Yes it's true. You can have cheesecake without the hassle of baking and the addition of a Jello starter kit that (dare I say it?) actually tastes like a respectable cheesecake. Some might even prefer this to a classic baked cheesecake for it's creamy texture. It's thick and rich tasting strongly of sweetened cream cheese and cream, which is very reassuring since that is exactly what's in it. A few drops of lemon juice in the filling help it to taste fresh and lighter than it is, which is nice.
This was a Sk8 church dessert. It was a perfect pick because the filling could be doubled easily and make two cakes at once, plus it only took about 5 minutes to make. OK, maybe 6, but that's all. What had me sold though was that you could make it in advance (I made them that morning) and it could be sitting in the fridge all day just waiting for you to dump some fruit on top and call it dessert. Since I didn't know which fruit topping 16-18 year old hoodlum skaters would prefer (I say that with all due respect), I made sure to have a nice assortment. I made a couple fresh raspberry sauce topped ones, which is shown in the picture and I will include in the recipe. I also kept one plain for all the purists and I have to admit I cheated and unleashed some canned pie filling over the others in blueberry and cherry. I was specifically warned against this. I watched the episode in which Nigella Lawson made this and she pleaded with us to not use pie filling. Instead, she wanted us to use cherry conserve, which is different from jam, and since we don't live in Britain, hard to find. Pie filling it was. You can choose whatever you would like for your dessert.
No Bake Cheesecake
Adapted from Nigella Lawson
Yield: 1-9" cheesecake
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 10 crackers if making your own)
2 tablespoon sugar
3/4 stick soft unsalted butter
10 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
1 (10-ounce) jar black cherry spread, pie filling, or fresh raspberry sauce (recipe to follow)
Blitz the graham crackers in a food processor until beginning to turn to crumbs, then add the sugar and butter and whiz again to make the mixture clump. if using graham crackers crumbs, you can use a bowl and wooden spoon to mix the butter in, with the sugar added.
Press this mixture into a 8 or 9-inch spring form pan or a pie plate. press a little up the sides to form a slight ridge.
lightly beat the cream in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Take whipped cream out and place on a separate plate and set aside. Wipe the bowl clean (or not) and use it to combine the cream cheese mixture.
Beat together the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth. The lightly fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. (I stirred with the mixer on low until it combined all the way after folding just to make sure it was well incorporated).
Spoon the cheesecake filling on top of the crust and smooth with a spatula. Put in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight. When ready to serve, un-mold, if using a spring form pan, and spread your desired topping over the top.
Fresh Raspberry Sauce: Optional
1 cup red jelly (not jam) such as currant, raspberry or strawberry
3 half-pints fresh raspberries
melt the jelly in a small pan over low heat. In a bowl, toss the raspberries and the warm jelly gently until well mixed. Arrange the berries on top of the cake.
I used a pie tin to make this cheesecake instead of the traditional spring form pan. You can use either. The only reason I choose it is because I needed multiple cheesecakes for Sk8 church and only had 1 spring form pan.