Graham Cracker Crust:
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) graham cracker crumbs or digestive biscuits (crushed)
2 tablespoons (30 grams) granulated white sugar
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, melted
One 8-ounce (227 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup (240 ml) heavy whipping cream (contains 36-40% butterfat)
1 - 21 ounce (595 grams) can cherry pie filling
Graham Cracker Crust: In a large bowl, mix together the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom and up the sides of a well greased 8-9 inch (20-23 cm) tart pan with removable bottom. (A spring form pan can also be used. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and about one inch (2.5 cm) up the sides of the pan.) Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.
Cheesecake Filling: In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the vanilla extract.
In a clean bowl, beat the whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gradually fold or beat the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Pour the filling over the chilled graham cracker crust and smooth the top. Cover and place in the refrigerator for about an hour and then spread the cherry pie filling over the filling. Return to the refrigerator to chill for several hours, or even overnight.
Serves 6 - 8 people. Preparation time 20 minutes.
In the large category of cheesecakes, the one that is often overlooked, is what some call a "mock" cheesecake, but what I prefer to call a "No Bake" cheesecake. A No Bake Cheesecake, is just that, no baking in the oven is needed. Yet this cheesecake still has the rich and tangy flavor of cream cheese, and it is still smooth and creamy. The difference is that it does not contain eggs or flour (or other thickeners) and that is why it does not need to be baked. This also eliminates all the problems normally associated with cheesecakes, like over baking and cracking.
If you grew up in the Sixties, you will probably remember this No Bake Cheesecake dessert. While Julia Child may have been teaching the ways of French cooking, some women were looking for fast, easy, and delicious. This No Bake Cheesecake was the type of recipe found in women's magazines, community cookbooks, or passed from neighbor to neighbor. Mothers loved it because it could be whipped up in no time, it used common ingredients, and everyone, including children, loved it.
A No Bake Cheesecake uses a graham cracker crumb crust which is, by far, the simplest of all the pie crusts. (If you would like to add a ginger flavor to the crust, replace 1/2 cup (50 grams) of the graham cracker crumbs with crushed ginger gingers.) Now, if you have problems with getting the right crust consistency, the test to see if you have the right amount of crumbs to melted butter is, once you have mixed the ingredients together, to squeeze some in your fist. If the crumbs hold together, you have the perfect crust. Once the crust is made and pressed into the tart pan, it is left to chill in the refrigerator. The next step is to simply mix the filling ingredients together. This is done in two steps. First you beat the cream cheese until soft and creamy and then beat in the sugar and vanilla extract. (Try to use "pure" vanilla extract, not the "imitation", as they are made with synthetic vanilla (from glycoside found in the sapwood of certain conifers or from coal extracts) and leave a bitter after taste. Products labeled 'Vanilla Flavoring' are a combination of pure vanilla extract and imitation vanilla extract.) Then, in a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream or double cream (cream that contains 36-40% butterfat) until soft peaks form. The final step is to gradually fold, or beat, the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Once that is done, simply place the filling in the chilled crust, and refrigerate until firm. After an hour or two you can spread the cherry pie filling over the filling, or you can serve the filling on the side, which allows your guests to take as much, or as little, as they like. Another idea is to omit the cherry pie filling altogether and simply serve the cheesecake with fresh fruit or this strawberry sauce, raspberry sauce, or this blueberry sauce. No Bake Cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.