red, white and blue no-bake cheesecake tart

red, white and blue no-bake cheesecake tart

Happy Independence Day!

I love the Fourth of July. Honestly, it's a ridiculous celebration but just so American. Celebrating the birth of our nation with explosions and absurd amounts of food cooked over fire while hanging out outside? I love it. Someone go get me some sparklers.

The weather here in Chicago shaped up just in time to be perfect Fourth weather: that is, 81 and sunny. Which, compared to the heat wave some of the country is suffering under, is practically breezy, I know. But I think we can all agree that it's pretty warm outside, and turning on the oven is a miserable-sounding idea.

I'm never usually one for the kitsch desserts but cheesecake topped with berries in a graham cracker crust? Sign me up. I kept running across "no-bake" recipes in which you had to bake the crust, which…yeah don't even get me started. So I devised a graham cracker crust using coconut oil and topped it with a mascarpone-cream cheese filling, followed by some local summer berries. I don't need to tell you this is delicious, right? Get on it.

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red, white and blue no-bake cheesecake tart
Filling loosely adapted from Butter Me Up Brooklyn

Some notes about this: I used a food processor for the crust and a mixer for the filling, but you definitely crush the crackers by hand and use a whisk on the filling. Also, no tart pan, no problem: use a pie plate or springform pan.

for the crust:
1 sleeve graham crackers (9-10 cookies)
4 tablespoons coconut oil or melted and cooled butter

Place the crackers in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until crushed. Add coconut oil and pulse a few times until it's all well combined.

Grease a tart pan with some nonstick cooking spray. Press the crumb mixture into the tart pan and up the sides. Chill crust in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour.

for the filling and topping:
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 – 1 cup blueberries
3/4 – 1 cup strawberries, quartered OR raspberries OR a mix of both (the amount you will need will vary depending on the size of your berries)

In a mixer, beat together cream cheese, mascarpone, and sugar, on medium speed about 3 minutes or until well blended. Add the greek yogurt and vanilla, and beat until combined. Spread the filling evenly into the prepared crust, smoothing out the top with a spatula. Chill for two hours or until close to serving time to let the filling set.

Remove from the fridge and top with the berries, alternating blue and red berry stripes. Serve!

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