My first introduction to the concept of filling a strawberry with the flavors of cheesecake was featuring a post by Nutmeg Nanny many Fridays ago. When I finally got serious about making these little gems for a bridal shower, there were tweaks to the recipe I could not resist—lemon zest is a must in cheesecake—and they were absolutely fabulous. Juicy, ripe strawberries dressed in flavors of cheesecake, graham cracker, and chocolate create a beautiful presentation and a memorable dessert for a shower or any gathering. What a great way to make the most of what is left of summer berries!
Cheesecake Filled Strawberries with Chocolate Accents
Yields approximately 30 Stuffed Berries
2 pounds strawberries — stem and core removed, bottom trimmed flat
2 teaspoons lemon zest — minced fine
8 ounces cream cheese — softened
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 squares graham crackers or Milano cookies — crushed fine
1 cup white or dark chocolate — chopped or in chips, melted
Rinse strawberries and dry well. Trim the cap and hull strawberry with a paring knife, creating a small pocket. In order to stand the berries upright, trim the bottom of the strawberry creating a flat base.
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla with a mixer until creamed and fluffy. Add cream cheese mix to piping bag or large Ziploc bag with a small piece of the bottom corner cut off. Set aside.
Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Place a dime-size amount of chocolate on a baking sheet or tray lined with wax paper. Place a strawberry on top of chocolate and cooling until chocolate hardens. This chocolate base adds stability to the strawberries, especially in transport.
Using the piping bag or Ziploc bag, fill strawberries with the cream cheese filling. Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers. Accent with chocolate to finish the strawberries. Allow chocolate to harden or set.
NOTES: Large strawberries are best, requiring fewer berries, yet any size will work. Strawberries kept in the refrigerator will sweat in a warm room. Remove from refrigeration well in advance to allow time for the berries to come to room temp and dry well before dipping in chocolate or filling.