Crème fraîche cheesecake with strawberries, citrus crumbs & strawberry sorbet

Crème fraîche cheesecake with strawberries, citrus crumbs & strawberry sorbet

Chris Middleton

This is a very light and fresh summery dessert. I love the creaminess of the cheesecake. All the flavours and textures of cheesecake are there — just not how you would expect.


Quantity Ingredient
Lemon or lime gel, to serve
Strawberry sorbet, to serve
Strawberry crisps, to serve
snipped basil cress, to garnish

Cheesecake mix

Quantity Ingredient
200g cream cheese
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthways and seeds scraped
125g caster sugar
250g creme fraiche

Basil-macerated strawberries

Quantity Ingredient
250g strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
1 tablespoon sparkling wine
2 tablespoons caster sugar
6 large basil leaves, torn
2 basil stems, bruised

Citrus crumbs

Quantity Ingredient
150g plain flour
45g icing sugar, sifted
125g butter, diced
2 limes, zested
1 lemon, zested
pinch sea salt

Strawberry pearls

Quantity Ingredient
500ml cottonseed oil
150g strawberries, washed and hulled
20g caster sugar
1/4 lemon, juiced
2 gelatine leaves, soaked in iced water


  1. For the cheesecake mix

    Dice the cream cheese and bring to room temperature. Add to a food processor with the lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla seeds and sugar. Blitz well, scraping down the side of the processor, until smooth. Pass the mixture through a fine strainer, into a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, whip the crème fraîche using a hand whisk until stiff peaks form. Fold a small amount into the cream cheese mixture until well combined, then fold in the rest of the whipped crème fraîche. Spoon into a container, then cover and set in the refrigerator overnight.
  3. For the basil-macerated strawberries

    Place all the ingredients in a bowl and gently combine. Cover and leave to sit overnight in the fridge.
  4. For the citrus crumbs

    Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined. Turn out onto a bench and lightly knead into a log. Roll in plastic wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until firm.
  5. Roll the dough out to about 3 mm thick between two sheets of baking paper. Rest in the fridge for at least another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 160°C.
  6. Place the dough on a baking tray and bake for 10–15 minutes, until lightly golden and crisp. Leave to cool, then blitz quickly in a food processor until crumbs form. Store at room temperature in a clean, dry container; the crumbs can be made a day ahead.
  7. For the strawberry pearls

    Pour the cottonseed oil into a container, then chill in the freezer for 2 hours, so the oil is as cold as possible.
  8. Blend the strawberries with the sugar and lemon juice until smooth, then pass through a fine strainer. Warm a small amount of the strawberry purée in a saucepan. Stir in the soaked gelatine until dissolved, then add the gelatine mixture to the remaining strawberry purée. Pass through a fine sieve.
  9. Use a disposable syringe from the chemist to drop small amounts of the strawberry liquid into the cold oil. Leave the strawberry pearls to set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Once set, strain through a fine sieve, then wash in iced water until all the oil is washed of f the pearls.
  10. Place the pearls in a container lined with baking paper. Store in the fridge until required; the pearls can be made a day or two ahead.
  11. To serve

    Sprinkle some citrus crumbs along the middle of six plates (you won’t need all the crumbs, so reserve these for another use).
  12. Using a hot spoon, scoop out egg‑shaped ‘quenelles’ from the cheesecake mix, placing two quenelles evenly along the crumbs on each plate.
  13. Evenly distribute the macerated strawberries out along the crumbs. Arrange some of the strawberry pearls along the crumbs.
  14. Place a few dots of lemon gel in and around the crumbs. Finally, place a scoop of the sorbet at one end of the crumbs, then scatter the strawberry crisps and some basil cress along the whole dessert. Sit down and enjoy!
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