Recipe: No-Bake Berry Cheesecake Verrines

Dessert Recipes from The Kitchn

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Let's get real. Nobody wants to turn on the oven during these hot summer months. But that shouldn't stop us from enjoying some sweet treats every now and then, especially when they involve sun-ripened berries. While this recipe does require a few minutes spent over the stove, it is completely worth it. Served in individual glasses, this creamy cheesecake custard is paired with a strawberry-raspberry gelee, all atop a graham cracker crust.

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These cheesecake verrines are reminiscent of the classic cheesecake dessert. With a traditional graham cracker crust and berry topping, the cheesecake portion is similar to a cream cheese panna cotta or rich, silky pudding. The berry gelee is packed full flavor and has a whimsical, jelly texture. Go ahead, take a big spoonful, and make sure to get a bit of each layer in each bite!

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No-Bake Berry Cheesecake Verrines

Serves 4

For the crust:
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted

For the cheesecake custard:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into pieces
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 sheets gelatin (See Recipe Note)

For the berry gelee:
3/4 cup chopped strawberries
3/4 cup raspberries
juice of half a lemon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 sheets gelatin (See Recipe Note)

Extra berries, for serving

To make the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and melted butter until moistened. Divide the mixture equally between 1-cup-sized glass containers or ramekins. Use the back of a spoon to pack in the mixture into a firm layer. Refrigerate until firm.

To make the custard, combine the milk and cream in a measuring cup. Place the cream cheese in a mixing bowl and pour about 1/2 cup of the milk mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese. Whisk until smooth.

Bloom 1 1/2 gelatin sheets by placing them in a glass of ice cold water and set it aside for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the remaining cream mixture in a medium saucepan. Stir in the sugar and vanilla. Warm over medium heat until mixture begins to simmer. Once the mixture begins to simmer, stir in the cream cheese mixture and turn heat to low.

Squeeze the water out of the gelatin sheets. Remove cream mixture from heat and temper in the gelatin until combined (see Recipe Note). Strain into a measuring cup.

Divide the custard mixture between the containers, pouring it on top of the graham cracker crust layer. Let set in the refrigerator until firm, at least 4 hours.

Once the cream cheese layer is set, bloom the 1 1/2 gelatin sheets for the berry gelee in cold water.

To make the berry gelee, place the chopped strawberries and raspberries in a medium saucepan. Add in the lemon juice and sugar. Warm over medium heat. Cook the mixture until the berries break down and bit, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Puree mixture for a minute or two with a hand blender until liquified. Press the berry mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds and pulp.

Squeeze the water out of the gelatin sheets. Temper into the warm berry juice (see Recipe Note). Carefully pour berry mixture on top of the cream cheese layers. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours to set, or for up to 4 days.

Serve with a topping of fresh berries.

Recipe Notes

  • Substituting Gelatin Powder for Gelatin Sheets: You may substitute the gelatin sheets for gelatin powder. One packet equals one sheet.
  • Tempering the Gelatin Sheets: To dissolve the gelatin sheets, first squeeze out as much water as possible. In a separate mixing bowl, add a portion of the hot mixture (in this case, the cream or fruit puree) and whisk in the gelatin sheets until the gelatin has dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Pour this new mixture back into the cream or fruit puree, and stir until combined.

Per serving, based on 4 servings. (% daily value)
Calories
770
Fat
46.6 g (71.7%)
Saturated
23.8 g (118.9%)
Trans
0.4 g
Carbs
81.6 g (27.2%)
Fiber
2.9 g (11.8%)
Sugars
54.9 g
Protein
8 g (16.1%)
Cholesterol
124 mg (41.3%)
Sodium
500.4 mg (20.9%)

(Image credits: Tessa Huff)