1 pint strawberries, cleaned and stemmed
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
5 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup whipping cream
1. Prepare the topping (if you like topping; if you prefer plain cheesecake, you don't have to make topping. But then again, maybe your friends like topping so you might want to make it anyway just in case, you know, just so the option is there).
Cut the strawberries in half. In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine strawberries, sugar and vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. In a blender, puree about 1/3 of sauce, then mix back into remainder. Store in refrigerator for later. I will tell you what to do with it. Don't touch it until then.
2. Prepare crust. Heat oven to 400°F. Lightly grease 9-inch springform pan with shortening; remove bottom. In medium bowl, mix all crust ingredients with fork until dough forms; gather into a ball. Press one-third of the dough evenly on bottom of pan. Place pan on cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown; cool. Assemble bottom and side of pan; secure side. Press remaining dough 2 inches up side of pan.
3. Increase oven temperature to 475°F. In large bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until smooth. Beat in eggs, 2 egg yolks and 1/4 cup whipping cream, beating on low speed until well blended. Pour into baked crust. Bake 15 minutes.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 200°F. Bake 1 hour longer. Cheesecake may not appear to be done, but if a small area in the center seems soft, it will become firm as cheesecake cools. (Please do not be inserting a knife to test for doneness because the hole could cause cheesecake to crack.) Turn off oven; leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven and cool in pan on cooling rack away from drafts 30 minutes.
5. Without releasing or removing side of pan, run metal spatula carefully along side of pan to loosen cheesecake. Refrigerate uncovered about 3 hours or until chilled; cover and continue refrigerating at least 9 hours but no longer than 48 hours.
6. Run metal spatula along side of pan to loosen cheesecake again. Remove side of pan; leave cheesecake on pan bottom to serve. Store covered in refrigerator.
If you made the personal choice to make the topping in step 1, apply this topping to the individual cheesecake slices at the time of serving.