But today, I’m seriously happy to be giving you a cheesecake dessert that won’t make you hide the spoons in order to avoid the temptation. Not that hiding a spoon would stop me from figuring out a way to still partake, but that’s just me.
These little cheesecakes are no-bake. They’re creamy. They’re completely luxurious. And they are lightened up, both in calories and texture, by using low fat vanilla yogurt. I was thrilled with how this dreamy concoction turned out; an experiment to use up the lowfat Greek yogurt sitting in my fridge. Not enough yogurt to split evenly but just enough for the kids to argue about meant that I needed to solve the conundrum by either eating it myself (and causing widespread tears) or use it up in a way that could satisfy everyone. The kids are so used to homemade yogurt, poor souls, that when actual, plastic-tub yogurt enters the fridge, they completely lose their minds in excitement. Kind of like their reaction to seeing white sandwich bread. Have I mentioned we need to get out more?
While these are perfect for the upcoming Valentine holiday (those red berries!), the last thing these cute little cheesecakes need is to be pigeon-holed into a holiday. You could adapt the fruit to use blueberries, blackberries, peaches or any number of things, and eat this all year round. I love that each little spoonful holds the fabulous deliciousness of cheesecake with just a touch of restraint. And speaking of love, I love-love that you can have this dessert ready to go in minutes.
PS: I’ve mentioned this before when I’ve pictured those mini trifle dishes, but in case you are wondering, I bought them years ago at Walmart (no haters, please) and have used them countless times for everything from rice pudding to no-bake Nutella cheesecakes. Love them.
I use thick Greek yogurt (vanilla or honey-vanilla flavored). If you use non-Greek yogurt, the cheesecake mixture might be a bit thinner so experiment accordingly. If you have homemade yogurt, that could work as well - the thicker the better (if your yogurt is plain, consider adding a bit of honey or agave nectar or sugar to sweeten it up just slightly). Keep in mind that since the fruit mixture is spooned over the crust, if the assembled desserts are refrigerated or sit longer than 30 minutes, the crust may get a bit soft or dare I say, soggy. If you want to avoid that, you can omit spooning berries over the crust and instead top the cheesecake filling with the entire allotment of berries for each serving. If your fruit isn't really ripe/juicy, you may want to increase the sugar just a bit in the berries.
- 16 ounces fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and diced
- 6 ounces fresh raspberries, washed and patted dry
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 9 rectangular graham crackers (1 sleeve of crackers), crushed into fine crumbs
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 16 ounces light cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice (just a squeeze)
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup low fat Greek vanilla yogurt (see note)
- For the berry topping, combine the strawberries, raspberries and sugar in a medium bowl. Give the mixture a good stir and let it sit for 10-15 minutes while the rest of the dessert is being made and assembled. The berries will macerate - which basically means the sugar will help the fruit become a bit syrupy while resting.
- For the crust, combine the crushed crackers with the sugar and butter; mix. Divide the mixture evenly among 8 (6- to 8-ounce) bowls, ramekins or individual trifle dishes and press lightly into the bottom of the dishes.
- For the cheesecake, in a medium bowl (or in the bowl of an electric stand mixer), beat the cream cheese and powdered sugar together until the mixture is very light and creamy, 2-3 minutes. Mix in the lemon juice and vanilla. Add the yogurt and beat until well-combined and fluffy, 30 seconds to a minute.
- Give the fruit/sugar mixture a good stir. Spoon a bit of the fruit mixture on top of each crust (keep in mind you'll only use half for this layer; the other half will go on top of the cheesecake layer).
- Spoon an even amount of cheesecake filling on top of the fruit (about 1/3 cup or until all the filling is divided evenly among the dishes) and top with a spoonful of the remaining fruit.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.