A strawberry cheesecake, for virtual Mother’s Day

It was my mother’s birthday and we celebrated it with a virtual party. She and my father sat behind the computer in Maassluis. Sister, brother-in-law and their two teenagers ditto in Alkmaar. Brother, French sister-in-law and their twins called in from their Norman dacha. Sons and I joined in the celebration from The Hague.

It was funny how each family had their own ideas about what refreshments belong at an afternoon party. In France it’s time for the goûter, so there was one Apple pie and a pot of coffee on the table. In The Hague we drank tea and snacked on chocolate. In Alkmaar there was chips and cola. The old folks were the only ones who respected the five in the clock and had poured themselves a glass of red wine. I thought they were most right.

My sister in law started talking about how bizarre she thought that Dutch people congratulate each other on someone else’s birthday. Why for heaven’s sake? We had to owe her the answer. This is just an inexplicable and strange habit. Then my brother, sister and I had a lot of fun sketching her how a birthday used to go at our house.

The circle of sofa, armchairs, dining room and garden chairs in the living room. Everyone who, indeed, congratulated everyone. My father going around with a drink list – sherry, brandy, Martini, red wine, dry white and sweet white wine, bowl, grape juice – and how he ticked those boxes. The glasses with cigarettes on the table. How blue with smoke it looked. How no one ever thought it necessary to change places, or move at all.

And how we children hung out bored in the kitchen and ate sickly on deviled eggs, ham-asparagus rolls and dates with bacon. Once every fifteen minutes or so we were sent into the room by our mother to go around with those snacks. If someone had predicted to us at the time that in the future you could also celebrate birthdays virtually, we were immediately in the time machine of Dr. Emmett L. Brown, aka Doc from Back to the future‘ stepped.

Anyway. It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday and I think many of you will be celebrating it virtually. So did we, around noon this time. Curious about who is going to eat and drink what at that time. Those memories of the 80s make me suddenly in the mood for a retro cheesecake. A beautiful pink, with strawberries in it and strawberries on top.

strawberry cheesecake

(10 – 12 people)

8 leaves of colorless gelatin;
250 g whole-wheat biscuits;
100 g of butter, melted;
juice and zest of 2 lemons;
600 g strawberries, de-crowned and halved;
150 g white caster sugar;
500 g of low-fat cottage cheese;
300 ml whipping cream;
2 tbsp strawberry or other liqueur (or 1 tbsp sugar).

Also needed:
springform pan (24 – 26 cm)

Week the gelatin in cold water for 10 minutes. Grind the cookies into crumbs. Mix in the melted butter and spread the mixture over the bottom of the springform pan. Press well. Place in the fridge to set while you prepare the filling.

Heat lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan, stirring, until sugar is incorporated. Remove from the heat and stir the gelatine leaves into the syrup and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Puree 200 grams of strawberries and stir the puree together with the lemon zest through the lemon syrup. Then mix in the cottage cheese. Whip the cream until stiff and fold through the strawberry curd.

make with some of the remaining strawberries, cut side out, make a nice ring against the edge of the springform.

Schenk Spread the quark filling over the pie crust and let it set in the fridge for at least 4 hours. Toss the remaining strawberries with the liqueur or sugar and let it marinate. Remove the rim of the springform pan and transfer the cake to a cake plate. Arrange the marinated strawberries on top.