By Lori Ross
This is one of the most impressive and quickest desserts I’ve ever made. Everyone loves it and it has many variations. I love serving this with a delicate cookie or chocolate truffles on the side and after dinner liqueur or port.
8 oz. cream cheese (regular, whipped, light or non-fat works equally well)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (or sugar substitute)
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
12 oz. fresh berries, pineapple, or chopped and peeled stone fruit (peaches, plums, apricots, mango)
Mix cream cheese, sugar, heavy cream and vanilla by hand, with a mixer or with a food processor until smooth. Add half the fruit, and mix until fruit is lightly crushed.
Divide cheesecake mixture evenly among 4 dessert bowls or wine glasses and garnish with whipped cream and berries. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
If you wish, top with crumbled cookies, graham cracker crumbs, chopped nuts or seeds or crushed peanut brittle before serving.
Crusty: Add a crust by lining a muffin tin with muffin papers and placing round shortbread or other plain sweet vanilla, oatmeal or chocolate cookie upside down to bottom of paper. Proceed with recipe and divide cheesecake mixture among muffin tins. Unmold gently after refrigeration leaving cookie crust on the bottom and top with berries.
Spirited: Add ¼ cup liqueur of your choice (e.g. Bailey’s Irish Cream, Grand Marnier) to cheesecake mixture.
Italian: Replace half the cream cheese with ricotta and 1/3 cup granulated sugar with ¼ cup powdered or confectioner’s sugar.
Fragrant Berries: Top berries with 1-2 tablespoons kirsch or framboise or other fruit liqueur or, 2 tablespoons Rosewater or Orange water and a pinch of sugar. Proceed with recipe using Fragrant Berries in the cheesecake.