It’s What’s Cooking Wednesday and today it’s all about a light refreshing summer dessert. I don’t know about where you live, but here in the Tumbleweed area of southeastern Washington, it has been a very hot and dry summer.
Most of the time that’s just the way we like it in this agriculturally lush area, but for the past few weeks the temperatures have been consistently above 100 and the air is thick with smoke. Our neighbors to the north in British Columbia are battling several summer forest fires and the smoke has made its way down to us. Our hope is that the firefighters can soon contain these fires to minimize the loss of forests and personal property.
With all of this heat and poor air quality, we are eating lighter, colder meals of salads, fruit, cottage cheese and sandwiches.
In the spirit of cold menu choices, I whipped up a batch of my no-bake cheesecake, and rather than putting it in a pie plate, put it into tart shells for easy individual servings.
Disclaimer: This is not my original recipe. I think I initially got it from my mother, and have seen something like it on the back of the graham cracker crust packaging as well. I have made it for over 30 years, and it is so easy, I no longer need a recipe card to make it. I do know that if I don’t make it as part of the desserts on Christmas Eve, my son Bryan will have something to say about that!
Easy No-Bake Cheesecake
8 ounce package of Cream Cheese (I have used the light variety with no noticeable difference)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is best, but bottled will work fine)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
With an electric mixer (stand or hand) combine cream cheese and condensed milk and blend for a couple of minutes until combined and fluffy. With spatula, stir in lemon juice and vanilla. Pour into prepared graham cracker crust or tart shells. Refrigerate for 2 hours until firm. Top with pie filling or fresh fruit and serve.
I told you it was easy! It is also very versatile, as you can top it with lemon curd, jam, or whatever fresh fruit you have on hand. One year for an open house, I made cherry cheesecake shooters in little glasses, layering graham cracker crumbs, the filling, and fruit. Very fun!
As we are enjoying the last days of a warm, albeit smoky, summer, it feels good to enjoy as many cold salads, entrees and desserts as possible. This quick and simple cheesecake recipe might be just the ideal refreshing finish to your next meal.