I’m married to a man who loves his cheesecake. Over the past few years I’ve tried making a variety of them, always coming “close” to his ideal but never quite hitting the mark until now! My sister and I dug deep through the Bon Appétit archives to find this recipe from the September 1996 issue for Mascarpone Cheesecake with Balsamic Strawberries. The crust is so retro (almond biscotti crumbs and butter, when was the last time you had biscotti???) that it almost seems revolutionary. And then the strawberry topping is simply market-fresh berries drizzled with your best aged balsamic. We added a heady dose of cracked black pepper for added intensity. Oh. My. God. You could also serve these over vanilla gelato and they would be insane. [Note: it is really important to use the aged “riserva” stuff, which usually runs in the neighborhood of $40+ for 100ml]
To bake the cheesecake itself, first you wrap a springform pan in tin foil. It’s going into a water bath, so it’s important to make sure the tin foil is extra tight so water doesn’t seep in. Then press the crust into the pan.
Then spoon in the decadent cream cheese filling, made super rich and creamy thanks to a generous amount of mascarpone. The prepared cheesecake goes into a water bath and bakes for a good hour and fifteen minutes, or until top is golden brown.
Start this project early in the day, because after baking, the cheesecake needs to cool for an hour before going into the fridge to chill. The recipe says to chill overnight, but we broke into it after four hours and weren’t sorry even for a second. And now I think we’ll have some more for breakfast. Happy Father’s Day!