I got caught.
I thought I was doing so well to keep him from finding out until he came in and said, “What’s the pie for?”
Pie? There’s no pie! I said as a hovered around the Kitchenaid mixer to cover up the evidence. I had been so close.
Ok to be clear, it’s not like I have to make pies in secret because of some tyrannical anti-dessert fiancé or for some other crazy reason. I just wanted this to be the kind of dessert that was so quick and secretive that when Sam came into the kitchen to see if I was ready to go, I would just be drying my hands from putting some dishes away and it wouldn’t be until later when I pulled the glorious thing from the fridge that he would say, “When did you have time to make that?” Oh this old thing? I could make this in my sleep! Oh well. Maybe you can get away with that better than I could.
In my last post I talked about ruts and doing things out of habit, like eating sugar just because it’s always in front of me at work (the downside of working in a kitchen). The end of the school year brings many occasions for cakes: high school graduation, 8th grade graduation, 5th grade graduation, and your-child-finally-made-it-through-the-lunch-line-without-crying-graduation (no, just kidding, but seriously it happens). Constant cake means I have been tempted by the sweet taste of sugar far too often. So I told myself to start with one day without any desserts or baked goods (not completely eliminate sugar as found in my morning granola and fresh fruit) and take it one day at a time from there. It may sound like a small achievement, but I made it two days in a row and the second day I hardly even craved dessert. It felt good. The past few days since have been relatively low sugar (for me at least) so I have made it a general goal to be more aware and mindful of the amount of sugar I eat.
In that spirit (and because I had the itch to make something AND I had this graham cracker crust sitting on my counter for I don’t know how many weeks taking up prime real estate AND my friend was having a cookout to take it to) I made my first no-bake cheesecake.
Now I love cheesecake, but it can be heavy (to eat and to carry) and time consuming to make (time for some math!)
You have to
Let the cream cheese soften (sans microwave in my case) – 1 hour ish
Crush the graham cracker crumbs – 15 minutes?
Make the graham cracker crust – 5 minutes?
Whip all the ingredients together – (if they’re already measured, no biggie)
Bake it for forever – FOREVER
Cool it – can I just put it in the fridge already?
And then chill it for forever – FOREVER. That thing is solid warm cheesecake, which is probably not so delicious so seriously, let it chill.
Answer – Double forever + 2 hours ish?
This means you can count on eating your cheesecake at least double-forever (did I do that math right?) after you got the idea to make it.
Winning points for no-bake cheesecake: no cooking, no cooling, and shorter chilling! (And in my case pre-made graham cracker crust! Huzzah!) This cheesecake relies on gelatin to thicken it slightly along with some Greek yogurt for texture. I found this recipe online after a brief search and it totally fit the bill: quick and simply-made with the promise of a lighter, summer dessert. Topped with summer berries, this cheesecake turned out to be a winner. I might make it a little sweeter next time and maybe try another flavor although the little touch of lemon really brightens the flavor.
Did I ever tell you the story of how I got engaged? Probably not.
It’s a long one and a good one that I won’t go into on this post, but the point of mentioning it now is that someone got caught right before the big moment, due to a tiny little glitch in his plans (hopefully he doesn’t feel embarrassed that I’m sharing this…)
So if you’re ever looking to earn major Julia Child or Martha Stewart bonus points with someone, I recommend whipping this baby up while they’re in the shower or out for a run. Just make sure you account for any possibilities of them coming back early or showering too quickly or going into the shoe store right next to the jewelry store at the exact moment when someone is putting something important in his jacket pocket…<wink, wink> If you’re successful, congrats. You can act like it was no big thing when they find it in the fridge later. If not, you better think of a fast cover-up. Well regardless, just make sure you’re prepared for anything. Happy Summer baking (or no-baking)!
adapted from http://gourmeted.com/2010/03/28/no-bake-cheesecake/
1 pre-made 8-inch graham cracker crust (or make your own)
1 tsp. Knox unflavored gelatin (about 1/2 packet)
8-oz cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 + 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
3/4 cup Plain Greek Yogurt (2%)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Strawberries and blueberries to top it off
Measure gelatin into a small bowl and add 2 tablespoons of lukewarm water. Stir to dissolve and let sit 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add tablespoons more of hot water, stir, and let sit.
Beat softened cream cheese and sugar with a mixer for a minute or so until well mixed and light. (I love my Kitchenaid mixer for this!)
Add in lemon juice and zest, yogurt, cream, and vanilla and beat to incorporate, scrape the sides, and then beat again for 2 minutes. Slowly, with the mixer on ow add the gelatin and water mixture, scraping the sides throughout and beating for a few minutes to incorporate. Pour into the pie crust and chill for at least three hours. Top with berries of your choice, sweetened with honey or sugar as desired.