Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Today, I have a simple solution to the dilemma of cheesecake being difficult to make. This is a no bake cheesecake from the great and powerful Martha. Stewart that is. As for the cheesecake, it's amazing. Our son in love called it superb. That's pretty good, right?
This cheesecake is gluten free because I used crushed rice Chex instead of graham crackers for the crust. Just thought I'd throw that in in case you eat gluten free like our other son in love. Otherwise, it is a creamy, flavorful, easy confection to make. No baking! Yes!!!!
You will need a springform pan which is necessary for all cheesecakes. So if you don't have one, make a trip and purchase a 9 inch springform pan. You will find many uses for it once you have one in your pantry. I do use mine frequently.
Martha's cheesecake recipe is for a plain cheesecake. I felt the need to doctor mine up a bit because I asked Dan what he would like for dessert and he said anything with some chocolate. Okay, I can do that. Guess you can tell by the picture this is not a plain cheese cake.
2 packages (20 sheets) graham crackers, crushed (I used 4 cups rice Chex, crushed)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (I added these to my crust) - optional (not in Martha's recipe)
11 Tbsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp sugar
2 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 14 ounce can (1 1/4 cups) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Put graham crackers (or rice Chex) in a large resealable plastic bag, crush with a rolling pin until very fine crumbs form.
Pour crumbs in a medium bowl, stir in sugar. Add melted butter and chopped pecans and stir until well combined.
Press the crumb mixture into a 9 inch springform pan, spreading it 1 1/2 to 2 inches up the sides of the pan. Press flat. Chill crust in freezer at least 20 minutes.
While crust is chilling, make the filling. Using an electric mixer set at medium high speed, beat the cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in the condensed milk a little at a time, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the lemon juice and vanilla. Try not to eat it all before you put it in the crust.
Pour the filling into the crust (after removing from the freezer), smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours.
Unclasp sides of pan and remove cheesecake.
Now, how easy is that? No baking, no water bath, no big crack in the top of the cake when it doesn't bake evenly. It is not as tall as the cheesecake I normally bake, but who cares? It is every bit as good and twice as easy to make.
After I poured the filling in the crust and smoothed it, I sprinkled several hands full of sliced almonds all over the top. You could use any chopped nut you preferred, but the almonds rocked. Then, I put about 5 squares of semi sweet baking chocolate in a bowl and melted it over simmering water (a double boiler). I used a spoon and drizzled the chocolate all over the top of the cake. It looked fabulous, and I put it in the fridge to chill.
When I opened the fridge, there was a box of strawberries looking right at me and they said, "hey, we would make a beautiful topping for the cheesecake." Yep, I did it. I took the tops off, put them in a pan, added about 2/3 cup of sugar, mashed some of them with a potato masher to make some juice and simmered them until the juice thickened. Just let me say, that was a very good decision. When it was dessert time, we sliced that cake up and spread some strawberry happiness over it. Wowsa! Wonderful goodness is all I can say.
Now I really wish I had a piece with some coffee. You want one too don't you?
Well, get busy. Make one. Share it - or don't. Eat it all yourself if you want. It's worth it. Believe me. Just ask Todd, he said it was top notch. Todd knows his desserts.
Things to Remember: