This is probably my favorite time of year in St. Pete. The humidity typically hasn’t picked up yet. The temperatures are still cool. It actually feels like spring. Spring training adds a festive energy all around the area. We usually get a lot of fun visitors from the north who just can’t take it anymore.
And, we have local strawberries.
Life is good.
When I originally started playing around with this recipe, I was using fresh strawberries. And, darn it if I just couldn’t get it to work. I buzzed up the strawberries, made a sauce, mixed the sauce into the cheesecake mixture, and…it just wasn’t tasting right. So, I ultimately switched over to strawberry jam, and that worked like a breeze.
I sort of want to apologize to our local strawberries for skipping them this time, but I’m sure I’ll figure out plenty of uses for them in the upcoming weeks.
In the meantime, break out your jam, and try this little taste of spring. Whether your temperatures are starting to inch upwards or it’s still a deep freeze where you live, this may just be a nice change of pace from your winter menu.
- ~~~For Crust~~~
- 4 whole graham crackers
- 1 cup pretzels
- 2 T. granulated sugar
- 4 T. unsalted butter, melted
- ~~~For Filling~~~
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract, divided
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, at room temp
- ¼ cup sour cream
- ⅓ cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup strawberry jam
- 1 T. freshly-squeezed lime juice
- Zest of 1 lime
- In a food processor, pulse the graham crackers and pretzels with the sugar until they’re broken into fine crumbs. Add the melted butter and process to combine.
- Distribute crumbs evenly between 8 (6-oz.) ramekins, and press firmly into the bottom. Refrigerate the crusts while making the filling.
- Place the cold cream and 1 tsp. vanilla in a large bowl. With a hand mixer, begin to beat the cream on very low speed. Once it starts to thicken, turn the speed of the mixer up and beat until stiff peaks form. Set aside.
- With a mixer on medium speed, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sugar, and remaining teaspoon of vanilla. Add in the strawberry jam, lime juice, and lime zest. Mix until combined.
- With a spatula, fold in half of the whipped cream.
- Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly among the ramekins, and top each serving with a spoonful of the remaining whipped cream. Garnish with additional lime zest and sliced fresh strawberries, if desired.
- Chill for at least one hour or until ready to serve.
Filling adapted from Rachael Ray.