We’re not nitpicking by a day or two as to the readiness of the strawberry crop. Usually the berries are ripe come mid-June. Thanks to the unusually warm spring in Wisconsin, they’re already ripe. The picking season is short too – just three weeks. So if you like to pick your own, here’s a handy map of where to stop and stoop, courtesy of the Wisconsin Berry Growers Association. The Strawberry Festival in Cedarburg is June 23-24, a good reason all by itself to visit this pretty little burg. You can also expect some incredible strawberry treats from innkeepers this time of year, like the Cranberry/Strawberry Topped Cheesecake from Altemus Corners B&B in Stoughton. The innkeeper there tells us her guests sleep great after this evening dessert – better than a glass of warm milk we suspect!
Cranberry/Strawberry Topped Cheesecake
Makes 1 Pie
“This cheesecake is served regularly at the Altemus Corners B&B. The lemon taste is always fresh in summer or winter with berry topping and it’s always wonderful to have a dairy treat for the guests. The sleep really great after an 8 p.m. dessert like this one!” –Innkeepers, Altemus Corners B&B
1 (8 ounce) bag animal crackers, finely crushed
½ cup butter
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 ½ cups sour cream
¾ cup fresh cranberries
¾ cup water
2 teaspoons corn starch
¼ cup sugar
¾ cup fresh sliced strawberries
Preheat over to 325°F. Melt the butter in a glass pie plate. Add the cookie crumbs, mix, and press into the bottom of the plate and up the sides. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and ½ cup sugar. Add the eggs one at a time. Stir in the lemon and 1 teaspoon vanilla; mix to combine. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the pie plate and bake 20 minutes, or until set. In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, 3 tablespoons sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and top with the sour cream mixture. Return to oven for an additional 10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate. Serve with whipped cream and berry topping.
For the topping: Boil the cranberries in the water for about 5 minutes. The cranberries will pop. Mix the cornstarch in a bit of cold water to make a thick slurry. Remove the cranberries from heat and add the slurry and sugar. Allow the mixture to cool 10 minutes before adding sliced strawberries.