I hate to say it but I’m not much of a baker. That doesn’t mean I don’t love baked goods. I do… Probably too much, actually! I’ve just never felt the same inspiration with baking as I do with cooking. One of my resolutions this year is to explore and learn more about baking to expand my repertoire (and my blog)! What better way to start this venture than to create a baked good that doesn’t actually require any baking! I know, I know. That doesn’t really count. But once you taste this cheesecake, believe me you won’t care. And when you see how easy it is to make, this may just become your go-to dessert.
I decided this would make a perfect Valentine’s Day dessert. Everything can be made ahead of time and refrigerated so it is easy to assemble at the last minute. The light and delicate essence of vanilla pairs beautifully with the tart and sweet freshness of the berries. Served chilled, this cheesecake is the perfect ending to a special night with your honey bun, sweetie pie or love bunny… Just be sure not to invite them all at the same time!
- 12 graham cracker sheets
- 1 ½ Tbsp light butter, melted
- 3 vanilla beans
- 1 box non-flavored gelatin (4 servings)
- 1 cup fat free ricotta cheese
- 1 8oz package Neufchatel cheese (or light cream cheese)
- 1 8oz package frozen whipped topping
- 1 ½ cups fresh blackberries
- Zest and juice of 1 meyer lemon
- 1 Tbsp sugar
Crush the graham crackers in a food processor or by placing them in a plastic bag and crushing with a mallet. Place the grahams in an 8×12 baking dish and pour the melted butter over the top. Using your hands, mix together until the mixture resembles wet sand. Press into the bottom of the pan and set aside.
Split each vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a knife. Place the seeds in a small bowl with the gelatin.
Place the scraped out bean pods in a small saucepan with ¾ cup water. Heat on high until boiling. Remove the bean pods and discard. Pour the water over the gelatin and stir until dissolved.
Combine the gelatin mixture, ricotta cheese, Neufchatel cheese and whipped topping in a food processor. Process on high until mixture is smooth.
Pour the cheese mixture over the graham crackers and spread evenly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, blackberries and sugar in a medium saucepan. Mash lightly with a potato masher or a fork to break up the berries. Heat on low for 12-15 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool. Chill in the refrigerator with the cheesecake until ready to serve.
When ready to enjoy, slice the cheesecake and carefully remove with a small spatula. Top with the berries and listen for the “Mmmmms…”
Servings: 15 Serving Size: 4 ounces*
Calories: 145 Fat: 5.1g Sat. Fat: 2.6g Carbs: 15.9g
Sodium: 183.1mg Fiber: .8g Sugar: 5.6g Protein: 6.8g