Strawberry Cheesecake Fools
The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, by Deb Perelman
4 c (about 1 pound) strawberries
2 Tb granulated sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 Tb freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about half a lemon)
Brown Sugar Cookie Crumb Streusel
7 Carr’s Whole Wheat Crackers (or 2 ounces of another digestive biscuit)
¼ c dark brown sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Whipped Cream Cheese
¾ c heavy or whipping cream
6 ounces cream cheese softened
¼ c granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Prepare strawberries: Hull and quarter the strawberries. Whisk together the granulated sugar and the cornstarch. Stir together the strawberries, sugar, and cornstarch mixture, and lemon juice in a 2-3 quart saucepan, and let it stand, stirring occasionally, until juicy, about 15 minutes. Bring the strawberries to a simmer over medium heat, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover, and chill completely in fridge, about 1-2 hours. Once its fully chilled, set a strainer over a bowl and pour the strawberry mixture into it. No need to strain the berries fully-you’re just looking to remove a bit of the excess juiciness. Reserve a quarter cup of the strained juice, and set aside.
Prepare crumbs: Grind the crackers, brown sugar, and cinnamon together until powdery. Set aside.
Make the creams: In a small bowl, beat the whipping cream with a hand mixture until it holds stiff peaks; then set aside. In a large bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, salt, and vanillas. Beat until smooth, then fold in the whipped cream. Remove half cup of the cream cheese whip cream mixture and set it aside. Fold the quarter cup of reserved strawberry juices into the larger volume of cream cheese and whip cream.
Assemble deserts: Line up six champagne flutes or other tall, narrow 4 ounce glasses. In the bottom of each glass (using [a long teaspoon]), layer one tablespoon of the cooked strawberry mixture, followed by one tablespoon of the crumb mixture, followed by three tablespoons of the strawberry-flavored cream cheese and whip cream, followed by another tablespoon of crumbs and another tablespoon of strawberries. Add a dollop of the reserved, strawberry-free cream cheese and whip cream to the top of each flute. Sprinkle some remaining brown sugar cracker crumbs for garnish. Then chill for 30 minutes or up to three days, and serve cold, with [long spoons].