Beautifully light pink in color, chilled through and decorated before serving with a drizzle of dark chocolate, this is a dessert to remember. And no baking! (OK, just the crust needs baking. But you can actually skip the crust if you’re in a hurry. Read on.)
Back when my daughter was young, I baked at least once a week, cookies, brownies, apple crisp, etc. Now that it’s just myself and my husband at home, we still enjoy desserts, but we don’t want more than a serving or two – and nobody wants a 9-inch cheesecake lingering in the refrigerator all week, begging to be eaten. These last few years, I’ve been carefully editing my dessert recipes to reduce each one to a smaller, more manageable size. My tiny little desserts are designed to be two-to-four servings each (also known as “personal size” in my household).
Make this no-bake cheesecake in whatever type of pan you want: a pie plate, or a five-inch or seven-inch spring form pan, or even individual Pyrex glass dishes with lids.
I have chosen to use a five-inch spring form pan, shown here.
If you choose to make the crust, you can use whatever crust recipe you love most; or you can my tried-and-true favorite chocolate cookie crust recipe below.
There are three steps to this recipe: (a) the raspberry puree; (b) the crust; and (c) the filling.
Step 1 – making the raspberry puree:
This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated. I like to make it the night before so I’m not on my feet for too long at any one time, always a factor in my recipes:
1 cup of frozen raspberries
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1 1/2 Tbsp. of lemon juice (start with 1 Tbsp. and taste it before adding more)
Put the raspberries in a saucepan with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
Taste and adjust the lemon juice, adding more if needed. Strain out the seeds and set aside to cool.
There should be about 1/3 cup of raspberry puree.
Step 2 – making the optional chocolate cookie crust:
Skip this step entirely, if you don’t feel like baking. I happen to love a crunchy chocolate cookie crust, so I make this whenever I have a chance. Any other type of cookie crust would work, too.
2/3 cup Nabisco chocolate wafer cookie crumbs, about 15 cookies
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. sugar
1/3 tsp. instant espresso powder or ground coffee
a pinch of sea salt
Break up the cookies and place in a food processor; pulse until the consistency is uniformly like coarse sand.
Combine the cookie crumbs with the other ingredients.
Spray (with baking spray) or butter the bottom and sides of your baking dish and press the cookie crumbs mixture into the bottom and sides of whatever dish(es) you are using; bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.
Depending on the size of your dish(es), you may not need all of the chocolate cookie crust mixture; it should just cover the bottom of the pan without being too thick. Remove from the oven and allow to cool while you prepare the filling.
You can leave the crust out for an hour or two before adding the filling. Take a break – sit down and have lunch!
Step 3 – White Chocolate Raspberry Filling:
OK, now it’s time to get serious.
6 ounces of white chocolate, chopped
12 ounces (one and one-half packages) of cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Melt the white chocolate, stirring often, either in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pot of simmering water (a “double boiler”); the simmering water should be about an inch deep so it does not actually touch the bottom of the glass bowl. Microwaves are faster, it’s true, but white chocolate can burn very quickly, so the double boiler method is more dependable. Have you ever burned your last bit of chocolate in the microwave and had to rush out to buy more? Or is that just me?
In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer, beat the cream cheese and vanilla until it is light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar (slowly/carefully, please, so it doesn’t wind up on your ceiling) and beat until smooth. Slowly add in the melted chocolate and beat to incorporate. Add the raspberry puree and beat just until combined.
Pour the white chocolate raspberry mixture onto the crust, or into the individual bowls or containers.
Refrigerate for an hour uncovered in the refrigerator; then cover with a layer of waxed paper (so it does not stick to the surface), followed by a layer of plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, top with dark chocolate curls made by using a vegetable peeler along the narrow edge of a candy bar, or – and this is my current favorite – drizzle with chocolate ganache.
To make chocolate ganache, melt 1/3 cup bittersweet chocolate chips with 2 Tbsp. heavy cream and stir until smooth, then decorate the plate before you place the slice of cheesecake on it, or drizzle some on top of the slice. Or both. Definitely both.