All the flavors of strawberry cheesecake with almost none of the work.
I do love cheesecake, as does my family. It’s a delightfully indulgent dessert to be enjoyed on a birthday or special occasion. However, it requires careful baking. Don’t want to underbake it and deliver a cheesecake that is raw; don’t want to overcook it and have a cheesecake that is cracked and dry. Never mind, who wants to bake something in the oven for over an hour in the midst of summer?
Hey, heatwaves and humidity! I’ve found the solution to cheesecake cravings without turning on the oven.
For me, what makes cheesecake so enjoyable is two things. First, there’s the tangy bite of a cream cheese cheesecake. While the ricotta versions are fine, I really like the tangy bite that cream cheese delivers. Second is the rich creaminess of this style. When done properly, it’s smooth yet weighted on your tongue. This dessert lets you know that’s it is indulgent and needs to be eaten in moderation.
With those two key qualities in mind, I set about to make a no-bake version. The bottom layer was easy. Crush graham crackers. There’s no need for melted butter to bind the crumbs. When spooning a bite of the parfait, you’ll grab a bit of each layer easily. The top layer was also easy. Make a simple strawberry sauce. It was the middle (and main) layer that concerned me. How to get a velvety texture that wasn’t overwhelmingly heavy?
Let’s just say that is most assuredly a non-diet week dessert. As a no-bake, there are no eggs, but there’s heavy cream to replace them, making it a caloric dessert. However, it’s good to splurge sometimes. Plus, it’s made in single serving containers, so you can decide how big the indulgence will be. And then- Eat. Only. One. Serving.
- 2 cup diced strawberries
- 6 Tb. sugar, divided
- 1 Tb. cornstarch
- 1 Tb. water
- 1-1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs, about 6 whole sheets
- 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
- 6 Tb. heavy cream
- Combine strawberries, 2 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch, and water in a small pot over medium heat.
- Heat until thickened, about 3 minutes.
- Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
- Place graham crackers in a small, resealable bag, and crush into crumbs with a rolling pin.
- Add 2 tablespoons sugar to bag, shaking gently to mix.
- Divide graham crumb mixture between two parfait glasses.
- Place cream cheese, heavy cream, and 2 tablespoons sugar in stand mixer bowl with whisk attachment.
- Whisk on high for about 1 minute, or until firm peaks are formed.
- Divide cheesecake mixture between parfait glasses; smooth layer.
- Top each with half of strawberry mixture.
- Refrigerate parfaits for an hour before serving.