A no-bake version of a retro favourite!
Cheesecake was my mom’s “fancy” dessert in the 1970s and her go-to recipe included a big can of gooey cherry pie filling. While I’ll always have fond memories of that dish, I wanted to lighten it up to suit modern palates. Combining whipped mascarpone with barely-cooked sweet cherries and crushed cookies makes this a simple and delicious no-bake dessert that everyone will enjoy, especially when the weather’s hot. If fresh cherries are not in season where you live, frozen ones make a great substitute and if cherries aren’t your thing, then here’s a no-bake mini apple pie cheesecake recipe you might enjoy instead.
- 2 cups (500 mL) ripe, sweet cherries, pitted and halved
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) water
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) white sugar
- 2 teaspoons (10 mL) cornstarch
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) almond or vanilla extract
- 1 cup (250 mL) mascarpone cheese, at room temperature *
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) white sugar
- 8 cookies (ginger, oatmeal, graham cracker etc.), crushed into crumbs
* Mascarpone has a more satiny texture and less sodium than cream cheese but of course you can substitute with cream cheese if you prefer
- Put prepared cherries and water in a small pot placed over medium-low heat.
- In a small bowl, blend together the 3 tablespoons (45 mL) white sugar with the cornstarch and sprinkle over cherries. Stir to blend well.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until cherries are slightly softened and sauce is glossy and thick.
- Remove from heat and add almond extract. Transfer to a bowl; refrigerate to cool.
- While cherry mixture is cooling, in a medium bowl, blend together mascarpone and 1/4 cup (60 mL) sugar; beat until smooth. To make it easy to assemble the parfaits, transfer the whipped mascarpone to a pastry bag fitted with a piping tip, or to a zip lock bag (and snip one corner off to turn it into a piping bag).
- To assemble parfaits, place about 2 tablespoons (30 mL) of the cherry mixture in the bottom of four serving dishes (small mason jars, cocktail glasses or even wine glasses work well).
- Pipe about 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 mL) of the mascarpone mixture on top, then add a tablespoon of the crushed cookies.
- Repeat all three layers then top with one cherry half.
- Refrigerate for up to four hours until ready to serve.
Makes 6 – 8 individual desserts depending upon the size of your dishes.