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Friday, March 18, 2011

No bake, No problem!

This is the second time I am writing this post as I somehow lost everything I had written before.  It was sad, so this post is a bit late.  It was another busy week, I had month end at work and then after a long hiatus (which now after getting back into it, I don’t know why I stopped)  I got myself back into hot yoga.  It is just so relaxing and peaceful.   I also decided to go out for dinner on the night I guarantee myself to bake, so I needed something quick.   Last summer I had baked my friend Jeff some mini cheesecakes for his birthday, he has been bugging me ever since to make them again.  In a small attempt to ease the pressure and appease his craving I thought I would put together a no-bake cheesecake.   I figured this had to be a win-win situation.   I have also put out a lot of chocolate related desserts lately and wanted to go with more fruit focus this time around.   I am a big fan of strawberry cream cheese and since it holds the same consistency as regular cream cheese I figured there is no good reason why I should not be able to bake with it.

NO BAKE STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE

INGREDIENTS:

Crust

  • 9 large graham cracker squares (about 1 ¼ cup crumbs)
  • 1/4 cup all bran
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted.


Cheesecake

  • 8 oz strawberry light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8-9 medium strawberries, sliced
  • 2 oz each of semi-sweet and white chocolate chips  ( I couldn't resist at least a little bit of chocolate)











                                                                               INSTRUCTIONS:
    
     1) Preheat oven to 325F. (I baked my crust even though most no bakes say you don’t have to)  In a food processor, blend together the graham crackers and brown sugar.  You can add the all-bran here as well, I just happen to do it as an afterthought in my mini processor.   In another bowl mix together with a wooden spoor or spatula the crumbs and butter until the crumbs are moistened.   Press down into a 9 inch tart pan, pressing up the sides to form an edge.    Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let cool.
      2) Melt both chocolates in a double boiler, stirring as it melts to become smooth.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.    Drizzle on top of the cooled crust.   Then place the sliced strawberries on top of the chocolate in a nice flat layer.
       3) Beat the cream cheese and sugar in a medium bowl (or your mixer bowl) until smooth.   In another medium bowl using beaters (or my preference the Braun whisk attachment), whisk to just beyond soft peaks.   Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture with the vanilla until combined
      4) Spread the combined mixture onto the crust with an offset spatula until flat and smooth.   Let rest covered with saran or in an air tight container for 3 hours or overnight.
      5) Garnish with any leftover sliced strawberries before serving. 


This is a great quick dessert.  I don’t often do a lot of no bake cheesecakes but I enjoyed this one.  It was light and fluffy, with the feeling of less dessert guilt.   Using the strawberry cream cheese was a nice change to most cheesecakes I have tried and the small layer of chocolate and strawberries in between was subtle but sweet.  I baked my crust as I wanted it to hold together better than a no bake might and although it didn’t hold together as much as I wanted it should be an easy fix for the next time around. Simply a bit more butter or a little less crumb.   This is a good go to recipe when you are in a pinch for time and looking for something lighter than traditional cheesecake that still delivers the same great flavour.




MEG's RATING: D-EEE-LICIOUS
(A bit more tweaks to make)










PRODUCT REVIEW :   Braun Hand Blender - Processor Attachment
A couple weeks back I raved about my Braun whisk attachment and briefly mentioned that you need to make sure you get all 3 attachments when buying the hand blender.   The mini processor is the third attachment.   Again I cannot even tell you how many times I have used this.  It can be used to process so many different items - crumbs, nuts, pesto, fruit purees, carrots for cake,  it is incredible!  Now understand this is no Vita-mix blender and its processing capabilities are only so powerful, however in a pinch or for quick small  processing needs, this is your tool.  It's compact and easy to clean.   It also comes with a lid allowing you to blend and then store or refrigerate for  use at a later time.  Keep your large food processor clean, your mini Braun processor is here to save the day.
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