I realize this may not look all that enticing, but I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this delicious, light and airy, made from scratch, no bake cheese cake! I don’t remember where or how I came across the recipe. I do remember when though. Well approximately anyway. I was 17 and craving icebox cheesecake. Somehow I happened upon this recipe and it was a hit! I made it ALL the time in my senior year of high school. In fact the big joke around our house when it was my night to make dinner was,”Oh, Carmen is cooking. It must be spaghetti and cheesecake.” It’s true, at least 3 times per month I made my world famous homemade spaghetti and meat sauce (which consisted of browned hamburger meat and onion, with a jar of Ragu dumped in) along with my delicious garlic toast (white bread spread with country Crock margarine- my mama didn’t believe in real butter LOL, garlic salt gingerly dumped on top, and toasted in the oven). And for dessert it was always cheesecake.
We don’t have desserts often at our house. We will have the occasional brownies – recipe from my good friend Betty (Crocker that is) or a bowl of ice cream. We just don’t usually crave sweets that often and save desserts for special occasions. So it has been literally years since I made this recipe. In fact I don’t have the recipe anymore so I’m not 100% sure I’m doing it correctly. When I decided to give into my craving this time though, it was just as good as I remember! So I must be doing something right!
Just to give you an idea of what it tastes like, it is vaguely similar to the Jello cheesecake mix. I say vaguely because while it is the same concept, for some reason this is SO much better! In fact, back in my more energetic days, I actually made the from scratch recipe and the Jello cheesecake mix and did a blind taste test with friends and family. The from scratch recipe won hands down! I usually consider myself fairly self controlled when it comes to food, but where this decadent treat is concerned, it takes all the restraint I can muster not to stand, spoon in hand, fridge door opened, eating the whole pie from the pan! Of course it does have fewer calories when eating it straight from the pan than putting it on a plate! 😉
So best I can recollect, here is the recipe.
12 whole graham crackers
1 stick (REAL) butter
1/3 c sugar
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese , softened
1 cup sugar
1 (small) pkg lemon gelatin
1 14 oz can evaporated (NOT sweetened condensed) milk, chilled
First make the crust. In a food processor (or place them in a zip lock bag and use a rolling pin), crush the graham crackers. Dump them directly into a 9×13 baking pan which has been coated with non stick spray. Add the 1/3 c sugar and stick of melted butter. Stir ingredients and spread and press down mixture. Set aside.
For the filling, mix 1 cup boiling water with jello. Refrigerate just to chill- not gel. In large mixing bowl, cream together cream cheese and sugar. If jello is not chilled (sometimes I put it in the freezer) mix in a few ice cubes and then pour through a colander into cream cheese mixture and blend. Next in a separate bowl whip the chilled evaporated milk to a whip cream texture. (Does not need to be stiff). Fold into cream cheese mixture. This next step is VERY important. DO NOT taste the mixture. If you do you may eat the whole bowl and not have any left for your pie! Pour into cake pan and refrigerate. It should be set within a couple of hours. You’ll have a cool, delicious, and easy summer treat! Enjoy!