O’s birthday is this weekend and one of the first things that comes to mind when I think about his favorite things is cheesecake. We’re always looking for an excuse to make the New York style recipe I typically use, but the meticulous prep and water bath baking involved contributes to it being a pretty rare event. This is yet another moment where I don’t feel like doing all that work, so I set out to try a simpler no bake version instead with the bonus of being pre-portioned into irresistibly sized miniature adorableness.
Without the baking, the result is not as cakey and dense, but more light and whipped and still very delicious with the added bonus of being easier to make. I went with a lemon flavor not only because it’s a personal favorite for desserts but because it’s very Spring/Summer and that feels pretty appropriate right now. It’s fresh and bright and robust in lemon flavor, so if you’re a fellow lemon lover then I probably don’t need to encourage you to try this. Paired with my favorite kind of crust, PRETZEL, this is basically my perfect dessert.
No Bake Mini Lemon Cheesecake with Pretzel Crust
Makes enough for 8 8oz containers (I used these bodega glasses)
- 3 oz Lemon Gelatin Mix Jell-O
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 3 cups pretzels (should make roughly 1 1/2 cups when crushed)
- 6 tbsp melted unsalted butter
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 16 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar sifted to ensure smoother clump-free cheesecake mixture
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream cold
- optional whipped cream topping I like using Cool Whip
- optional lemon slices
Dissolve lemon gelatin mix into boiling water and set aside until it cools down to room temperature
Pulse the pretzels in a food processor to crush into crumbs. Make this as fine or as chunky as you'd like.
Combine pretzel crumbs, butter, and 2 tbsp sugar in a bowl.
Pack the pretzel crust mixture firmly into the bottom of your mini containers, then place containers in the freezer while you move on to the next steps.
Mix cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract with a hand mixer until just combined.
Add jello mix and heavy whipping cream to the cream cheese mixture and mix until it thickens.
Pour cheesecake mixture on top of the pretzel crust in each container and chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set.
Optional: add a dollop of whipped cream and garnish with lemon half-slices before serving.
Try not to over-mix at any step if you want a denser texture. Over-mixing tends to loosen the cream cheese and make it lighter.