Writing posts these days has been tedious. I’m not 100% sure why. But lately I’ve noticed a longing to tell a story different than my own. In my fairytale world, I’d tell you a story about how this cheesecake has been passed down through the generations and eaten on hot summer evenings after a long day spent at the lake with family. Afterwards, we’d sit by the fire—the one I started—and talk for hours counting the stars that are too hard to make out in our urban neighborhood.
That’s the story I want to tell. It sounds nice and dreamy, especially the part about me starting the fire. My fires tend to look more like a candle lit on the kitchen table or the gas flame dancing over the stove. I told you I was dreaming.
The real story goes something like this: My parents gave my husband and iPad mini after graduating with his doctorate. I quickly usurped the device and downloaded all the most recent Everyday Food magazines, reading each one cover to cover.
Videos accompany most of the recipes, which, you probably guessed it, I’ve watched every last one. I think Kev is tired of hearing Sarah Carey’s voice constantly in the background. Unbeknownst to her, she’s now a member of our family.
Nestled into one of the spreads was a no-bake cheesecake recipe. We had a birthday dinner with friends planned for Saturday night. The birthday girl is a cheese lover so I thought I’d make a riff on Sarah’s recipe adding some mascarpone, cardamom, and orange. Topped with nuts of course. Had fresh figs been in my fridge, those would have found their way on top. I call this cheese tray in a spring-form pan.
The real story isn’t nearly as magical as the one I dreamt up—the one I often find myself dreaming up. But it’s my story. And I look at the top of this blog and remember why I named myself this in the first place. I learned most of my early kitchen knowledge from Martha Stewart and her team. Not behind a stove with generations of family members but behind a TV and now behind an iPad.
And that’s ok too. I’m gearing up for the next generation. I want to leave my children recipes upon recipes attached to a million memories. Maybe around a campfire or maybe around the gentle flame of our gas stove. They may know nothing about history or how to dissect a piece of literature, but they’ll know their way around the kitchen. And it’ll be our story—the one we made together. That’s what makes it magical.
This recipe was inspired by Everyday Food. It’s a quick make-ahead dessert, perfect for summer. The texture is light and dreamy unlike typical cheesecake with the addition of greek yogurt and mascarpone. The crust is simple with a pop of flavor from the cardamon and sea salt. Garnish with whatever you have on hand. It’s that easy and versatile.
15 honey graham crackers
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp. pure cane sugar
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 c. + 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. orange oil
dash of sea salt
1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt, room temperature
4 oz. mascarpone, room temperature
1/2 c. heavy cream
Make crust. In a food processor or Vitamix, crush graham crackers. Add melted butter, sugar, cardamom, and salt. Continue to pulse until mixture is a fine crumb.
Add mixture into the spring form pan pressing into the sides (about 1 1/2″ high) and bottom until a strong crust forms. Set aside.
Make filling. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese on medium-high speed until light creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in sugar, orange oil, and sea salt until evenly incorporated.
Add in Greek yogurt and beat until evenly incorporated.
Add in mascarpone on low speed being careful not to overbeat and break the cheese.
In a separate bowl, whip heavy cream until medium to stiff peaks form. Carefully fold into the filling with a spatula.
Add the filling to the spring form pan, evenly spreading the mixture around to sit just below the top of the crust.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 5 hours. Served chilled, topped with chopped pistachios, fresh berries, or whatever your heart desires.