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My earliest memory of cheesecake was an unsettled one. I was about 9. My great grandmother mixed one up and then set it out on the front porch overnight. Now I'm assuming that it wasn't summertime during this even, but I still remember thinking, "umm, shouldn't something like this be in the fridge?" Clearly I should have grown up to be a health inspector.
Aside from her questionable storage, it was beautiful and delicious. Once I got over the first few moments of trepidation, I succumbed to how good it tasted and convinced myself I was in the clear. Creamy sweetened cream cheese topped with bright red strawberries. And the best part for her was that it was no-bake. Just press the graham cracker crumbs in the pan, fill, top with berries, and chill. Confectioners' sugar dissolves easily in the egg-less batter, which is brightly flavored with lemon zest and lightened with whipped cream. Unbaked cheesecakes are refreshing compared to your average baked cheesecake, making them a perfect Spring dessert, especially when topped with big juicy berries. You might think that an egg-less, no-bake cheesecake needs something to hold it together, like gelatin, but it really doesn't. The thick cream cheese is enough to keep things cohesive. But that said, the texture becomes soft at room temperature, so keep it chilled to get perfectly slice-able pieces.
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About the author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog, shophousecook.com, or follow her on Twitter @yvonneruperti.