I know that I post a fair bit of fancy shit. Intricate pie lattices, multi layer cakes, things with more components than they probably need to have just because I’m being extra. But this time, I am here to save your life (not really haha) with a crazy easy dessert that is super simple to put together, but still tastes amazing and makes you look super, super fancy. I made these no bake mixed berry cheesecake bars a few weeks back, and haven’t stopped thinking about them or possible variations of them since.
I grew up on no-bake cheesecake - to me, it is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of cheesecake. I haven’t quite been able to get behind baked cheesecake yet, because I’m not sure that anything will ever stand up to a really well done no-bake version. That, and I always hear people worry about cracking their cheesecake. This isn’t even a slight issue here. I got you. The thing that I really love about this recipe is how versatile it is - you could swirl literally anything you like through the top of it. I went with a mixed berry coulis swirl, but it would be epic with fudge, or nutella, or a quick lemon or passionfruit curd.
I started with a simple graham cracker crust, then topped it with a silky vanilla bean cheesecake filling, which is super easy and comes together quickly in the mixer. This alone would be the perfect dessert, but I had some berries that needed using up in the freezer, so popped together a quick coulis to swirl on the top, which turned out to be a very, very good idea.
I was initally aiming for a white top with just a small swirl of the berry, but I used too much the first time around, so just mixed it in and tried again and it worked out for the better - the berry flavour was much more prominent, and the top came out so marbled and beautiful. Give this dude a try if you can - I promise you will look super fancy with hardly any effort.
A few wee tips:
Make the berry coulis topping first, and allow to cool slightly before you make the cheesecake.
This is a great base cheesecake recipe - you could do a passionfruit top, or a lemon curd, peanut butter, etc etc.
Make sure that your cream cheese is at room temperature to allow you to beat it very smooth.
If you can’t get graham crackers, digestive biscuits work perfectly!
No Bake Mixed Berry Cheesecake Bars
- Makes about 16 bars -
Mixed Berry Coulis Topping
250g fresh or frozen raspberries
125g fresh or frozen blueberries
125g fresh or frozen blackberries
1 Tbsp water
pinch of salt
Graham Cracker Base
400g graham crackers
3 Tbsp Sugar
150g butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
300g plus 120g cream
2 tsp gelatine
450g cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp salt
- PROCESS -
MIXED BERRY COULIS TOPPING
Place all of the ingredients in a pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, and occasionally mashing the berries against the side using a fork, until the berries are soft. Transfer to a high speed blender or food processor (be careful as it will be hot), and blend until smooth.
Clean the pan and return to the stove. Strain the berry mixture into the pan, then bring to a boil and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced. Transfer to a container and allow to cool completely.
GRAHAM CRACKER BASE
Grease and line a 9” square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, extending over the sides to form a sling. Place the graham crackers and sugar in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the crackers resemble fine crumbs, then transfer to a medium bowl. Add the salt and butter, and mix to combine - it should have the consistency of wet sand.
Pour the base into the prepared pan, and pat down until smooth using the bottom of a flat glass or measuring cup, ensuring that it is an even thickness. Place in the freezer while you prepare the filling.
FILLING AND ASSEMBLY
In a small pot over low heat, combine the 120g measure of cream and gelatine. Stir until the gelatine has dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or using an electric mixer, whip the 300g measure of cream until soft peaks form. Transfer into a bowl. There is no need to wash the mixer between the cream and cream cheese mix. Whip the cream cheese and sugar in the mixer until smooth. Add the vanilla and salt and beat to incorporate, then add the gelatine and cream mixture and mix well.
Remove the bowl from the mixer, and, using a spatula, gently fold the softly whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture.
Spoon the filling over the prepared base, tapping to remove any bubbles, then spreading with an offset spatula. Evenly distribute about 3-4 Tbsp of the cooled coulis mixture over the surface of the filling, and using a swirling motion, gently mix it into the top section of the filling using a spoon, before smoothing again with an offset spatula. Lightly drizzle a little more of the coulis mixture (use less than you think you will need) over the top of the cheesecake, then drag a chopstick or skewer through the drizzled coulis to make a marbled effect. Add more coulis and marble more if desired.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 3 hours or until set. Using the parchment paper as a sling, remove the cheesecake from the pan. Cut into squares using a knife that has been run through hot water and then dried before cutting.
Store leftovers in the fridge.