I bake from scratch because I believe that love—and sweetened condensed milk—are the best ingredients. —Kathryn Work, Louisville, Kentucky
- 1 cup Champagne or other sparkling wine
- 2 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 14 whole crackers)
- 2 cups sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
- 3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 large egg yolks
- 20 fresh strawberries, hulled
- 1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon shortening, divided
- 1/3 cup white baking chips
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- Place champagne in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; cook until liquid is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, 1/2 cup sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1-1/2 in. up the sides of a greased 9-in. springform pan; set aside. Arrange sliced strawberries over the bottom.
- In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and remaining sugar until smooth. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk, cornstarch and reduced champagne. Add eggs and egg yolks; beat on low speed just until combined. Pour over strawberries. Place pan on a baking sheet.
- Bake at 325° for 55-60 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; cool 1 hour longer. Refrigerate overnight.
- Remove sides of springform pan. For topping, wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry. Slice and arrange over cheesecake. In a microwave, melt chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon shortening; stir until smooth. Drizzle over strawberries. Repeat melting and drizzling with white baking chips and remaining shortening.
- In a small bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar; beat until soft peaks form. Serve cheesecake with whipped cream. Yield: 12 servings.
Originally published as Strawberries and Champagne Cheesecake in Taste of Home November 2011, p55
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