May 1, 2011

Icebox Cheesecake

I had the pleasure of tasting a really delicious homemade cheesecake a few weeks ago that was unlike any I'd had before.  This wasn't your typical New York style, i.e., super dense and heavy.  Instead it was light as a feather with the perfect balance of cream cheese and subtle sweetness.  Topped with fresh berries it was too tempting for me to resist.  Ok...I admit I helped myself to more than a few slices!

Weeks passed and I still kept thinking about that cheesecake - surely a telltale sign that I had to make it.  Armed with the only clues I had, that it contained cream cheese, cream and gelatin, I began my research online.

Luckily I found this no-bake cheesecake recipe from Cook's Country TV, sister show of America's Test Kitchen.  The best thing about this version is that you only bake the graham cracker crust, not the filling.  No pesky water baths and cracked tops to deal with....right up my alley!  After tasting the finished product I'd say I think I came pretty darn close to the original.    

If you're craving a cheesecake that won't set you back a few heart attacks I definitely recommend this one.

Icebox Cheesecake (adapted from Cook's Country TV)

1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 8 whole crackers)
1 tablespoon sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and kept warm

1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (I use Knox brand)
2/3 cup sugar
1 lb cream cheese, cut in to 1-inch chunks and softened to room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
pinch of salt

For the crust: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Stir graham cracker crumbs and sugar together in medium bowl, then add butter and stir well with fork until mixture resembles wet sand. Transfer crumbs to 9-inch springform pan and use bottom of measuring cup to firmly press crumbs into even layer over bottom of pan. Bake crust until fragrant and beginning to brown, about 13 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack, at least 30 minutes.

For the filling: Pour 1/4 cup heavy cream into microwave-safe measuring cup. Add gelatin and whisk to combine. Let stand until gelatin is softened, about 5 minutes, then microwave on high power for about 30 seconds, or until cream is bubbling and gelatin is completely dissolved. Set aside.

Using electric mixer, beat remaining 1 1/4 cups heavy cream and sugar in large bowl at medium-high speed until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes. Add cream cheese and beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute (a few coffee bean-sized lumps may remain). Scrape bottom and sides of bowl well with rubber spatula.

Add vanilla and salt and continue to beat at medium-low speed until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl again. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until mixture is smooth, about 3 minutes. Add dissolved gelatin mixture continue to beat at medium-high until smooth and airy, about 2 minutes.

Pour filling into cooled crust and, using offset or icing spatula dipped in hot water, spread filling out evenly. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but for best results refrigerate overnight. To serve, wrap hot, damp kitchen towel around springform pan. Unlock pan and carefully lift off sides. Slip thin metal spatula under crust and carefully slide cheesecake onto serving platter.


  1. Anonymous5/01/2011

    looks just as nice as Trine's cake!

  2. Whoa, whoa, whoa... I almost gobble up my computer screen. It's so inviting, the photo!

  3. Anonymous5/04/2011

    Yum!! This looks delicious!

  4. This looks lovely but I don't eat gelatine! :-(

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  8. thanks for this great recipe. will add this on our picnic this weekend. many thanks!


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