Easy Cheesecake Recipe
About a month ago, we went berry picking near Girdwood and found ourselves with an abundance of salmonberries. Trying to think of a quick way to use them, we whipped up a favorite easy cheesecake recipe and topped it with fresh salmonberries and blueberries. SOOO GOOD!
I use the term “cheesecake” loosely when I talk about this dessert. It is, after all, not baked, heavy or in a cheesecake pan.
I started making this recipe back when I was guiding rivers in Southern Utah. We needed a simple dessert where the ingredients could be packed into a cooler, withstand a jaunt in the rapids, and be easily made in the evening rain, wind or shine.
Our passengers loved it because it was something different that they didn’t expect while on a river trip. Of course there aren’t many wild berries along the Colorado River, so canned blueberries topped the dish. Now, it’s pretty much whatever is in season, or on the bush.
Perfect Recipe Outdoors or Inside
One of the things I love about this recipe is that it can be made just about anywhere. At times in the summer, I crave something “lighter” on camping trips in place of a heavy dutch oven dessert. Granted, without an electric beater, it’s difficult to get it completely smooth in the backcountry. But with a little time, and some soft cream cheese, a creamy texture can happen!
At home, it’s nice to have an easy cheesecake recipe that can be thrown together in about 30 min. (Less if you buy a pre-made crust and top with pie filling.) And for the winter holidays, sometimes it’s nice to have a little lighter dessert!
Because the filling and topping are sweet, I make a homemade graham cracker with pretzel crust. The saltiness gives balance to the sweet cheesecake and tart berries. For the fresh fruit topping, try homemade glaze to give the fruit a little shine and sweetness.
So, next time you are crunched for time, or want a little variety in the woods, give this dessert a try. Be sure to eat it up, because I’m thinking the bears would love it too!
*Curious about Salmonberries? Check out this link. Similar to a raspberry but to me, a little sweeter and juicier.
Easy Cheesecake with Pretzel & Graham Crust
For the Crust:
- 1 pkg. Graham Crackers or 1-1 1/2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
- 1/2 c. Pretzels
- 8 Tbsp. Butter
- 1/3 c. Sugar
For the Cheesecake Filling:
- 8 oz. Cream Cheese well softened
- 12 oz. tub of Whipped Topping
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- 1/3 c. Powdered Sugar
- 1 tsp. Lemon Juice
For the Crust:
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees or if camping, just bring a pre-made Graham Cracker crust
- Crush or pulse graham crackers (or crumbs), pretzels, and sugar to a fine crumb.
- Melt butter, then mix thoroughly into graham cracker mixture.
- Press into 9 inch pie plate
- Bake for 8-12 minutes until brown and set.
- Remove and let cool.
Prepare the Cheesecake Filling:
- While crust is cooling, mix or blend together very soft cream cheese, whipped topping, vanilla, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. (If you are doing this outdoors by hand, expect a chunkier result than if you used a food processor or mixer.)
- Once creamy, spoon into graham cracker crust, and gently smooth out.
- Chill for 1 hr. or if outdoors, dig in.
- Top with your favorite berries, fruit glaze if desired, or pie filling and enjoy.
- Recipe will make:
- 8-10" pie crust
- 12" Dutch oven bottom crust
- 1-9x13" pan for bottom crust
- Or, adjust crust thickness to your preference.
- For an easy way to press mixture down, use a measuring cup and pressure to form desired shape and uniform thickness.
- Health Substitutions: Low or Non-Fat Cream Cheese and Whipped Topping