Light and Creamy No-Bake Cheesecake
- March 31, 2020
What a difference a month makes. Scratch that. Make it almost two months since I’ve posted here. Thanks to the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic, our new reality is blowing everyone’s mind. I don’t think any one of us could have ever imagined that we would be cooped up at home to “flatten the curve”; i.e. prevent further spread of the virus. It’s heartbreaking how humanity feels like it has gone to a screeching halt.
Over the past few weeks, a lot of folks—us included—have turned to the kitchen to nourish and de-stress ourselves. I have received multiple requests for recipes of my food blogs past and so I will start reviving them here as I find them from the archives myself. This Light and Creamy No-Bake Cheesecake is high on the list as it it was a popular thing in our family and amongst family friends when I was young. Not everyone had a working oven and this was fairly easy to make with ingredients that were easy to find.
A Taste of “Home”
While this is obviously not a Filipino dish in any way, This was a huge treat for the family when we were growing up. This was our fancy childhood homemade treat back when my mom used to make a lot of things in the kitchen even when she had a full-time job that required a lot of overtime work. This was my time with my mom in the form of a dessert. I did crust duty and I’d be the one to evenly press the buttery crumbs on the bottom of the pan. It is simple but absolutely delicious and up to this day my brother would ask me if I can make him just the crumb.
We had such fond memories of this that when we moved to Canada over two decades ago—us immigrants feeling the weight of “missing home”—we turned to mom for her go-to recipe for no-bake cheesecake. Then she said she doesn’t have the recipe and couldn’t remember how she made it. I needed this. At that time I was nowhere close to being a novice in the kitchen, but this challenged me to dig deep and TRY to remember the recipe, which I had never even read as a kid. All I had was a taste memory and visual recollection of the steps. Oh, right. I was also in charge of blooming the gelatin, so there was that. This was my first attempt at recreating that recipe from my childhood and it was a smashing success.
I’ll be honest with you—I haven’t made this in years, but now that I’m writing about it, I might just make it again soon.
I’ve reposted the recipe and text from my blog in all its 2008 glory—the same photos from that, too.
Light and Creamy No-Bake Cheesecake
For the Crust
- 1.5 cup Graham cracker crumbs
- 2 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp lemon zest
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
For the Filling
- 1 pkg Gelatine powder (Knox brand) 7 grams
- 1/2 cup water, divided
- 2 bars 8-oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Use any topping you wish. I used canned blueberry pie filling here, but you can easily make a compote of fruits in season.
- Line the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan with aluminum foil. You can use just one sheet of foil to cover the entire pan, just make sure the raised sides go up to at least 1.5 inches.
- Combine graham cracker crumbs *, sugar, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Add butter and mix until all the crumbs are moistened and a thick, crumbly paste forms. Pour graham crumb paste onto the lined springform pan. Level and press to the bottom of the pan using a rubber spatula and neatly taper at the edge. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Mix gelatin crystals and 1/4 cup water in a small bowl and allow to bloom for 5 minutes. Heat the other 1/4 cup water for 30 seconds in the microwave on high and pour into the gelatin bloom. Stir to dissolve, and allow to cool.
- Place cream cheese, granulated sugar and lemon juice in a large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (you can use a hand mixer as well). Mix on low to break down the cream cheese for 30 seconds, and increase to medium speed for another 1 minute. Scrape the sides of the bowl and add sour cream, whipping cream, Greek yogurt and vanilla extract. Mix on medium for 30 seconds, scrape the sides, and then up the speed to medium-high for 2 minutes, until smooth and fluffy.
- Starting on low speed again, pour gelatin into the cream cheese mixture. Then bump up to medium speed for a minute, scraping the sides of the bowl after 30 seconds.
- Pour into the springform pan with crust and level with a spatula. Tap pan lightly against the counter to get rid of air bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.
- Unhinge the springform pan and remove it from the cake. Carefully slide off the cake, still on the foil, onto a serving plate. You can tear out the sides of the aluminum foil or carefully slide it side to side to unstick it from the crust, and remove. To smooth the sides of the cake, slide the smooth edge of a table knife around it to create a smooth even surface. Pour your topping/s of choice before serving. It gets even better after 2 or 3 days!
- Store in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap to prevent the exposed areas from drying out.