jello “salad” was all the rage and even made it into every bridal cookbook I put together for brides…they all loved it THAT much. But! My culinary self never liked Cool Whip either. (My mother and grandmother only used real heavy whipping cream.) When the Atkins craze hit (circa 1999), all the low carbers were making what we call “Cheesecake Mousse” for dessert, with fresh berries, using cream cheese and heavy whipping cream. Back when the craze started, they used Splenda for sweetening. I’ve made the 9×13 dish the same way as you have (Strawberry Glaze and all, inspired by a recipe at AllRecipes.com) and using a graham cracker crust for hubby since he loves that crust with this dessert. But, I’m revamping it with a twist. LOVE that we are on the same wavelength and experienced that same craze (even though we didn’t like Cool Whip or Jello!). LOL! Great recipe redo, B! xoxo

Creative Culinary
June 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Seriously? I thought it was lost for the ages! Can’t wait until I see your ‘riff’ Stacy; this was a big uptake. Huge even; we all loved it.

 

Vintage Recipe Spotlight

Nope. Not lost for the ages, Barb. In fact, this Strawberry Pretzel Salad has been prolific throughout the land since it first hit back in the late 1980s. In fact, hubby’s aunt got the recipe from the De La Salle Collegiate High School Cookbook. Below is her recipe.

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

2 cups pretzels, crushed
3/4 cup melted margarine
3 tablespoons sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 medium Cool Whip
1 large package Strawberry Jell-O
2 cups boiling water
2 (10-ounce) packages frozen strawberries, sliced

Mix together first 3 ingredients and spread into 9×13-inch dish. Bake at 400 degrees F. for 8 minutes; cool. Beat together cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar. Stir in Cool Whip and spread on cooled pretzel crust. Dissolve Jell-O into boiling water. Stir in strawberries and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour on top of cheese mixture and chill.

And, yep. Just as I stated above to Barb, my Mom and Grandma Gigi always used and emphatically insisted on real heavy whipping cream versus Cool Whip. In fact, below is a photo of me and my uncle, on Christmas Eve, merrily licking the freshly made whipping cream from granny’s old KitchenAid bowl…using our fingers!

stacy_uncle_xmas

Well, as it turns out, an original recipe comes from the folks over at Kraft Foods as well and they do refer to it as a “classic” here, Strawberry Pretzel Squares, by stating, “This classic summer dessert features a crunchy pretzel crust, a creamy center and a fresh strawberry and JELL-O Strawberry Flavor Gelatin topping.” This recipe has 700+ 5-star reviews! We Americans love this quintessential summer picnic dessert.

They even made over the recipe with fewer calories. Check it: Strawberry-Pretzel Squares Made Over. Yes, the recipe was popular enough that Kraft Foods even remade their own popular dessert!

Now, about my “riffing” on this dessert as I mentioned in my comment to Barb. Let’s break the components down.

The Cheesecake Mousse Filling

First, let’s talk about the filling I have been making for years. The filling recipe was adapted from the original but using plenty of cream cheese (3 packages) and heavy whipping cream instead of Cool Whip to create a nice thick layer of filling. I added lemon juice to provide the tangy taste cheesecake has and, when I made my low carb version, I would use all-natural crystalline (granular) fructose in the equivalent of granulated sugar since it is low glycemic. (I was never a fan of Splenda.) The cream cheese and heavy whipping cream are whipped together to create a “cheesecake mousse” which, by the way, is excellent for making berry parfaits and trifles.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

The Crust Options

Second, let’s talk crunchy crust. Since The Big Lug prefers a graham cracker crumb crust rather than the classic pretzel crust for this strawberry dessert, I have been making our version with a graham cracker crust since the beginning. Actually, I had only made it with a pretzel crust once when I brought it to a company picnic when I was dating The Big Lug. Ever since, the graham cracker crust ruled in our household. However, since I enjoy baking, shortbread cookies and everything almond flavored, I developed an almond shortbread crust that creates a sort of Strawberry Shortcake Cheesecake Dessert that is out-of-this-world divine. If you adore shortbread cookies and baked goods flavored with almond extract, you will love this crust!

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

The Shortbread Crust

As most of you know by now, my baking philosophy is all-natural whole foods baking. Since the original recipe calls for pretzels, a processed food, to create the crust, my idea was simply to create a home-baked crust without any harmful food additives and no worries of gmo foods. So, I created a scrumptious shortbread crust for y’all as an option. It’s a pretty nifty option as when you bake the shortbread crust, you first brush on egg white. Once baked, the egg white forms a film or barrier to protect your shortbread from becoming soggy from the moisture in the cheesecake filling. Cool, eh?

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

So, there you have it. Our Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert recipe provides three (3) options for your crust—even gluten-free versions!

The Glaze Options

Finally, let’s talk glaze and how my recipe evolved. For years, I would just make the topping from the original recipe using Strawberry Sugar-Free Jell-O thinking I was doing a good thing saving on calories. However, back in 2006, I was diagnosed as a pre-diabetic. Fearful of becoming an insulin dependent diabetic like many family members with declining health, I educated myself on the condition and the book, Diabetes Solution, by Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, changed my life. (Read: Major paradigm shift.) His book enlightened me on the food additive called maltodextrin. Let me tell you, this stuff is in nearly all prepackaged processed foods. Crazy-scary. And, I was horrified to find it in so-called “sugar-free” Jell-O.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

You see, maltodextrin is a sugar. It is, in fact, a hidden sugar. However, it is far worse than sugar because it clocks in between 105 to 150 on the glycemic index scale whereas regular table sugar comes in at about 65. Unsuspecting people ingest this sugar without knowing they are adversely affecting their health—especially pre-diabetics and diabetics. Therefore, my goal was to create an all-natural glaze similar to the glaze in Fresh Strawberry Pie. The very thought of Fresh Strawberry Pie reminds me of the pie I enjoyed during my childhood at Elias Brothers Big Boy restaurants back in my native Michigan. Any Michigan people out there who remember it? It was fabulous and they always served it with fresh whipped cream. Sublime. But, I digress.

At the time, I looked to tried and true recipes. As I mentioned to Barb, I found a strawberry glaze recipe at AllRecipes.com in the recipe for Strawberry Glazed Pie. What did I find? A strawberry-flavored glaze recipe calling for Strawberry Jell-O! The recipe had rave reviews, so I decided to “riff” on that glaze and created my own all-natural version using Knox® Unflavored Gelatine.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Now, I like to use tart cherry juice with a little thickening agent (my preference is tapioca starch versus cornstarch) and a little help from fresh lemon juice and red raspberry preserves for tartness, extra flavor and natural red “color pop”. When I want to use gelatin, to preserve the fruit topping for a day or two, I add unflavored gelatin and pour the topping over the strawberries and refrigerate until set. This is ideal when you want to bring the dessert to a picnic because juices in the strawberries release thus thinning regular glazes thickened with starches alone.

The cherry and raspberry combination in the glaze tastes unbelievably good with the fresh strawberries. I figure if Rose Levy Beranbaum can use cran/raspberry concentrate for her Glazed Strawberry Pie, I can surely use tart cherry juice, or sparkling cherry juice, with red raspberry preserves in mine. Ha! And, by the way, Rose is right. (Isn’t she always?) Fruit glazes prepared with a thickening agent, such as tapioca, as with our Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert, preserves the freshness of the fruit for up to two days. I have found this is true even more so when gelatin is added to the glaze.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Product Spotlight

Since The Big Lug prefers a buttery graham cracker crust, I felt that I should do some homework to save you the time and/or frustration from having to find healthier alternatives (read: organic, non-gmo, soy-free and made with healthy oils and natural sugars with no harmful food additives), for prepared pretzels and graham crackers. I am happy to report sheer victory! Lucky you, eh?

The Pretzels
For the pretzels, Newman’s Own® Organics The Second Generation® brand was the only brand I found at my local Whole Foods Market® that met all six (6) criteria by being organic, non-gmo, soy-free, made with healthy oils and natural sugars as well as no harmful food additives. The taste of the pretzels was terrific and they worked perfectly for the pretzel crust.

Ingredients You Can Trust:
Newman’s Own® Organics The Second Generation® Salted Pretzel Sticks, 8 oz. Bag
Organic Unbleached Wheat Flour, Organic Rye Flour, Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Barley Malt, Yeast, Salt and Soda.

Newman's Own Organics The Second Generation Salted Pretzel Sticks

The Graham Crackers
For the graham crackers, I needed to only look to Attune Foods®. However, I did my due diligence and compared different brands to find the best. In the end, it was indeed Erewhon® Honey Grahams by Attune Foods® that won out. Their tasty graham crackers met my stringent criteria. They are organic, non-gmo, soy-free, made with healthy oils and natural sugars as well as no harmful food additives. Perfect for a healthier graham cracker crumb crust for cheesecakes and other desserts!

Ingredients You Can Trust:
Erewhon® Honey Grahams by Attune Foods®, 14.4 oz. Box
Organic Wheat Flour, Organic Whole Wheat Graham Flour, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Vegetable Oils (Safflower or Sunflower), Organic Honey, Organic Molasses, Leavening (Baking Soda, Ammonium Bicarbonate), Sea Salt, Cream of Tartar.

Erewhon Honey Grahams by Attune Foods

What makes our Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert wicked good? A generous creamy, light and slightly tangy cheesecake mousse filling with an irresistible contrasting and all-natural crunchy crust—whether made from almond shortbread, graham cracker crumbs or pretzels to satisfy that salty-sweet craving. A fresh ruby-red strawberry topping with a cherry on top—a luscious, all-natural fruit glaze or gelatin topping. And, gluten-free options for crusts! What’s not to love?

Bon appétit!

xo,

spatsign

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Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert with Special Crust

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: Makes one large dessert; about 10 to 20 servings depending on portion sizes.

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert with Special Crust

What makes our Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert wicked good? A generous creamy, light and slightly tangy cheesecake mousse filling with an irresistible contrasting and all-natural crunchy crust—whether made from almond shortbread, graham cracker crumbs or pretzels to satisfy that salty-sweet craving. A fresh ruby-red strawberry topping with a cherry on top—a luscious, all-natural fruit glaze or gelatin topping. And, gluten-free options for crusts! What’s not to love?

Ingredients

  • For the Almond Shortbread Crust
  • 2 cups (230 grams) sifted all-purpose flour, such as Gold Medal®
  • 6 tablespoons (75 grams) organic granulated cane sugar
  • 10½ tablespoons (148 grams) salted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg, separated
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure almond extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®
  • 1 teaspoon (5ml) pure vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®
  • Shortening for greasing baking dish, such as Spectrum®
  • See Notes below for gluten-free option.
  • For the Graham Cracker Crust
  • 2 cups (192 grams/about 12-count) organic graham crackers, such as Erewhon® by Attune Foods®
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons (62 to 75 grams) organic granulated cane sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick or 113 grams) salted butter, melted & cooled
  • Shortening for greasing baking dish, such as Spectrum®
  • See Notes below for gluten-free option.
  • For the Salted Pretzel Crust
  • 2 cups (about 180 grams) coarse-fine crushed pretzels, such as Newman’s Own® Organics The Second Generation® Salted Pretzel Sticks
  • 3 tablespoons (38 grams) organic granulated cane sugar
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks or 170 grams) salted butter, melted
  • Shortening for greasing baking dish, such as Spectrum®
  • See Notes below for gluten-free option.
  • For the Cheesecake Mousse Filling
  • 3 (8-ounce/226-gram) packages chilled cream cheese, such as Philadelphia®
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (225 grams) organic granulated cane sugar
  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1½ teaspoons (7.5ml) pure vanilla extract, such as Nielsen-Massey®
  • 1 cup (½ pint/240ml) chilled heavy whipping cream
  • For the Glazed Strawberry Topping
  • 1 cup (240ml) organic tart cherry juice or sparking cherry juice
  • 1 tablespoon (15ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup (100 grams) organic granulated cane sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (16 grams) tapioca flour/starch, such as Bob’s Red Mill®
  • 2 tablespoons organic seedless red raspberry preserves
  • 2 pounds (32 ounces/908 grams/about 50-count) fresh strawberries, such as Driscoll’s®, sorted, rinsed, hulled & sliced or halved
  • For the Gelatin Strawberry Topping
  • 1 cup (240ml) organic tart cherry juice or sparkling cherry juice
  • 2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin, such as Knox® Unflavored Gelatine
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup (100 grams) organic granulated cane sugar
  • 1½ tablespoons (12 grams) tapioca flour/starch, such as Bob’s Red Mill®
  • 2 tablespoons organic seedless red raspberry preserves
  • 2 pounds (32 ounces/908 grams/about 50-count) fresh strawberries, such as Driscoll’s®, sorted, rinsed, hulled & sliced or halved
  • For the Optional Garnishes
  • Fresh whipped cream
  • Fresh small whole strawberries
  • Fresh mint sprigs

Directions

To Prepare the Almond Shortbread Crust: Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 9x13-inch baking dish with shortening on the bottom and ¼ inch up the sides and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour and sugar. In mixer, cream together butter, egg yolk and extracts. On low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture until just combined. Do not overmix.

With hands, press dough into bottom of prepared baking dish. Prick the crust several times with a fork to prevent the crust from puffing during baking. Brush the reserved egg white onto crust. This will create a seal for the crust and prevent it from becoming soggy once baked and filled. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

To Prepare the Graham Cracker Crust: Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 9x13-inch baking dish with shortening on the bottom and ¼ inch up the sides and set aside. Using a food processor, process crackers until fine (but, not powder fine like flour) and uniform in size.

Alternatively, place crackers in a sturdy plastic bag and place onto a cutting board. Crush the crackers by using a rolling pin. In a medium bowl, whisk together graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Add melted butter and mix with a fork until well combined. Press crumbs into bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned around edges, about 12 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

To Prepare the Salted Pretzel Crust: Arrange rack in lower third of oven and preheat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 9x13-inch baking dish with shortening on the bottom and ¼ inch up the sides and set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together crushed pretzels and sugar. Add melted butter and mix until well combined. Press crumbs into bottom of prepared baking dish. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack.

Prepare the Cheesecake Mousse Filling: Using an electric stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the chilled cream cheese until creamy. Add sugar, lemon juice and vanilla; beat until well combined and smooth scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add chilled heavy whipping cream. Blend on low speed (stir) until incorporated. Increase mixer speed to high (between 8 and 10 using KitchenAid stand mixer) and let ‘er rip. Beat at high speed until light and airy as well as thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Using rubber spatula, spread into cooled crust. Cover with plastic food wrap and chill until firm, several hours or overnight. Alternatively, place in freezer until firm, about 60 to 90 minutes.

To Prepare the Glazed Strawberry Topping: In a medium saucepan, combine tart cherry juice (or sparkling cherry juice) and lemon juice. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and tapioca until well blended. Add to saucepan with juice mixture; whisk to blend. Over medium heat, cook while whisking until mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook while whisking until mixture thickens and becomes clear, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately whisk in seedless red raspberry preserves or strained red raspberry preserves. Set aside to cool to completely.

To Prepare the Gelatin Strawberry Topping: In a medium saucepan, add ¼ cup (50ml) of the tart cherry juice (or sparkling cherry juice). Sprinkle gelatin over cherry juice and let stand until soft, about 1 minute. Place saucepan over medium-low heat and stir constantly until gelatin granules are completely dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside momentarily.

In a medium bowl, add the remaining cherry juice and lemon juice. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and tapioca until well blended. Add to bowl with cherry and lemon juice mixture; whisk to blend. Using a rubber spatula, scrape and pour mixture into saucepan with melted gelatin mixture and whisk until combined.

Return saucepan to stovetop. Over medium heat, cook while whisking until mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook while whisking until mixture thickens and becomes clear, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately whisk in seedless red raspberry preserves or strained red raspberry preserves. Set aside to cool to completely.

To Assemble Dessert with Glaze Topping: Combine strawberries and glaze in a large bowl. (Glaze will be very thick until natural strawberry juices thin it a little.) Arrange coated strawberry slices or halves on top of chilled cheesecake mousse layer. Drizzle with additional glaze. Alternatively, arrange fresh non-coated strawberry slices or halves on top of chilled cheesecake mousse then drizzle with desired amount of glaze. Reserve remaining glaze for plating; cover and keep chilled until ready to use. Cover assembled dessert with plastic food wrap and keep chilled until ready to serve.

To Assemble Dessert with Gelatin Topping: Arrange strawberry slices or halves on top of chilled cheesecake mousse then carefully spoon gelatin topping over berries. Cover assembled dessert with plastic food wrap. Chill until gelatin is set and dessert is ready to serve.

To Serve Dessert: To serve, slice into squares using a sharp knife and use a small spatula or cookie spatula to transfer servings to dessert plates. If desired, top each serving with fresh whipped cream and garnish with fresh mint sprig.

Elegant Plating Option: For an elegant plating option, prepare Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert without topping with the strawberries and glaze topping. Slice portions using a knife warmed with hot running water and wiped dry between each cut. Transfer servings to chilled dessert plates. Arrange sliced strawberries on top of each sliced portion then drizzle with glaze. Top with fresh whipped cream and garnish with fresh mint sprig and a fresh small whole strawberry.

Recipe Notes

Tips:

Before starting, read the recipe through entirely. Select which crust and which topping you would like to make for your Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert.

Crust and filling can be prepared 1 day in advance.

How to Crush Pretzels Coarse-Fine: Place pretzels in a sturdy plastic bag and place onto a cutting board. Crush the pretzels by using a rolling pin. This works much better than the food processor for uniform pieces and to prevent over-processing to a powder-fine consistency. Coarse-fine crushed pretzels make for a better Salted Pretzel Crust than powder-fine pretzels.

If preparing a gluten-free version, review Gluten Free Options below.

To help decide which topping you wish to make, decide if you prefer a glaze topping or a gelatin topping for your strawberries. As mentioned in the article above, the gelatin topping is the best choice if taking the dessert to a picnic or potluck as the natural juices of the strawberries will soften the glaze made with starch alone. The glaze will help preserve the fruit for up to 2 days. However, the gelatin topping will help the fruit stay fresh even longer.

How to Measure Sifted Flour by Volume Using Measuring Cups: If preparing the Almond Shortbread Crust, the proper way to measure sifted flour is to first sift the flour onto a sheet of wax paper using a flour sifter or fine mesh sieve. Then, lightly spoon into measuring cup and level off. One cup of sifted flour measures 115 grams.

Gluten Free Options

For Gluten-Free Almond Shortbread Crust: Substitute 2 cups sifted (236 grams) Cup4Cup (C4C) Gluten-Free Flour, available at Williams-Sonoma, or your favorite gluten-free flour blend in place of the all-purpose wheat flour called for in the crust recipe.

For Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust: Substitute the graham crackers with equivalent of Gluten-Free Graham Style Crumbs by Kinnikinnick.

For Gluten-Free Salted Pretzel Crust: Substitute the pretzels with equivalent of Glutino® Gluten Free Pretzel Sticks available at Whole Foods Market®.

Recipe Source: WickedGoodKitchen.com

Copyright © Wicked Good Kitchen. All content and images are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words. Alternatively, link back to this post for the recipe.

http://wickedgoodkitchen.com/strawberry-cheesecake-dessert-gluten-free-option/

Visual Step-by-Step for Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert

Including Recommended Brands

Kraft Philadelphia Cream Cheese

Newman's Own Organics The Second Generation Salted Pretzel Sticks

Erewhon Honey Grahams by Attune Foods

Sparkling Cherry Juice by R.W. Knudsen

Organic Tart Cherry Juice by Eden Foods

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

Strawberry Cheesecake Mousse Dessert {with gluten free option} by WickedGoodKitchen.com #strawberry #cheesecake #dessert #glutenfree #recipe

 

About Stacy

Stacy Bryce is a recipe developer and member of the IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals). Her passion is developing original conventional baking recipes as well as special diet recipes to include dairy-free, gluten-free and grain-free. You can follow Stacy at Pinterest.

Comments

  1. I’m sorry to hear about your kitty girl but it sounds like she’s going to be ok! Me and my meowza family are wishing her the very best! This cheesecake is beautiful and I just want to take a few bites (ok a few pieces!). The red strawberries on top are so stunning!
    Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl recently posted…Candy Corn Oreo White Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

    • Thank you, Pamela! You and your meowza family are the sweetest. Thanks so much for stopping by and for the kind words and well wishes. Meanwhile, you simply must try this dessert! xo

  2. Aww poor kitty! Glad to hear she’ll be OK. But this copyright infringement really tans my hide!! There are easy ways to prove the ownership of an image/recipe on the internet, so it’s beyond me why these social media sites are lax when people steal images. And it pisses me off even more that people think online recipes are free game because “oh they’re just RECIPES not some top secret weapon.” Jeez.

    Really hits a nerve and I’m sorry you had to do through it, but I applaud you for staying strong and keep on blogging! At the very least, that link on what2cook provided credit to you now. Even though you had to endure such drama for it 🙁

    *Phew* Well that’s all the rant I have for now. I think you should invite me over and let me help you devour this cheesecake 😉
    Sharon recently posted…Paleo Guava Cupcakes with Whipped Guava FrostingMy Profile

    • Thank you, Sharon! I appreciate your support and so does my little girl Bombay kitty. Happy grain-free baking, girl!

  3. I’m sorry you had to go through all that with the copyright infringement, how angering and frustrating. You put so much work into what you do here it’s really crappy to have to deal with people stealing it from you. On the bright side, this looks just delicious!

    I hope your kitty is doing well, Hobbes (my kitty) and I, send our love!
    Jaclyn recently posted…Caprese Salad With Balsamic ReductionMy Profile

    • Thank you, Jaclyn! And…thanks to Hobbes, too. (I just love that name for a kitty as hubby and I are still big fans of Calvin and Hobbes.) As always, I appreciate your support and encouragement! xo

  4. Stacy,
    Wow!! You worked your tail off on this post, holy cow!! Thanks for reviving such a delicious looking treat, it sounds and looks just incredible. I’m very sorry about all the “business” you have had to endure, lately. Keep up the good work and the good fight. You are very inspirational to a lot of people like me and you will get through this. I love your work, as do a lot of other people, some of them just do bad things like try to steal it. You know who it really belongs to and although justice will probably never be fully exacted, you have the satisfaction of knowing that it is you behind the work and artistry. No one can ever steal that knowledge from you.
    Dan from Platter Talk recently posted…Oatmeal-Chai Caramel CookiesMy Profile

    • Awww…thank you, Dan! I’ve said it before, but you truly are a sweetheart. I truly appreciate your kind words and compliments. You sure know how to make a girl’s day. Thank you for your continued support, my friend. It means so much to me! xo

  5. Sort of remarkable that I would decide to do a ‘recipe redo’ and find I was not alone! I had not seen or heard of this dessert since leaving North Carolina 25 years ago and NEVER without the requisite Jello and Cool Whip! Guess it’s just perfect timing for a Revival! It is a great mix of textures and tastes and no one can deny that salty component in a sweet is hugely popular today. Simply lovely dessert Stacy.
    Barbara | Creative Culinary recently posted…Brown Sugar and Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Maple-Espresso GlazeMy Profile

    • Thank you, Barb! Compliments from you on my work always means so much. Yes, sort of a revival going on with Strawberry Pretzel Salad. Ha! Well, it just goes to show how on track you are with trends in the culinary world…sometimes, perhaps unexpectedly and rather surprisingly so. Thanks for sharing your Strawberry Pretzel Dessert recipe via your blog this summer. I think people enjoy recipes that have evolved to current tastes and trends. It’s one important and fun aspect of food blogging, writing and recipe development. Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  6. That is seriously one of the most *perfect slices of cheesecake I’ve ever feasted my eyes upon! Now… how to get it into my belly!!!

    • Thank you, Ashley! You really need this Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert in your life. It’s so quick and easy…faster to get into your belly! Happy baking, girl!

  7. I want to try this! thanks for sharing.

  8. Well my friend, you’ve done it again! Love this new Strawberry Cheesecake Dessert. Of course, you are batting 100 in my book. I knew that you were busy with the copy right infringement but I guess I did not realize the extent. Do you know that my Pinterest account was flagged for 5 days because I had your original pin and had pinned it? My pins were invisible to many boards because Pinterest said that I had pinned spam multiple times…and you know that is not true! So glad you took my advice and what2cook.net is now being flagged as a “fishy” site. They lost their account once before and they need to be removed from Pinterest for good. Hate that the expense is yours but glad to see you going forth. Ronda xo

    • Thank you, Ronda! I cannot express enough how much your support means to me. So sorry you were incorrectly flagged at Pinterest. Pinterest has got to get their act together. It’s not rocket science to go after the bad Pinterest users and leave the good ones alone. Pinterest once disallowed me to comment for a couple weeks…just because I alerted someone to a bad pin. I didn’t realize entering the correct URL in the comment field flagged me as a spammer! Ugh. Thank you, my friend. You always brighten my day! xo

  9. I need this dessert and I mean soon!!

  10. Stacy, this is such a gorgeous dessert. I mean, this could be served in the best, most expensive restaurants! Pinned. And, what a coincidence, I just posted a strawberry dessert recipe, too!
    Julia | JuliasAlbum.com recently posted…Strawberry almond cake barsMy Profile

    • Thank you, Julia! You are a sweetheart and just made my day. I’m headed over to your blog as soon as I finish uploading images for my next post. Can’t wait to see your strawberry dessert! Thanks for the pin and for making me smile!

  11. Stacy, so sorry to hear about the copyright infringement issue. Ugh, I can’t stand thieves! This happened to me last month as well. I can’t stand people who steal other people’s hard work to only profit for themselves. I’m glad you’re taking a stand. And this strawberry cheesecake is to die for! Looks absolutely beautiful! xo
    Anne ~ Uni Homemaker recently posted…Fusilli with Wild Mushrooms and BaconMy Profile

    • Thank you, Anne! I truly appreciate your support and feel terrible that this also happened to you last month. You do such fine work. It really stinks that Pinterest is of no help. Food bloggers, unite! 🙂

  12. Stacy, I was out couple of days. Just got to read everything. First of all, I am really really sorry about the theft, that sucks, truly sucks.
    Secondly, I am sorry about your kitty, hope she is ok.
    Hope you are doing ok girl, so many things going on. I believe and I know many agree with me that you are one of the most helpful, kind and hard working people out there. Hate that it happened to you. You are a super woman in my eyes and this dessert, omg, you’ve gone through so much to give us the information. A beautiful dessert.
    Take care and hugs from this side.xxx

    • Awww…thank you, Asha! You have such a kind heart and I deeply appreciate your friendship and support. You always make me smile. You are a true talent and I am continually in awe of your styling and photography. You are going to grow and grow! Well, that is what we are all here for…to support one another and help each other grow. Hugs back to you, girl! xoxo

  13. What a wonderful post, Stacy! I love the thought and detail you put into this strawberry cheesecake dessert. I just really want to try out the shortbread crust because that sounds amazing in combination with the light and creamy cheesecake. Hope you’re having a great day!

  14. Those strawberries are gorgeous, what a dessert! So sorry about the Pinterest woes – hope it all gets straightened out soon!
    Laura (Tutti Dolci) recently posted…brown butter pear barsMy Profile

  15. Maria | Pink Patisserie says:

    Stacy, I’ve been so out of it lately and I’m so sorry I didn’t get to reply sooner, but OMG. What a nightmare for you to have to deal with. Especially with all the other stuff going on in your life! To have such a crappy thing happen to you of all people is infuriating! I completely agree with Ash, that you are one of the most kind, most hard working bloggers out there and I can only imagine your frustration and anger. I’m so hoping things can be resolved in a satisfying and beneficial manner for you. Keep us all posted! Hugs to you all and your kitty. On the recipe, oh my goodness I love this dessert but hadn’t made it for years because of an effort to eat less processed foods. I absolutely love that you made it healthier and with whole food ingredients. I can almost taste it!

    • Thank you so much, Maria! Words alone cannot express how much I appreciate your support. You are a lovely human being and extremely talented baker who always inspires with your work. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support! It means so very much to me. Thanks again and happy baking!

  16. So sorry to hear about your kittie, and I hope she gets better soon!
    This cheesecake looks super amazing, and summery, I love summery foods! Let’s all just hold onto summer for as long as we can! x
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs recently posted…The Fluffiest Bread Buns EverMy Profile

  17. I seriously always love stopping by here and reading of your advntures. You put so much work into each recipe and so much into the story around it. Thank you again! And hugs to you and your sweet kitty.
    Katrina @ In Katrina’s Kitchen recently posted…Neapolitan Greek Yogurt Pudding PopsMy Profile

    • Thank you, Katrina! I appreciate your kind words. We really do not want our baby kitty to have to go through surgery on her eyelids. Once there is scar tissue, from the surgical procedure, other problems can happen. Thanks for stopping by, my friend!

  18. Stacy – first – Happy Belated Birthday!!! What a wonderful idea to spend a whole month celebrating a birthday!
    Second – so very sorry to hear about your woes with recipe/copyright problems through Pinetrest.
    And third – dang girl – this strawberry cheescake dessert is just sinfully wicked! 🙂
    Your photos make me wanna just reach through the screen, grab that dish and just mush my face into the layers of strawberry and cheesecake and crust – good golly lady-this rocks!
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com recently posted…Healthy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Glaze!My Profile

  19. I have to admit this is an oldie that I’ve never had the chance to try, glad you took the time to revamp it and offer gluten-free tweaks as well!
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen recently posted…Savory Vegetable Loaf Cake Recipe (Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Paleo)My Profile

  20. Wow, wow, wow! This looks absolutely spectacular, Stacy! Your photos are beautiful!
    Kelly Senyei | Just a Taste recently posted…Video: The Best Homemade French FriesMy Profile

  21. Gorgeous recipe and photos too! Cheese cake will do me any time of the day … By the say, sorry to hear about your kitty 🙁
    Take care, Amelia

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