175gabout 1 ¾ cups Graham cracker crumbs (gluten-free, if needed)
24ozthree 8 oz blocks full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
3/4cup180g sour cream, room temperature
1Tbsppure vanilla extract
2large eggsroom temperature
In a small saucepan, toss the strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice together and cook over medium heat, stirring, until the strawberries are soft and jammy, about 8-12 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk the water and corn starch together in a small bowl with a fork, creating a corn starch slurry.
Slowly pour the corn starch slurry into the strawberries, stirring as you pour. Cook for 1-2 minutes longer until the syrup begins to thicken.
Remove from heat and pour ¼ of the strawberry jam into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Strain the strawberry purée through a fine mesh sieve and chill until it reaches room temperature, or cooler.
Transfer the remaining chunky strawberry compote to a small bowl and chill until ready to serve.
Graham Cracker Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the Graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt together with a fork.
Pour in the melted butter and mix well with a fork until the crumbs are evenly moistened. The crumbs should be sandy, but will just hold together when pinched.
Dump the buttery Graham crackers into a 9-inch springform pan. Use your fingers to carefully press the crust up, about 3/4-inch to 1-inch up the sides of the pan. Run a thin knife along the sides to create even edges for the crust.
Use a flat-bottomed cup to firmly pack the crumbs down in the bottom of the pan.
Bake the Graham cracker crust for 8-10 minutes, until it appears golden brown and no longer wet.
Immediately after removing the crust from the oven, use a clean, dry measuring cup to gently press the crust down into the bottom and against the sides of the pan. Let cool completely before filling.
Combine cream cheese and sugar in a large bowl and beat over medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides a few times.
Add the sour cream, vanilla, and salt, and beat on medium speed, scraping down the sides again.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on medium speed until just combined, scraping down the sides after each addition. Be careful not to overmix the filling after you've added the eggs or you will incorporate too much air into the cheesecake, which can cause it to crack when baked.
Pour the filling into the cooled crust. Tap gently on the counter to release any air bubbles and use an offset spatula to smooth the top.
Dollop the strawberry purée over the top of the cheesecake. Use a knife to swirl the strawberry purée into the top of the cheesecake.
Prepare a steaming pan for the oven by boiling about 2-quarts of water. Place a 9x13” baking dish on the bottom rack of the preheated oven. Place the cheesecake on the middle rack of the oven and pour the boiling water into the 9x13” pan on the bottom rack.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, checking for doneness around 45 minutes, to account for oven variation.
When it's done baking, turn off the oven and open the door a few inches. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven for an hour. This will also help to avoid cracking.
Transfer the cheesecake to the fridge to chill for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Use a thin knife around the outside edge to ensure the cheesecake is loosened from the pan, then release it from the springform pan.
Serve slices chilled topped with strawberry compote.
Not all Graham cracker brands are the same. If your crumbs are too dry, add ½ tablespoon more melted butter. If your crumbs are too wet, add ¼ cup more Graham crackers crumbs.If you tap the pan and the cheesecake ripples or sloshes, bake it longer. The entire cheesecake should jiggle as one almost like Jell-O. The couple inches around the outside will be slightly more set, while the center wobbles just a bit more.For a creamier cheesecake, bake it for closer to 50 minutes, and for a more baked cheesecake, bake it closer to 55 minutes.Store any leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.