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What Is No-Bake Cheesecake?

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  • Written By: Allison Boelcke
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 February 2015
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Cheesecake is a dessert that typically consists of a crust made from crushed graham crackers that is topped with a cream cheese, egg, and sugar filling. As the cheesecake bakes, the heat helps the eggs serve as a means to bind the other filling ingredients together. A no-bake cheesecake tends to refer to a variation of the basic cheesecake recipe that replaces the eggs in the filling with another type of binding ingredient that is able to stabilize and firm the filling without the use of heat. This variation may be preferred for those who have egg allergies, but may also be less time-consuming and prone to the cracking on top that often occurs with baked cheesecake.

The crust of a traditional baked cheesecake is usually made by combining the crushed graham cracker crumbs with butter and then pressing the mixture into the bottom of a pan and baking it until the mixture hardened into a solid crust. No-bake cheesecake crust tends to consist of the same ingredients, but mainly uses refrigerator chilling rather than baking to get the crust to become firm. Pre-made graham cracker crusts may also be substituted in no-bake recipes.

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No-bake cheesecake recipes may vary on their recommended ingredients for the filling. Although the cream cheese, sugar, and other flavoring ingredients tend to remain the same, the binding ingredient may vary depending on the specific recipe used. A commonly recommended binding ingredient that is called for in no-bake versions of cheesecake is lemon juice, which contains acids that are thought to help stabilize other ingredients and give a firmer texture to the filling. Other recipes may call for gelatin, which has a texture resembling gel when combined with liquid. Unflavored gelatin may be used, as well as fruit-flavored gelatin for a flavor variation on the standard cheesecake recipe.

In order to get the crust and filling to set without the use of heat, no-bake cheesecake typically uses cold temperatures to chill and firm the ingredients. The crust is generally chilled separately while the cheesecake filling is being prepared because if the crust is not completely firm before the filling is added, it may result in the crumbs mixing in with the filling, rather than being a separate layer. After the filling is added to the crust, it usually takes a minimum of one hour of chilling time for the cheesecake to become set. The cheesecake may be served plain or topped with fruit, chocolate, caramel, or any preferred sauces or glazes.

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Lostnfound
Post 4

@Grivusangel -- Now why didn't I think about using artificial sweetener in cheesecake? It makes perfect sense -- just use the same amount, I'm guessing. I have found though, with baked goods, that if you put just a tiny bit of real sugar in the batter, it helps hide the artificial taste of the sweetener.

I do this all the time with strawberry pretzel salad. I don't know why in the world it didn't occur to me to use the artificial sweetener in cheesecake, too. I'm sure there are recipes online. I'll just have to check to see which ones look good.

Grivusangel
Post 3

@Belted -- I wouldn't say no-bake cheese tastes just like the baked kind. The textures are different. However, I will say I like the no-bake variety. But it is more like a custard or a panna cotta, in texture and flavor. Doesn't mean it's not good – just that it's different.

The best attribute about any kind of cheesecake, baked, or no-bake, is that you can easily substitute artificial sweetener for the sugar to make it very low-carb. Since the sugar just adds sweetness, and isn't necessary for texture or crumb, like in a batter cake, using something like Splenda works very well. I've always had good results with it.

jonrss
Post 2

I have tried using both lemon juice and gelatin as a thickening agent and I definitely prefer the gelatin.

I think it works better plus it does not alter the flavor of the cheesecake. I like lemon all right, but not necessarily lemon cheesecake.

Belted
Post 1

I think no-bake cheesecake tastes as good as any baked cheese cake that I have ever had. Really, if someone does not point out to me that what I am eating is no-bake cheesecake I would probably not notice the difference.

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