Food & Wine (July 2014)
This isn't our usual kind of recipe.
Everything comes pre-made out of a jar; you essentially just mix a few things together in a bowl and then layer it in a loaf pan and shove it in the fridge. Then you dump some fresh fruit on top and serve.
But sometimes, this is exactly the kind of recipe you need to have in your back pocket, to throw together at the (relatively) last minute.
The other day we were in need of an easy dessert that we could make in advance and take to a dinner. See, months ago we committed ourselves to cooking a charity dinner for six, prepared by us (it was included as an auction item at a fundraiser). Turns out, the dinner needed to take place in the burbs. On a Friday. At 6 p.m. With rush hour traffic -- and needing to be there in time to finish prepping the food -- that meant leaving D.C. at 4. Which of course meant we had to make most of the meal -- and especially the dessert -- well in advance.
That's when we saw this Lemony Layered Cheesecake in Food & Wine. Everything comes pre-made out of a jar. You essentially just mix a few things together in a bowl, layer it in a loaf pan and then shove it in the fridge. Then you dump some fresh fruit on top and serve!
Maybe this was our kind of recipe!
If you wanted to fancy this up a bit, you certainly could. We definitely would have enjoyed a stronger lemon flavor; some fresh zest mixed into the cream and cheese would be great! And the same goes for the cheese itself: We love a cheesecake with a lot of tangy sharpness. This one, which uses mascarpone, is rather mild. It would be fun to experiment with reducing the mascarpone and maybe adding in some sharper flavors with a tangy cream cheese.
But it's also pretty great as it is. We love the combination of the graham crackers with the lemony (mild) creamy cheese. And the fresh blueberries add the perfect sweetness. Needless to say, you can use any fruit under the sun as a topping on this: Raspberries or blackberries would be especially delicious.
And as we said up top, the prep couldn't be easier.
All in all, this cheesecake is great anytime you need a no-fuss dessert.
Turns out, it's definitely our kind of recipe.
Is it yours?
Total time: 20 min Plus 8 hr chilling
Servings: 8 to 10
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup prepared lemon curd
About 20 whole graham crackers
Blueberries, for serving
Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, allowing 4 inches of overhang. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the mascarpone with the heavy cream at medium speed until smooth and just firm; do not overbeat. Fold in the lemon curd and a pinch of salt.
Spread a 1/4-inch-thick layer of the lemon cream on the bottom of the pan. Arrange a single layer of graham crackers on top, breaking them to fit. Repeat the layering with the remaining lemon cream and crackers, finishing with a final layer of cream. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or overnight.
Uncover and invert the cheesecake onto a platter. Remove the plastic wrap. Serve with blueberries.