Strawberries and Champagne Cheesecake
from the February/March 2018 issue of Eat Drink Mississippi
For the cheesecake:
1 cup Champagne or sparkling wine
2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 14 crackers)
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg yolks
1-1/2 pints fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1 teaspoon shortening, divided
1/3 cup white chocolate baking chips
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Bring Champagne or sparkling wine to a boil in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue to cook until liquid is reduced to 1/4 cup, approximately 8 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
In a separate bowl, combine cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar, and butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a greased 9-inch spring-form pan. Spread sliced strawberries over the bottom.
In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Add condensed milk, cornstarch, and Champagne. Add eggs and egg yolks. Beat on low until combined. Pour over strawberries.
Wrap the outside of the spring-form pan in aluminum foil. Place pan on a baking sheet with sides or in a roasting pan. Place the pan on the center rack of the oven. Fill the outer pan with about 1/2-inch of hot water. Close the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until center is set.
Turn off the oven, but do not remove the cheesecake. Crack the oven door and allow the cheesecake to cool in the warm oven for 1 hour. Afterwards, remove the cheesecake, carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan, cover, and place in the fridge overnight.
Remove sides of the spring-form pan. Slice remaining strawberries and arrange them over top of the cheesecake.
In a microwave or double boiler, melt white chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon shortening. Stir until smooth and then drizzle over strawberries. Repeat melting and drizzling with milk chocolate chips and remaining shortening.