When it comes to entertaining at home, deciding on what to do for dessert can often be an agonizing process, ending with you serving something store-bought instead of home-made.
Any dessert recipe that requires the use of an oven is usually out of the question anyway.
Whether you have a gas oven or an electric one is immaterial, the supply of neither is guaranteed. Even if, by some miracle, you aren’t experiencing gas and/or electricity loadshedding, turning the oven on will only heat up your kitchen further and, during the summer months, that is tantamount to torturing yourself.
Now there's nothing wrong with serving something store-bought, especially when you’re pressed for time. But what if I were to say you could make an impressive and easy dessert that does not require baking of any kind and is likely to be a crowd-pleaser too?
Impossible, you say?
Well I'm here to tell you it's not.
This recipe only requires four ingredients, is ridiculously easy to make, and is also infinitely customisable. You will need to set aside time for the cheesecake to chill, however. The texture is softer and lighter than a traditional baked cheesecake since there is no setting agent, so chilling it well is an important step.
You can top it with whatever you wish. I topped mine with lemon curd, but you could use fresh fruit, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, crushed biscuits, brownie bits, pieces of your favourite chocolate bar. Your options are endless!
Electronic appliances will make things easier still. However, you can make this by hand as well. You will need a tin with a removable base for this recipe. However, if you don’t have one of those you can make the cheesecake in a serving dish and serve it straight out of that.
150g Digestive biscuits (10 biscuits)
75g (approx. 5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened or melted
400g (approx. 1¾ cups) cream cheese (see note)
½ cup icing sugar
Prepare the cake tin (or serving dish) by greasing it with butter or oil.
Add the biscuits to a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs.
Add the butter and process again until the butter is evenly mixed into the biscuit crumbs and the mixture begins to clump. (You can do this without a food processor as well; add the biscuits to a plastic/Ziploc bag and crush them with a rolling pin, then mix in the butter with a spoon.)
Tip the biscuit mixture into your prepared tin/dish and press evenly into the base, using your fingertips or the back of a spoon.
In a separate mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese and icing sugar. Beat with an electric mixer, or by hand, just until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain. This should only take about a minute with an electric mixer; don’t overbeat.
Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over the biscuit base.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator to chill overnight, or at least 4 hours.
If you have made the cheesecake in a cake tin, then remove it from the tin, add whatever topping(s) you’d like and return to the refrigerator until it is time to serve.
Twenty to 30 minutes before serving, place the cheesecake in the freezer to firm up. This will make slicing it easier.
Note: I use cream cheese spread for most recipes calling for cream cheese, because the box packages are mostly impossible to get hold of in Pakistan. I use either Philadelphia 200g tubs or Happy Cow 150g tubs.