Saturday is National Cheesecake Day, and there isn’t anything much more decadent in the summer months than a cool, rich cheesecake topped with fresh fruit.
My mother, Dot Sexton, often made the no-bake variety of cheesecake smothered with fresh cherries or strawberries in their own sweetened syrup. The fruit topping was easy, just chopped and mashed berries topped with a cup of sugar and left to set for an hour or so. She generously topped the cheesecake with the fruit mixture.
No Bake Cheesecake
1 pre-packaged graham cracker pie crust
1 8 ounce package of softened cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can of Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup lemon juice
Beat cream cheese in mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add sweetened condensed milk; blend thoroughly. Stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into pie crust and refrigerate for several hours until set. Top with fresh fruit.
This recipe was often made into tiny tartlets made in miniature cupcake wrappers and topped with one strawberry or cherry and syrup. It was an easy sweet hors d'oeuvre to serve for a baby or wedding shower
For those who want to pull out the spring form pan they got as a wedding gift, baking a traditional cheesecake takes a bit longer, but the no-bake version can never match its richness and texture. The trick is to make sure the center is set just right or it will crack.
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons sugar
1/3 cup melted butter
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 eggs, separated
1 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
For the crust, combine all ingredients and press against sides and bottom of 9-inch spring form pan.
For the filling, mix together cream cheese, sugar, four egg yolks, lemon juice and vanilla in with an electric mixer. In another bowl, beat four egg whites until stiff and creamy. Fold egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour into crust in the spring form pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for another hour with the door closed.
Freeze several hours before serving. Remove from freezer and remove from pan before allowing the cheesecake to thaw.
If you really want to wow guests, try a chocolate cheesecake with a crushed Oreo cookie crust and a chocolate ganache top.
2 cups Oreos (about 22-24 cookies), crushed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
32 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
½ cup sour cream, room temperature
1¼ cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the crust, grease a 9-inch spring form pan with butter and set aside. Add crushed Oreo's and butter to a medium bowl and mix until combined and the texture is similar to wet sand. Press Oreo crumbs into the prepared pan and bake for 8 minutes. Take out of the oven and allow it to cool.
For the filling, with a mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy for two to three minutes. Add in sour cream, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Mix until combined. Make sure to scrap the sides of the bowl.
Add in cooled chocolate and mix until combined. Pour cheesecake mixture into the cooled pan.
Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the top looks set.
Run a thin knife around the edge of the pan to prevent cracking. (Leave the cake in pan). Cool completely on a wire rack.
Cover loosely with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight to chill and set. A couple of hours before serving prepare ganache and spread onto cheesecake. Let set before serving (1 to 2 hours).
For the chocolate ganache, add chocolate chips and heavy cream to a medium microwave safe bowl. Heat 15 second intervals until fully melted. Allow the ganache to cool for about 2-3 minutes. Pour and spread on top of the cake. Place back into the fridge to allow the ganache to set.
My grandmother loved chocolate turtles, and every Christmas, without fail, she would receive a dozen or so tins of the candies to last her well into the spring. Whenever I come across a turtle cheesecake in a restaurant, it makes me think of my grandmother and her stash of treats hidden from my grandfather in the bottom of her deep freezer.
First layer of crust
2 1/2 cups graham crackers
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup melted butter
Second layer of crust
3 Tablespoons milk
1/2 Cup chopped pecans
3 (8 ounces each) packages cream cheese
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 whole eggs
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup hot fudge, heated
10 melted caramels
For the first layer of crust, mix together graham crackers, sugar and melted butter. Bake in 9 inch spring form pan for 10 minutes and let cool.
For the second layer of crust, melt caramels and milk in microwave on medium power. Pour over cooled crust, and sprinkle on the 1/2 cup chopped pecans.
For the filling, mix cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth; scraping side of bowl to ensure creaminess. Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Pour this mixture over the caramel layer on top of the crust. Bake at 325 degrees approximately 30-40 minutes or until center is set. Arrange pecans around outside edge of cheesecake, drizzle top with melted caramel and hot fudge.