Friday, July 23, 2010

No-Bake Peach Cheesecake in Coconut Crust

The problem with cheesecake recipes is that they all want some ungodly amount of cheese, or sour cream, or condensed milk, or all of the above. I like to make a special dessert for our Friday night dinner (it isn't Shabbos without cake) but I draw the line at five packets of cream cheese! Actually, I draw it well before. Besides, cream cheese is expensive these days, and five packets turn it into quite a fancy dessert.

I improvised, with pretty good results. There was no possible way I would be convinced to use the oven in this weather, but I've had rather good success with stabilised whipped cream over the years-why not in cheesecake? I did toy with the idea of using gelatin, but I thought that might be getting into chiffon/Bavarian territory, and then I'd have to cook eggs. This was much, much easier, and I didn't need to waste my precious ice cubes for an ice water bath to cool custard.

I'm going to give aproximate amounts because it will depend a great deal on what sort of cheese you use, what the weather is like, what sort of confectioner' s sugar you have, etc. I can assure you, from experience, if you make extra whipped cream you will be unlikely to hear much complaint. I can honestly say, in all my years of baking for this family, I've yet to hear anyone whine:
"Mama made too much whipped cream! Now, we'll have to eat it all!"

The topping was just some over-ripe peaches, lemon juice and ginger cooked until thickened. I have extra of that as well, but I'm sure it will find the way to some toast at breakfast.

You Will Need:

For the crust:

2 cups well-toasted sweetened coconut flakes
4-6 tablespoons melted butter

I toast coconut in a pan over high heat on the stove, stirring with a wooden spoon. Again, you can light the oven and do it on a tray...but you don't need to.

Combine enough of the butter into the coconut to make a mixture that will stick together and press into a 9 inch spring form pan (you can of course use a larger or smaller size, the height will be slightly altered, but no terrible problem there). Chill while you prepare filling.

For the filling:

20 ounces (2 1/2 packets) full-fat cream cheese
2 cups heavy cream, whipped
1 cup confectioner's icing sugar (I prefer cane sugar for stabilising whipped cream, and I use a brand that includes cornstarch which also helps)
1/2 cup cinnamon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whip the cream until soft peaks form, then beat in confectioner's sugar until stiff. In another bowl, beat the cream cheese with cinnamon sugar and vanilla until very light. Add the whipped cream and beat on high speed with a hand mixer until smooth. Pile into prepared spring form pan, and chill several hours. Top with fruit preserves, or topping as desired before serving, with extra on the plate.

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