No-Bake Frozen "Cheesecake"

by Sarah on July 30, 2011 · 7 comments

Happy National Cheesecake Day!

Oh yes, yet another of the random food holidays I put on the calendar, fully intending to celebrate, and pretty regularly actually do. Truth be told, however, I almost let this one slide. But when my dear friend Liz commented that today was National Cheesecake Day, and that her Kraft recipe magazine had told her so…well, if Kraft is going to celebrate, I better step up my game and celebrate, too!*
*But no, I was not going to make a Kraft Macaroni & Cheese-cake. Although now that I think about that a little more…I might be on to something.
And so I made for y’all Maple Blueberry Ricotta No-Bake Frozen Cheesecake in a Peanut Butter Banana Graham-a Crust. Which is a mouthful. [In more ways than one.]Harping on the success of my Cherry Berry Ricotta Cheesecakes, I attempted to continue with the no-bake, almost instant, perfect-for-the-lazy-baker-in-all-of-us plan of action with a mixture of ricotta and cream cheese forming an easy-to-create ‘cake of cheese.’I decided to be even LAZIER than usual (perhaps because I had exerted so much effort in making a crust from scratch?), and utilize my food processor.I was moseying along…mixing and tasting and loving what was happening with the addition of the maple syrup.I was making a wee bit of a mess, but y’all know that ain’t no thang for me. [A messy kitchen is a happy and productive kitchen!]The blueberries were a choice made solely because they were on sale–as per usual—and because I was daydreaming on the treadmill about my favorite maple yogurt mixed with blueberries.*
*And also peanut flour…hence the Peanut Butter Banana Graham-a Crust. But we’ll get to that.I pulsed them just three or four times, so that the blueberries* would still be chunky, but also let out a little of their juice into the mixture.
*I almost shortened that to bloobs in a strange state of blog-reading-induced language displacement but then I remembered that bloobs sounds like “boobs” and if you accidentally read boobs in that sentence…well, just try it. You’ll see.Meanwhile, I constructed my pie crust in a brilliant flash of genius whereby I decided to eliminate the butter from a standard graham cracker crust and substitute it with PEANUT butter instead.I crushed up a sleeve of graham crackers (which equals to about 1 1/2 cups of crumbs, in case you ever wondered…but maybe that’s just me?).And to the crumbs I added some kind-of*-carefully measured globs of peanut butter.
*Kind of, like sort of, is really a horrific adverbial phrase, isn’t it? And yet, it is music to the ears of the commitment phobic (foodies) like myself.As I had a random banana lying on the counter (given to me by a co-worker whom had been gifted it…as though we were playing “hot banana” instead of “hot potato”), and because we all know that peanut butter + graham crackers + banana is a flavor combination universally considered to be delicious…well, I threw some of that in, too.I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t save some of the “crust” crumblies to sprinkle onto my breakfast this week.
It was quite graham-azing…
…so I pressed it into an over-sized pasta bowl (instead of a pie plate), preparing to be bowled over* with yumminess when my cheesecake came together.
Except there were a few small problems.It didn’t. [Come together that is.]I never intended for this cheesecake to be frozen. But sometimes, we stumble upon deliciousness while attempting to solve problems and refusing to give up on our recipe dreams.There were two reasons for my almost-fail. First, I should have baked the pie crust. It was a little loose, but holding together, so I thought I’d be fine.
Second was my unforeseen over-whipping by trying to use a food processor instead of a whisk or a wooden spoon to combine everything together.What to do when it won’t set up but you know it tastes great? Freeze it! [Not completely…just for two hours or so.]
After all, we could make a case that a frozen cheesecake is even better than one you baked.

Trust me, I should know. That whole “willpower” thing flew out the window once I had one bite…and I maybe-kinda-sorta ate the entire bowl of cheesecake. I’m not proud of it. But I’m not sorry. Of course that’s why my trip to the grocery store last night resulted solely in fruit and vegetable purchases.

Dairy-free was the way to be.

So go ahead and indulge in a fairly healthy spin on cheesecake. It’s cold. It’s creamy. It’s pretty darn awesome. I just recommend that you try and remember to share. :)

Maple Blueberry No-Bake Cheesecake
with Peanut Butter Banana Graham-a Crust
[Serves 8]

For the crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs [one sleeve of honey graham crackers, ground in the food processor]
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) peanut butter
1/2 medium banana

For the filling:
8 oz. cream or neufchatel cheese
2 cups low-fat ricotta cheese
1 tsp. vanilla extract
6 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
1 cup blueberries +

1. In a food processor, process graham crackers, peanut butter, and banana until the mixture sticks together in clumps.
2. Press crust into a pie plate or divide into low-edged bowls or ramekins.
3. Rinse processor bowl and blade, and then add all fillings ingredients (except blueberries) to the processor bowl.
4. Process until smooth.
5. Add blueberries to cheese mixture. Pulse three or four times until berries are loosely chopped but not pureed throughout the mixture.
6. Pour filling into prepared crust.
7. Freeze cheesecake for about two hours, until firm, but not completely solid.
8. Top with extra blueberries and enjoy!

For those of you food processor phobes (or those who sadly don’t have one) out there: no worries! You can still make this recipe without the sharp blades of a machine. Simply use pre-crushed (or crushed in a Ziploc bag with a hammer or your hands) graham crackers and a strong arm bearing a spoon to make the crust.

In the manner of my Cherry Berry Cheesecake, whisk together the ricotta and cream cheeses, along with the maple syrup and vanilla. Coarsely chop the blueberries before adding them to the mixture. [Make it frozen or not…the choice is yours.]
Hooray! You, too, can celebrate National Cheesecake Day!

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celery and cupcakes July 30, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Yum! This looks seriously good! :)

Mary @ Bites and Bliss July 30, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I seriously need to keep up with these national food days. Cheesecake day's definitely not one to be missed!!
Looks delicious!

Maris (In Good Taste) July 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

You are a wonder! Great creation and that crust looks simply the best!

divinelykatherine July 30, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Please find a vegan version of this. Please. Or well…you can use Greek yogurt!

Allison July 31, 2011 at 12:54 am

I'm loving this idea. Cheesecake is one of my favorite desserts.

Jackie July 31, 2011 at 6:51 pm

This sounds and looks delicious. I love cheesecake. I will certainly be trying this recipe.

teabagginit July 31, 2011 at 7:25 pm

i hate this idea, and i hate you! nah, not really, just trying to be different! :)
those pics look great & super tasty. if i wasn't sure that the amount of dairy would send me to the floor in gassy pain, i'd be jumping all over this recipe! thanks for the food porn, anyways! :)

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