Grind up the little Toddy cookies. If you have a food processor, use this. If you don’t, put them in a plastic bag, grab and mallet-like weapon, and BANG away. *Frutigran or really any other *good tasting* cookie would work too.
Now it’s time to make the filling. There’s quite a Finlandia vs. Philadelphia cream cheese debate to be had here: I used to think only Philadelphia would work – if it wasn’t Philly, the result would turn out grainy and a bit naush. But I was wrong. Thanks to the lack of stock at my local chino, I’ve found I can get super creamy, results with a mixture of Casancrem and Finlandia (especially the sabor jamon). No, I’m joking. Don’t use the ham flavor.
Next add the lemon zest, and PURE vanilla extract (Barrio Chino, Casa Polti and El Gato Negro all have this, but it should already be in your kitchen) – maybe if you are extra fancy, add some vanilla bean in there too.
Time to give it a bath. Grab a roasting pan, fill it half way with boiling water. I should have wrapped the sides of the cheesecake pan with aluminum foil so that no pesky water seeps in, but I like to live dangerously. Stick the bad boy in oven for 45 minutes. After it’s done baking, it needs to cool in the fridge – preferably over night. I mistakenly did the fast version (aka made it and realized I had to bring it to a party less than an hour later), it came out wobblier and jigglier than these.
Add toppings to make it look pretty. I used strawberries because they were in season and they taste good. Now cherries are in season, so add that. Or blueberries. Or a combo. Or make a berry sauce. Or not.
The Great Toddy Strawberry Cheesecake
- 2 cups finely ground Toddy cookies (about 1 1/2 packages), or Frutigran
- 1 small stick unsalted butter, melted
- 1 pound (450g) cream cheese, softened*
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 pint (450g) sour cream, or queso crema (Casancrem)
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 dash vanilla extract
- Fresh fruit topping: strawberries, blueberries, cherries, etc.
*If you can’t find Philadelphia cream cheese, or are too cheap to buy it, substitute it for Finlandia.
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F – or if you are in Argentina, to upper/middle hot.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine all the crust ingredients until well mixed. Coat the bottom and sides of an 8-inch springform pan with butter or cooking spray. If you don’t have a springform pan, any deep-ish pan will do.
3. Pour the crumbs into the pan and, using the smooth bottom of a glass or a spatula, press the crumbs down into the base and 1-inch up the sides. Freeze for 10 minutes.
For the Filling:
4. In a large bowl, mix the cream cheese until smooth and free of any lumps. One at a time add the eggs, and continue to beat slowly until well combined. Gradually add sugar and beat until creamy, for 1 to 2 minutes.
5. Add sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. The batter should be well-mixed but not overbeaten. Pour the filling into the crust-lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
6. Set the cheesecake pan on a large piece of aluminum foil and fold up the sides around it. Place the cake pan in a large roasting pan. Pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water is about halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan; the foil will keep the water from seeping into the cheesecake. Bake for 45 minutes.
7. The cheesecake should still jiggle (it will firm up after chilling), so be careful not to overcook. Let cool in pan for 30 minutes. Chill in the refrigerator, loosely covered, for at least 4 hours, but ideally overnight.
8. Loosen the cheesecake from the sides of the pan by running a thin metal spatula around the inside rim. Unmold and transfer to a cake plate.
9. Add sliced fruit to the top, and serve.