For Now, For Summer

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We walked to the library last week and I had a strange realization standing in line watching Sam check out his usual massive stack of books: Will I ever have the time to read stacks of books again? I used to be much more of a reader than I am today — a fact I’m not at all proud of. But when evening rolls around and the more formal workday ends, I find emails and other odds and ends creep in. Walking home from the library, I began obsessing over free time for reading, asking Sam if we’d ever be those two old people who study bird manuals and can recognize birds on walks. I want to have the time to read bird manuals someday. For now though, we’re young and we’re working a lot. We did sneak away on that one-night camping trip I told you about, and cooked some interesting, haphazard meals which I hope to share with you soon. For now though, for summer: a strawberry dessert recipe.

I had the pleasure of working with Attune Foods for these delightful (and portable) No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecakes. It was part of their Honey Bee Project, which aims to  spread awareness about the importance of honeybees in communities. I made these cheesecakes in the afternoon and Sam and I each had one for a snack. Then we were meeting a friend for drinks downtown and decided to bring her two — they’re that good (I was scared to have them around). I love how you can just put a lid on them and tote them to the beach or the park for a picnic. And that you never have to crank on the oven. I love that there’s whipped cream folded into the cream cheese “filling” so they feel both decadent but utterly light at the same time. Most of all, I love that they’re perfect for young hard-working folks and older bird-watchers alike.

See you back here soon with photos, recipes, and (I hope) a big ol’ celebration of summer (it’s getting warm in Seattle! Hooray!)

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecakes

No-Bake Strawberry Cheesecakes

  • Yield: Serves 6
  • Prep time: 25 mins
  • Inactive time: 1 hr
  • Total time: 1 hr 25 mins

Ingredients

For the Crust:

10 whole organic honey-graham crackers, broken into large pieces
1/4 cup / 35g roasted unsalted almonds
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
4 tablespoons / 55g unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake Filling:

1/2 cup / 120 ml heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 cups/ 225g diced strawberries, stemmed, hulled and washed (about ¾ pint)
1 teaspoon natural cane sugar (like turbinado)
8 ounces / 225g cream cheese, softened
½ cup / 120 ml sour cream
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

Make the crust: In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the graham crackers, roasted almonds, brown sugar and salt until fine crumbs form. Scoop the mixture into a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and stir until crumbs are thoroughly moistened.

Make the filling: In a mixing bowl, beat the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar until soft peaks form. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the diced strawberries and sugar in a small bowl and allow to macerate while you mix up the filling.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using hand beaters), beat cream cheese and sour cream until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Add the honey and vanilla extract and beat to combine. Using a spatula, gently fold in the whipped cream topping.

To assemble: Select 6 of your favorite 8-ounce jars (or pretty glass cups). Press 3 tablespoons of graham crumbs into the bottom of each jar. Spoon 1/3 cup of the cheesecake mixture onto the top of the graham layer, followed by 2 tablespoons strawberries and 1 tablespoon remaining graham crumble. Divide remaining cheesecake mixture, strawberries and graham crumbs on top of each parfait.

Chill cheesecakes in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Comments

  1. Lindsey @ Pas de Deux

    Oh Megan, I completely know how you feel about not having enough time to read!! I have an every growing stack of books that I am really excited about, but I'm averaging one every 3 months or so... But at least there is time for perfect strawberry desserts :-)

    1. megang

      Lindsay: There's always time for desserts! Thanks for your sweet comment, mg

  2. Ashley

    I too long for the days of leisurely reading and what I've learned is that I just have to grab the 5, 10 maybe 20 minutes here and there and read in those moments. Also, audio books, love them. The funny thing is though that Gabe threatens me that he is going to get into bird watching. I'm not sure I'll ever get there but I imagine the three of you old folks would have fun with your binoculars and bird whistles.

    1. megang

      Hah, Ashley! I can just see Gabe out there with his stylish coat and coffee cup! Yes, I miss our Monday chats, too. I was feeling a bit sad this past Monday as I headed to the new kitchen; Delancey we such a good home for what feels like so long. But now: the extra storage is really, really nice, too! Hope you're well my friend. And: AUDIO BOOKS! I need to get with this.

  3. molly

    too funny. we've been using your buttermilk yogurt recipe, plus graham crust crumbles (oh. yum.) to top barely-sugared berries, since last summer.

    similar. wonderful. ridiculously dangerously easy.

    happy summer to you, megan.

    m

    1. megang

      Happy summer to you too, Molly! Can you believe it's already that time? I hope you find a few good chunks of downtime + sun within it. We get almost a week in July at my mom's cabin with very little internet, no TV, and lots of books. I'm counting down the days! xox

  4. Jeb

    Re: "I want to have the time to read bird manuals someday." My manfriend introduced me to birding (people who are serious about birds don't use "birdwatching" apparently), and it is *so* much fun. I'm still learning, but learning along the way has been a rewarding experience. Bonus: birding combines flawlessly with picnics!

    1. megang

      Let's here it for birding + picnics (and man friends)!!

  5. Natasha Minocha

    These are lovely ! We have tons of beautiful mangoes here in India these days, thinking of mango no-bake cheesecake parfaits!

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