This is the perfect solution for the oven-less baker!!
My sister's twin's first birthday is today so I drove back to Jackson to celebrate with the family. But a girl who is making 2 cakes every week for the heck of it really cannot show up at her nephew's birthday party without a cake. Someone was making cupcakes for the boys so it didn't need to be cutesy but it needed to be something.
So I flipped through the book. What could I possibly do without an oven. Or who could I possibly call to use their oven in this new town where I hardly know anyone yet.
Bingo. No bake cheesecake. And my sister's all time favorite dessert is... take a guess.. cheesecake. It couldn't have been more perfect.
I went to the grocery store and bought my stuff, laid it all out on the counter and then realized that in the move I lost my springform pan. Back to wal-mart. I hate having to double take.
First it was the graham cracker crumb crust. It was SO easy and turned out beautifully. I probably should have doubled the recipe though because I am such a huge fan of the crust on the cake.
Then I started making the custard. This was fun because I had a small audience while I was baking and it's always fun to impress people with the novelty of using a vanilla bean in baking instead of vanilla extract. Who knew vanilla really did come from a bean?
So I get half way through my custard and get ready to make my cream fraiche out of whipping cream and buttermilk ( I swore never to buy it from the grocery store again after the bad experience with the Whipped Cream Cake. But then I looked at the recipe for Creme Fraiche and what do you know, it has to sit for 8 hours. That just won't do.
By now the custard beginnings are sitting there looking at me longingly for their next addition of creme fraiche.
A friend volunteers to go to the grocery store and pick some up for me so I sit back down and eat some dinner, thus prolonging the production of the cheesecake that has to be done at a reasonable hour because of my 8 o'clock class in the morning.
Guess what happens next? Our humble grocery store in small town, MS has no idea what creme fraiche is, nor do they sell it. I look at the recipe and it says that i'm supposed to scald it so i figure that it will become a liquid anyway so who cares if it becomes fluffy first or not. I mix some buttermilk and whipping cream together, stick it in the microwave, say a little prayer, and continue.
With all of it combined it looks pretty nice. My shattered hopes begin to be glued back together again.
Then for the Italian Meringue.
So easy. I didn't use superfine sugar on accident but I think it turned out just fine. I love boiling the water and the sugar in the nonstick because then you can see all the nice little bubbles- call me a nerd if you want but I think it's cool.
The Meringue is basically egg whites, sugar syrup, lemon juice and cream of tartar. The only huge difficulty that you have is in making sure that the sugar water doesn't get too hot when you boil it and that you mix it quickly enough into the egg whites so that it won't harden and get crunchy in your mixture. By the end mine was definitely hardening up so I was concerned that it would be crunchy but thankfully it wasn't.
Finally you just fold the meringue and the custard together and then pour it in the crust.
Then you put it in the REFRIGERATOR and not the oven.
I made the Cherry Coulis this morning. I had to use canned cherries rather then fresh ones because it's still a couple weeks before cherry season starts. I think that really would have made a difference. The cherries on top were a little too soggy for me but everyone else seemed ok with it.
Overall it was definitely a success. People came back for seconds (as did I). It was very fluffy. The only thing I would do differently next time is make sure that I got it out of the fridge right before I served because this Mississippi heat can melt a cheesecake pretty quickly.
Rose's Heavenly Cakes
Graham Cracker Crumb Crust- page 257
Custard Filling- page 258
Italian Meringue- page 259
Cherry Coulis- page 260