If light and lemony is your thing and cheesecake is your thing, this dessert just might be your thing. (However, if you are looking for a dense and heavy cheesecake, this is not it.) This cheesecake is light and airy and refreshing.
This recipe comes from a low-fat cookbook I received as a gift many years ago on one of my many “lose weight” journeys. At that time, reducing fat was the cry of the weight-loss experts, but I know now the diet experts are all about reducing carbohydrates and sugars. This dessert is not low in carbohydrates and it contains the controversial packaged whipped topping and gelatin, but it tastes GOOD and is light and refreshing. All things in moderation, right? This one is worth it to me.
No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake
- 1 small package (3 ounce) lemon gelatin
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 and 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (reduced fat crackers if desired)
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted (the original recipe calls for only 3 tablespoons of light butter, but I add more because it does not hold together with only 3 tablespoons)
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 8 ounces light cream cheese, softened
- 1 cup white sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 4 cups light whipped topping (an 8 ounce container is 3 cups)
- Optional: fresh berries or a can of blueberry or cherry pie filling
- Measure a cup of water into a glass measuring cup and heat in the microwave to boiling. Dissolve gelatin in the measuring cup of boiling water. Refrigerate until slightly thickened but not set (about 45 minutes).
- Meanwhile, prepare the crust. Melt butter in a small microwave safe bowl. Add graham crackers and brown sugar and stir well to combine.
- Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray and then press crust mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate while making filling.
- To prepare filling, beat cream cheese, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla on high speed of electric mixer. Beat until smooth. Add thickened gelatin and beat on low to medium speed until blended. Fold in the whipped topping.
- Pour lemon mixture over prepared crust and spread evenly to edges of pan. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, until set.
- Cut into squares and serve as is or add a dollop of blueberry or cherry pie filling or fresh berries to each piece. (Tip: Only use a little of the pie filling or it will overpower the lemon flavor of the cheesecake.)
Source: Adapted only slightly from Crazy Plates by Janet and Greta Podleski