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No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
Kicking off No-Bake Summer Break with a slice of creamy cheesecake.
Or shall I call us ‘Dessert Makers?’ Because this month, I’m giving the oven a rest.
Keep the ovens off but the sweet ON for our No-Bake Summer Break! From ice cream to decadent pies, you’re gonna crush this line up of no-bake recipes without even breaking a sweat.
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First up, this Strawberry Cheesecake. With strawberries at their peak, they pack so much flavor into this delightful, pink cheesecake. It is velvety smooth and much lighter than traditional varieties.
So if there are no eggs, no baking, and no dreadful water-bath, what is it?
No-bake cheesecake is a blend of cream cheese and whipped heavy cream. The two bases, along with fresh strawberry puree, are gently folded together to make a smooth, slightly sweet dessert. The whole thing firms up in the refrigerator instead of the oven.
Unlike a rich, custardy baked cheesecake, the mousse-like texture in this version is light and creamy. I love how it compliments the snappy graham cracker crust. The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for the cheesecake to set, so plan accordingly.
No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecake
For the Crust
1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
1 ½ tablespoons granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
In a mixing bowl, stir together the graham cracker crumbs and granulated sugar. Add the melted butter and stir to evenly moisten the crumbs. The mixture should hold together when squeezed.
Tip about ½ of the crumb mixture into a 9-inch springform pan. Press the crumbs into the corners and slightly up the sides of the pan, about ½-inch.
Add the remaining crumb mixture to the bottom of the pan and press evenly with the bottom of a straight-sided measuring cup or drinking glass.
Place the crust in the refrigerator.
For the Strawberry Puree
2 cups (300 g) strawberries, halved
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Measure out 1 cup of puree and set aside.
For the Cheesecake
¼ cup (60 ml) water
2 ½ teaspoons (one packet) unflavored gelatin
16 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 cup strawberry puree
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
½ cup sour cream
Place the water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin on top and allow it to bloom, 5 minutes.
With a stand or hand mixer, thoroughly mix the cream cheese until smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl. Add the sugar and continue to mix until well combined. The mixture should be smooth and without lumps.
Zap the gelatin mixture in the microwave for about 10 seconds to liquify. Stir the liquid gelatin into 1 cup of strawberry puree. Pour the strawberry mixture along with the vanilla into the cream cheese mixture and mix until combined. Set aside.
In a clean bowl, whisk the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar with a stand or hand mixer until thickened and it holds stiff peaks. Add the sour cream and mix until just combined.
Add half of the whipped cream to the strawberry cream cheese mixture and fold until just combined. Add the remaining whipped cream and fold until smooth.
Remove the crust from the refrigerator and tip the strawberry cream cheese mixture into the pan. Spread with an offset spatula to smooth out the top.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 to 6 hours or overnight before serving.
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh strawberries, halved
Whip the cream and sugar together until they hold medium peaks. Add the vanilla extract and mix to combine.
Using a piping bag fitted with a star tip, pipe whipped cream around the top edge of the cheesecake as desired. Top with fresh strawberries.
Serving and Storage:
Keep the cheesecake refrigerated until ready to serve. Carefully run a thin knife around the inner edge of the springform pan before releasing the clasp and removing the collar.
Cut the cheesecake with a sharp knife. If you are struggling to get clean slices, try running the blade under hot water, then carefully drying it off before cutting. Carefully clean the knife between slices.
Store the cheesecake loosely covered with plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
If you want to speed things up, you may put the cheesecake in the freezer for an hour before serving. (About 4 hours in the refrigerator and 1 hour in the freezer worked for me). Do not freeze the cheesecake all the way through or it may lose its creamy texture.
The gelatin helps set the cheesecake and gives it a mousse-like texture. While it may be possible to make the cheesecake without gelatin, I can’t be sure that the finished cheesecake will easily slice.
Make sure to completely liquify the gelatin after blooming to ensure that it combines with the strawberry cream cheese mixture.