Food & Drink Magazine

Summer Strawberry Cheesecake with Greek Yogurt in a Graham-Pecan Crust

By Weavethousandflavors

Summer Strawberry Cheesecake Pie, No-Bake & Eggless-05
It seems that 5 year old boys are creatures of repition.

This fact reinforced by the fact that for many many weeks now, my little one has been saying verbatim in his sing songy voice, "Momma, can you make strawberry pie'?

I have no idea where he gets this from. Has he ever eaten strawberry pie? And what kind can he possibly mean?

So I set off not with a road map but rather a general notion. Fresh strawberries are everywhere and I think he must get this obsession from his father who all through summer orders nothing but strawberry ice cream at Ben & Jerry's.

With temperatures in the 80's I decide to stay away from the whole baked cheese cake idea and decide to do a more chilled cheesecake kind of dessert. Because there is only one thing the boys in this family love more than strawberries and that is cheesecake.

I begin by pulling out healthful staples from my pantry and refrigerator and we're off.

A orange zest infused greek yogurt fillling with fresh strawberry puree in a pecan-graham cracker crust. Yup that sounds about right.

And let me tell you tastes even better. Not cloying sweet, this delicious cool dessert goes down easy and if yours is anything like my family, will dissappear in a flash.

For now it seems, my 5 year olds cravings have been appeased.

" Momma, can I..........."

and here we go again.

Gather the ingredients ~

Graham-Pecan crust: 12 graham crackers (1-sleeve from package), 1 cup whole pecans, 4 oz butter - melted & 1/4 cup brown sugar.

Cheesecake filling: 1-1/2 (12 oz ) packets cream cheese - softened at room temperature, 1/2 cup greek yogurt, zest of 1 orange, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 1/4 cup + 2 tbs sugar, 1 envelope gelatin (use 1-1/2 tsp here & balance in strawberry filling) 

Strawberry filling: 2 cups (approx 1 lb) roughly diced strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, juice from 1 orange (after zesting for filling above)

Additonal strawberries for decorating. Also, a food processor & a 9" non-stick tart pan with a removable base.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg F

Pecan-Graham pie crust collage

  • In a food processor, add the pecans and pulse till it is as fine as possible. Add broken graham cracker pieces and pulse to crumbs.
  • Add the melted butter and sugar and pulse till the crumbs are well coated with the butter and have begun to stick together. If needed half way through, using a rubber spatula give the mixture a stir and then pulse again till all the crumbs are well coated.
  • Remove the crumb mixture to the 9" tart pan.
  • Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, press the the crumbs along the sides and bottom of the pan, flattening and compressing the crumbs along the bottom and walls of the pan till it is smooth, even and flat.
  • Cook's Tip: Try to get the walls as even as possible, transferring excess crumbs from 'lumpy' portions along the base to the wall.
  • Carefully place the tart pan on a jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet. Place in the hot oven and bake for approx 12 minutes until the base is a light golden brown
  • Remove from the oven and cool.

Cheesecake filling collage

  • In a microwave safe bowl, add the heavy cream, milk & 1/4 cup sugar. Microwave for about 30 seconds to heat and sugar to dissolve upon stirring.
  • Add 1-1/2 tsp gelatin from the envelope and whisk vigorously to avoid lumps forming. Allow to cool completely before adding into the food processor. Place in the refrigerator to hurry the process if needed.
  • In the food processor, add the cream cheese, gelatin and milk mixture, yogurt, orange zest and remaining sugar. 
  • Thoroughly combine till creamy and smooth. Refrigerate till needed.

Strawberry filling collage

  • Zest the orange and juice the orange setting aside both the zest and juice separately. Roughly dice the strawberries, if whole, discarding the leafy tops.
  • In a non-reactive metal such as stainless steel sauce pan, add the diced strawberries, sugar and orange juice.
  • On medium-high heat, allow the fruit to simmer and slightly soften for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and set aside to slightly cool. Once the mixture has cooled sufficiently, empty into a blender and puree to a fine pulp.
  • Return to the same sauce pan and add the remainder of the gelatin envelope (approx 3/4 tsp gelatin). Whisk and set aside to cool thoroughly. Refrigerate till needed.

Assembly collage

  • There are two ways to proceed with the filling-
  • For a simple family dinner, simply combine the cheesecake and fruit filling with a spatula in a large mixing bowl and empty into the pie shell.
  • For a dramatic & dinner with company, add 1/2 the cheesecake mixture into the pie shell. Spread with a spatula to fill the pie crust.
  • Pour 1 cup of the strawberry puree and using a knife make swirls with a table knife - you don't need to be terribly precise as this layer will be covered up.
  • Pour the remaining cheesecake mixture on top and once again spread to flatten.
  • This time add the strawberry puree with a tbs measuring spoon in little dollops over the filling and once again with a clean knife, make swirl patterns all over the top of the pie.
  • Place the cheesecake along with jelly-roll pan at the base in the refrigerator.
  • 1-2 hours before serving : Finally, slice strawberries, eating the end slices and using the center heart shaped to overlap around the edge of the pie.
  • Refrigerate the cheesecake for a minimum 4-6 hours or overnight.

Know-how ~ Do not keep the cheesecake at room temperature in the heat or the mixture will melt and ooze once you cut into the pie. However, remove from the refrigerator 10-15 minutes prior to serving to slightly soften the filling.

Nothing screams summer as this pie!

What we love most about this cheesecake pie is that it isn't overly sweet and has a tart bite to it which is reminiscent of honest fruit. Absolutely delicious and wonderful for summer evenings with family and friends.

 

Recipe for

Summer Strawberry Cheesecake in a Graham-Pecan Crust ~ No-Bake & No-Egg

Preparation time - 30-40 minutes

Baking time (crust) - 10 minutes

Chilling time - 4-6 hours or overnight

Makes a 9" tart

Graham-Pecan crust:

 12 graham crackers (1-sleeve from package)

1 cup whole pecans

4 oz butter - melted

1/4 cup brown sugar

~

Cheesecake filling:

1-1/2 (12 oz ) packets cream cheese - softened at room temperature,

1/2 cup greek yogurt

zest of 1 orange

1/4 cup + 2 tbs sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 envelope gelatin (use 1-1/2 tsp here & balance in strawberry filling) 

~

Strawberry filling:

2 cups (approx 1 lb) roughly diced strawberries

1/4 cup sugar

juice from 1 orange (after zesting for filling above)

Additonal strawberries for decorating.

A food processor & a 9" non-stick tart pan with a removable base.

Method:

Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg F

  1. In a food processor, add the pecans and pulse till it is as fine as possible. Add broken graham cracker pieces and pulse to crumbs.
  2. Add the melted butter and sugar and pulse till the crumbs are well coated with the butter and have begun to stick together. If needed half way through, using a rubber spatula give the mixture a stir and then pulse again till all the crumbs are well coated.
  3. Remove the crumb mixture to the 9" tart pan. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, press the the crumbs along the sides and bottom of the pan, flattening and compressing the crumbs along the bottom and walls of the pan till it is smooth, even and flat.Cook's Tip: Try to get the walls as even as possible, transferring excess crumbs from 'lumpy' portions along the base to the wall.
  4. Carefully place the tart pan on a jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet. Place in the hot oven and bake for approx 12 minutes until the base is a light golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool.
  5. In a microwave safe bowl, add the heavy cream, milk & 1/4 cup sugar. Microwave for about 30 seconds to heat and sugar to dissolve upon stirring. Add 1-1/2 tsp gelatin from the envelope and whisk vigorously to avoid lumps forming. Allow to cool completely before adding into the food processor. Place in the refrigerator to hurry the process if needed.
  6. In the food processor, add the cream cheese, gelatin and milk mixture, yogurt, orange zest and remaining sugar. Thoroughly combine till creamy and smooth. Refrigerate till needed.
  7. Zest the orange and juice the orange setting aside both the zest and juice separately. Roughly dice the strawberries, if whole, discarding the leafy tops.
  8. In a non-reactive metal such as stainless steel sauce pan, add the diced strawberries, sugar and orange juice. On medium-high heat, allow the fruit to simmer and slightly soften for about 5-7 minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and set aside to slightly cool. Once the mixture has cooled sufficiently, empty into a blender and puree to a fine pulp. Return to the same sauce pan and add the remainder of the gelatin envelope (approx 3/4 tsp gelatin). Whisk and set aside to cool thoroughly. Refrigerate till needed.
  10. There are two ways to proceed with the filling- For a simple family dinner, simply combine the cheesecake and fruit filling with a spatula in a large mixing bowl and empty into the pie shell.
  11. For a dramatic & dinner with company, add 1/2 the cheesecake mixture into the pie shell. Spread with a spatula to fill the pie crust. Pour 1 cup of the strawberry puree and using a knife make swirls with a table knife - you don't need to be terribly precise as this layer will be covered up.
  12. Pour the remaining cheesecake mixture on top and once again spread to flatten. This time add the strawberry puree with a tbs measuring spoon in little dollops over the filling and once again with a clean knife, make swirl patterns all over the top of the pie.
  13. Place the cheesecake along with jelly-roll pan at the base in the refrigerator.
  14. 1-2 hours before serving : Finally, slice strawberries, eating the end slices and using the center heart shaped to overlap around the edge of the pie.
  15. Refrigerate the cheesecake for a minimum 4-6 hours or overnight.

Know-how ~ Do not keep the cheesecake at room temperature in the heat or the mixture will melt and ooze once you cut into the pie. However, remove from the refrigerator 10-15 minutes prior to serving to slightly soften the filling.

Enjoy!

 

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