Makes 1 9-inch cheesecake Difficulty
1-1/2 lbs. strawberries 3 Tablespoons sugar 1-1/2 cups Pamela’s Butter Shortbread Cookies, finely ground into crumbs 1 cup plus 3 Tablespoons sugar 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1-1/2 lb cream cheese, at room temperature 1/4 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs, at room temperature 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 8 oz. marscarpone cheese, at room temperature
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Hull the strawberries and place in a single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle strawberries with sugar. Bake until the strawberries turn deep red and shrink slightly, about 1 hour. Transfer strawberries and any juices that may have accumulated on the pan to a bowl and mash with a potato masher. Let cool completely.
Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Stir together the cookie crumbs, 3 tablespoons sugar and the melted butter in a small bowl. Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan to make an even layer. Bake until the crust is firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cook completely.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Put the cream cheese into the bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with the paddle attachment) and mix on medium low speed until the cream cheese is creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the remaining cup of sugar and salt. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the vanilla extract and mascarpone cheese; mix for about 3 minutes.
Transfer about 5 cups of the cream cheese mixture to the bowl with the strawberries. Stir until combined. Pour the strawberry-cream cheese mixture on top of the crust, smoothing with a spatula so the layer is even. Carefully spoon dollops of the plain cream cheese mixture on top, smoothing with a clean offset spatual to form an even top layer.
Wrap the exterior of the springform pan with 2 layers of foil. Set the pan in a large roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water until the water reaches halfway up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake until set, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. Remove the springform pan from the water bath and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cool completely. Refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours (or overnight). Slice and serve.