No-Bake Cheesecake

Cheesecake is a sweet dessert consisting of three layers and sometimes baked. The bottom layer is usually a graham cracker crust or a base made from crushed cookies and is topped with a thick layer of a soft, fresh cheese mixture. To top it all off, a layer of fresh fruit, preserves or pie filling. This cheesecake recipe is set with gelatin, making it a no-bake option to this delicious dessert.

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3 cups graham crumbs
4 tablespoons brown sugar
Pinch nutmeg
1/2 cup melted butter
2 1/4 cup cherry pie filling*

Ingredients – Cheese Filling
1 10oz can condensed milk (1.3 cups)
2 envelopes Dream Whip powder
3 cups cream cheese, soft, cubed
4 tablespoons gelatin (2 packages)
2 cups water (1 of which is boiled)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons ouzo

Place the graham crumbs, brown sugar and nutmeg into a pyrex dish or mixing bowl and combine (a pyrex makes it easier to evenly spread the melted butter). Pour the melted butter over the entire surface and, using your fingers, blend into the graham crumb mixture until fully incorporated. The mixture should hold together when squeezed in your hands. If crumbly, add a bit more butter. Spread the mixture into the serving dish, and using the bottom of a glass press down. Individual serving sizes can be made by placing two full tablespoons in the bottom of a stackable glass and using the same glass to press it down. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Prepare the filling by mixing the condensed milk with the Dream Whip at a medium speed until light and fluffy. Cut the cream cheese into cubes and add one at a time into the condensed milk until fully blended. Add the vanilla and ouzo. Melt the gelatin in 1 cup of room temperature water and, once blended, add 1 cup of boiling water to ensure the gelatin is fully melted. Turn the mixer down to stir and slowly pour in the gelatin. The mixture is very runny once all the water has been added in. Ensure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so that the cream cheese mixture is evenly blended.

Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared serving dish (or individual glass) in small amounts until the base is covered. Pouring too quickly may loosen some of the graham crumbs into the mixture. Once a base has been poured, you can slowly pour in the rest of the filling. Use the back of a spoon to break any bubbles.

Cover and refrigerate overnight to set. Top with cherry filling (*or desired filling or preserve).

Makes one 8″ x 12″ cheesecake or 12 to 18 individual cheesecakes (depending on size of glass).

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