Fall and winter are my favorite seasons, but dangnabit, it still feels very much like summer in San Francisco. I have sweaters and boots ready to go once it gets cooler. I’ll have to settle on my summer dresses and shorts for a few more weeks. SF was in the 80s this weekend. That meant baking was a terrible idea. I’ve also resorted to freezing my berries because (1) frozen berries are awesome, and (2) they’re the best to top any dessert. I LOOOOOOOVE how the berries look so frosty. It’s just absolutely gorgeous. And therefore, that’s why I settled on making a no-bake cheesecake this weekend.
I will admit that baking cheesecakes are a bit of a hassle. Prepping the crust, baking the crust, cooling the crust, prepping the cake, baking the cake (and praying water doesn’t seep through the aluminum), and cooling the cake. It’s a long and tedious process that I’ve done countless times and sometimes I hate my life halfway through. So I thought, why not try a no-bake cheesecake. I know lots of people don’t like a no-bake cheesecake because they feel it lacks the unctuous texture you get from baking the custard. I’ve added whipped cream and Greek yogurt to my recipe here to kind of make up for the fact that I have no eggs to still give the cake a richness. Warning: no-bake cheesecakes are mixed and chilled. This means they don’t do well traveling. If you plan to make this and need to travel somewhere, I highly recommend a cooler or a traditional baked cheesecake.
I’ve been wanting to make a gradient cheesecake for a while. The obvious choice would have been matcha. I wanted to try playing around with other natural food colorings so I went with butterfly pea tea. Butterfly pea, or blue pea flower, has been everywhere lately. From turning drinks from a vibrant blue to a stunning purple or just dying your rice blue, you can’t miss it on IG. The blue color is all natural. It comes from the tea made from the butterfly pea flower tea. It’s a caffeine free herbal tea from South East Asia that has been consumed for centuries. The color change from blue to purple is pure science: when an acidic liquid, like lemon juice, is added, it alters the overall pH of the tea. The blue tea reacts and turns purple. The blue tea could turn into a brilliant magenta color if even more acid is added.
My gradient aren’t as clear and distinct as I would have liked, but I adjusted the levels of coloring so that you can have very obvious shades of blue. You’re welcome 😀
Butterfly Pea Cheesecake
- 1 pack graham crackers (roughly 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Cheesecake Filling
- 3 x 7 ounce quality cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon butterfly pea powder
- 1 teaspoon butterfly pea powder
- 2 teaspoons butterfly pea powder
- Step 1 In a food processor, pulse graham crackers until the texture resembles sand. Pour into a mixing bowl.
- Step 2 Add cooled butter, salt, and sugar and mix thoroughly.
- Step 3 Pour crust mixture into a 7″ springform pan and press down with a glass to ensure the crust is packed down firmly. Freeze while making cheesecake filling.
- Step 4 In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer, whip cream cheese until smooth. Add Greek yogurt, sugar, salt, and vanilla extract and whip until mixed. Set aside.
- Step 5 Whip heavy cream until stiff peaks are formed in the stand mixer or hand mixer.
- Step 6 With a rubber spatula, fold whipped cream into the cheesecake mixture in thirds.
- Step 7 Divide cheesecake mixture equally into three bowls. Add 1/2, 1, or 2 teaspoons of butterfly pea powder to the three bowls and mix thoroughly.
- Step 8 Take out crust from freezer and pour the lightest hue of blue on top of the crust. Tap the pan on a flat surface to smooth out filling.
- Step 9 Pour the medium hue of blue directly into the center of the cheesecake. Tap the pan on a flat surface to smooth out filling. And repeat with the darkest hue.
- Step 10 With an offset spatula, smooth out the top of the cheesecake as necessary.
- Step 11 Chill for at least 8 hours before serving.
- Step 12 Serving suggestion: medley of frozen berries with fresh marjoram