Ladyfinger Strawberry Cheesecake Easy Recipe
No-Bake Summer Fruit Cheesecake
Ladyfinger strawberry cheesecake is the easiest and quickest no-bake cake to make with fresh fruits in season.
Historically, the Greeks baked cheesecake millennia before New York made famous the non-bake version. Although I am a history buff, I have catalogued this recipe as Italian because the cheeses and biscuits I used were Italian.
A quick Google search will indicate that using ladyfinger biscuits in baking is considered artistry and an elaborate delicacy. That is perhaps due to the one-thousand-year history of these tiny, delicate biscuits and their use at the European royal courts.
I use Savoiardi for this strawberry cheesecake because I love the cheese but hate the traditional base of this cake. The combination of crumbled biscuits drenched in fat butter and sugar made me gag the first and only time I tried it. Then, I would eat like a fussy toddler the rest of the time, scraping the cheese and leaving the crusty base in a mess on the plate. Not very lady-like. Not even adult-like!
I have tried many other combinations for the base, like bran and butter (although bran is healthy, it can irritate the stomach lining; besides, there was the butter thing again – not much difference to me!).
Graham crackers did not work for me either, nor did a pistachio crust as they still needed a glueing agent, and the only one I could think of was still butter.
Savoiardi were the best option for which I settled in the end. They are not too sweet (I always scrape the excess sugar coating); they are fluffy and airy and absorb humidity well, making cutting the cake easier.
Besides, they do look impressive, delicate (the name says it all!) and fancy. This is reason enough to use it in the simplest of cakes and still make it look imperial!
For as impressive as it looks, the biscuity base and wall are not the main star of this recipe. Instead, the cheese in combination with fresh strawberries is!
Typically, I use Ricotta and Mascarpone in equal parts. Compared to butter which contains about 80% fats, Mascarpone, although a fat creamy cheese, has approximately half the fats in butter and Ricotta only about 13%. This makes it bearable to me and reasonably fatty, although it still is a very rich cake; perhaps this is why my body cannot take the extra that would make the base and walls for it.
In addition to cheese, I use reduced organic coconut sugar. I usually grind it to make it a hue lighter to help keep the cheese as close to its natural colour as possible.
For flavour, any essence would work. My favourite combinations are either lemon, orange or rum. Of course, if no kids involved in sampling, a couple of alcohol tablespoons won’t hurt; the best are creamy liquors, but it will add to the humidity of the cheese, so there has to be a fine balance if used.
Hardening the cheese has proved quite a task for me. I had many tries until I got the right consistency.
At first, I did not want to use any gelatine to glue the cheese – needless to say, it did not work!
Then I tried vegetable gelatine – it takes too long to set. Besides, the instructions on the sachet were rubbish. I had to make it a few times with different quantities of water (a lot less than instructed), and even so, it just did not work.
In the end, I used pork gelatine sheets, and it did the trick. I had this crazy idea in my head that it was nonsense to use pork in cake, but it is not really like that, and I don’t make this cheesecake that often anyway; I can ignore the weirdness of pork and cake together!
The real star of this cheesecake is, of course, the strawberries. A beautiful fruit that makes the fanciest desserts in summer, such as chocolate-dipped strawberries or chocolate cake decorated with oh, so indulgent chocolate-dipped fruits.
Sweet, juicy, aromatic – just goodness nature selflessly offers us. I always use organic strawberries freshly picked from my allotment.
Conventional strawberries contain over 20 pesticides. Of course, that makes any crop bug-free, helps the fruits grow faster, and produces more money to sustain the greed machine, but what good does that to the human body?
I read somewhere that organic strawberries contain pesticides, too. That defies the meaning of organic and, if it is true, I assume it might apply to larger growers or be down to contamination from nearby conventional plots.
I never spray or use anything on my plot other than rainwater and fountain water. If that contains pesticides, it’s out of my hand!
This ladyfinger strawberry cheesecake requires only a handful of ingredients, about half an hour to put them together, and a little patience to allow chilling before enjoying it with a cappuccino or a glass of liquor.
Ingredients for ladyfinger cheesecake
Mascarpone cheese (fridge cold)
Ricotta cheese (fridge cold)
Organic coconut sugar
Essences as desired
Cream liquor (optional)
Wash and hull the strawberries. Chop them in quarters (or smaller if required). Optionally, sprinkle with the juice of half a lemon to preserve the freshness and colour (it will not change much anyway, because of the immediate use)
Mash a handful of strawberries and leave them aside.
Hydrate four gelatine sheets for five minutes. When the time is up, drain and remove excess water, then place them in a pan in 100 ml water, on low heat. Stir until the gelatine melts, but do not allow the water to boil. When the gelatine has dissolved, then remove it from the heat and leave it aside.
In a large bowl, mix using an electric mixer at medium speed the cheese, grounded sugar, essences (and no more than two tablespoons of liquor if chosen). Batter for about five minutes until you obtain a fluffy cream.
Optionally, you can add some of the chopped strawberries and mix gently with a large spoon.
Add half of the gelatine to the cream, mix well and leave the cheese cream aside until you build the base and walls of the cake.
Using only the wall of a springform placed on a cake stand, line it with ladyfingers. If the biscuits are too high, you might need to cut off a quarter or third of each. Then, use the leftovers to line the base.
If you have extra hands willing to help during this step, use them as the ladyfingers have a mind of their own and can make your task difficult.
As a tip, I usually fill the base and place a few biscuits on the wall; then, I add a couple of spoons of cream to keep them in place until I continue building the rest of the wall. The base should be covered as much as possible, and there should not be significant gaps in the wall either. The cheese cream is quite thick, but still, for the aesthetics of the final product, take extra care to avoid some of it escaping through the biscuits.
Use all the cheese mixture to fill the shape and flatten it nicely at the top.
Mix the mashed strawberries with the rest of the gelatine and spread it over the cheese cream.
Some bakers prefer to boil the mashed fruit and add sugar, as in a jam. I just used the strawberries with no added sugar at all, and the taste was excellent – the real, natural thing, since gelatine is tasteless (thank God, it is processed enough not to have a pork flavour!)
Sprinkle the rest of the chopped strawberries over the gelatine mixture, and your ladyfinger cheesecake is ready to go to the fridge for at least three hours. The ladyfingers will get moist even better, and the cake will be easier to slice if you leave it in the refrigerator overnight.
If somehow you manage not to devour it in one go (and you probably won’t because it is pretty rich), you can keep the ladyfinger strawberry cheesecake in the fridge for up to three days. However, I do not recommend freezing as the types of cheese used might go funny when defrosted.
This is a fresh cake made with fresh products, and it is best to eat it fresh.
I make ladyfinger strawberry cheesecake when I have guests. Thus, I know I will not need to worry about preserving it for too long!
Enjoy your delectable, elaborate delicacy!
Strawberry Ladyfinger Cheesecake
- Mixing bowl
- Electric mixer
- Cake stand
- Round spring form (wall only)
- large mixing spoon
- Measuring spoon/scale
- 2 pcs Mascarpone cheese 250g each
- 2 pcs Ricotta cheese 250g each
- 20 pcs Savoiardi biscuits/Ladyfingers
- 4 pcs gelatin sheets
- 200 g strawberries
- 4-5 tbsp coconut sugar organic
- 2 tbsp cream liquor optional
- 1 tsp rum/orange essence optional
- Wash, hull the strawberries and chop them in quarters or smaller pieces.
- In a small bowl, mash a handful of strawberries and leave them aside.
- Hydrate 4 gelatine sheets for 5 minutes. When the time is up, drain and remove excess water, then place them in a pan in 100 ml water, on low heat.
- Stir until the gelatine melts, but do not allow the water to boil. When the gelatine has dissolved, remove it from the heat and leave it aside.
- In a large bowl, mix using an electric mixer at medium speed the cheese, grounded sugar, essences (and no more than two tablespoons of liquor if chosen).
- Batter for about five minutes until you obtain a fluffy cream.
- If you wish, you can add some of the chopped strawberries and mix gently with a large spoon.
- Add half of the gelatine to the cream, mix well and leave the cheese cream aside until you build the base and walls of the cake.
- Using only the wall of a springform placed on a cake stand, line it with ladyfingers. If the biscuits are too high, you might need to cut off a quarter or third of each. Then, use the leftovers to line the base.
- Use all the cheese mixture to fill the shape and flatten it nicely at the top.
- Spread evenly the mashed fruits combined with gelatine on top of the cheese mixture.
- Sprinkle the rest of the chopped strawberries for decoration.
- Chill in the fridge for at least three hours.
Do you use ladyfingers for your cheesecakes? What other bases did you try that is not sickly fatty and sweet? I would like to know what different non-squeamish variations people figured out.