Friday, September 9, 2011

Summertime Baking- No-Bake Cheesecake

If you know me, you know I like rich, heavy, decadent, chocolatey desserts.  The problem with that is, in the summertime, your belly can't always handle all that goodness when you live in sub-tropic heat indices like I do.  This summer I've ventured out of my chocolate bubble and have made some much lighter and fruitier sweets.  This one was a Lemon-Rasberry No-Bake Cheesecake.  You don't even have to turn the oven on, it's perfect!  So, read on and experience it with me!

I didn't take a picture of all the ingredients, but here's what you'll need..

For filling:
1. 3 Bricks cream cheese at room temperature
2. 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
3. 3 whole lemons
4. 1 1/3 cup fresh rasberries (more or less to your liking)
5. 1 full Tbsp vanilla extract
6. 12-16 oz. Whipped Topping (fresh whipped cream if you're cooler than me and make your own.)

For Crust:
1. 1 pack graham crackers
2. 2 heaping Tbsp brown sugar
3. 2/3 stick melted butter

The directions:
Put all sugar in your mixing bowl. I used Norma Jean, of course, but a regular bowl and good spoon will work too.

Go to Zesting Town with your 3 lemons. This will make your kitchen smell like a lemony happy place. But better than like a citrus glade plug in. This smell is ACTUAL lemon and not the fake nasty smell.

Once you have 3 lemons worth of zest, dump in in the pool with the sugar and mix it until the sugar is nice and moist and fragrant. DON'T TRHOW AWAY THE LEMON. We'll need them later.
If you have poor lighting in your kitchen as I do, it will like sort of like ground up corn at this point.
It gets better. Promise.

Next, add in the cream cheese. Make sure it's room temp.

Next add in your vanilla extract and 4 tsp. of fresh lemon juice.  Just cut your naked lemons and sqeeze keeping out the seeds. No one wants that in there bite...
One that is all mixed up, pile on the cool whip! "Fold" it in. All that means is: Try not to let all the air out of it, making a goupy mess.  

Once that is mixed, take your fresh rasberries and crush them slightly with a fork.
Notice, please, my very cute and summery bowl. It looks like an ice cream cone with chocolate drizzle.

Throw the berries in the pool and stir some more. The filling is complete!

Not make your crust.  Pulvarize the graham crackers while you ignore leftover noodles from dinner that are steadily hardening on the counter....
I forgot to photograph this part so here's how it went.
Ground crackers into a bowl, brown sugar in, melted butter in.
Stir with fork.
Press into bottom of pan.

Then spread the filling on top and it's ready!
It's better if you let it set up in the fridge overnight or at least a couple hours.

I'm happy to report only one casualty from this recipe.  The delightful, summery bowl I showed you sadly died as it broke in two as I hand-dried it just minutes after finishing the dessert. RIP.

The best thing about this recipe is that it can be adapted into just about any flavor. I made the same thing with peanut butter and a layer of ganache the other night for my friends, and it was a big hit! 

Enjoy the last days of the dwindling summer!

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