Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl Cheesecake
There's a place in New York City called Junior's, which has become a father-daughter favorite after numerous trips to the city as a child, and then a teenager, and then a "young adult." Our tradition for years has been this: We see a show on Broadway, and after the show, we'll meander on down through Times Square and then wait in what is always a shockingly long line at Junior's, and depending on our patience level, we'll actually make it to a table and order slices of strawberry cheesecake. One year, we got the slice to-go at their takeout window and ate the cheesecake on a busy Broadway sidewalk; I even bought my dad a History of Junior's textbook for his birthday one year. Yes, the cheesecake is that good -- and the Reuben sandwiches are right up there, too.
All of that to say: Strawberry cheesecake has a special place in my heart, and when my dad tasted this cheesecake that I'm about to share with you, he said -- and I quote -- "Junior's could learn a lesson from you."
Okay. I know he's my dad and it's his job to tell me things like that, but still. Also, let me tell you personally: this cheesecake is delicious. The crust is nice and thick (and it certainly isn't store-bought), and the cheesecake is smooth, rich, creamy and just tangy enough, and because of my unending love for rhubarb, it's layered and swirled with a strawberry rhubarb jam. If you're not a fan of strawberry rhubarb or if you've got some jam in the fridge that you want to finish up, feel free to use any you've got. OR, if you're a huge fan of rhubarb like me, you can make the rhubarb jam I have on this blog and swirl it in with the cheesecake -- I'm sure it would be fantastic.
Strawberry Rhubarb Swirl Cheesecake
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
24 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons strawberry rhubarb jam, or seedless jam of choice
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Halved strawberries, for topping (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9-inch springform pan with baking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, mix the graham cracker crumbs, butter, vanilla and salt with a fork until evenly moistened. Press the mixture into the bottom and up 1 inch of the sides of the pan. Place in the fridge while you make the filling.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium speed until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the sour cream until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan.
In a small saucepan, combine the jam and lemon juice and heat over low heat until thinned and smooth. Drizzle 1/4 cup of the jam over the batter in the pan, And spoon the remaining batter over the top. Using a spoon, drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of jam in strips over the batter. Use a thin knife to gently swirl the jam into the batter for a marbled effect.
Bake the cheesecake until firm around the edges but still wobbly in the center, about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours.
After chilled, remove the cake from the fridge and remove the sides from the springform pan. If desired, pipe edges of the cheesecake with whipped cream and top with halved strawberries and arrange strawberries in the middle of the cake. Chill until ready to serve.