Nutty No Bake Cheesecake

Yes, another cheesecake.  There must be a trillion cheesecake recipes floating out there in cyberspace but this one is a little different because of its bottom crust.  Most cheesecake recipes, whether baked or unbaked have some kind of cookie or sweet cracker crust but this one has a toasted oat and nut crust.

I've had this recipe since my college days when I was taking a freshman college foods course.  I had grand designs on becoming a dietitian or nutritionist.   Ha, ha. I became a teacher instead but the foods course was a great class to take.  I enjoyed and looked forward to attending the foods class as I was quite at home in a kitchen. It was like a calm spot in my busy and hectic schedule.  Mom had always allowed me to cook and bake so the preparation of food was easy and I came away with an "A" in the course. Not everyone in the class was as adept in the culinary skills.  Some didn't know which end of the spoon was up when we all started.  Fortunately, we had a good teacher and I believe everyone had a passing grade by the end of the semester.  I kept all my notes and hand-outs for years, referring to different recipes and hints as needed.  It was just a few years ago I decided to throw out my "past" but kept a few of the recipes that I still made.  This is one of those recipes.  I generally make a graham cracker crust with cheesecakes but this nutty crust is a delicious and unusual bottom for an unbaked cheesecake.

The cheesecake filling is the classic no-bake filling made with sweetened condensed milk and lemon juice mixed with the cream cheese. The sweetened condensed milk gives the filling a velvety smooth texture but any unbaked cheesecake filling will work. 

In class, cherry pie filling was the favourite topping for the cheesecake but blueberry, strawberry or lemon would be equally as good.  Actually, any combination of fruit or berries is good with a cheesecake. Oh, now I'm thinking fresh peaches, yum!  And how about caramelized apples in the fall.  Oh the possibilities are endless. . .

Nutty No Bake Cheesecake

1 cup oatmeal
⅓ cup chopped walnuts (or any nut you prefer)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
⅓ cup melted butter

Toast oatmeal in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes stirring every 3 minutes, watching that it does not burn.  The oatmeal should be a lovely golden brown with no burnt pieces. You may also toast the nuts at 300 degrees for about 5 or 6 minutes but this is optional.   Toss the oatmeal and nuts with the brown sugar and butter until well combined.  Press in 8-inch square pan.  Refrigerate until needed.

Cheesecake Filling:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, room temperature
1 can sweetened condensed milk
⅓ cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend all ingredients until smooth.  You can do this in a blender or with a hand or stand mixer.  I find the blender works really well.  Pour the mixture over the chilled bottom crust.  Top with cherry pie filling or your choice of fruit topping.  Or you may chill the cheesecake without the topping and serve any fruit, berries or pie filling separately at serving time. 

Refrigerate and chill at least 4 hours or overnight for best results.  

Mix the toasted oats and nuts with the brown sugar and melted butter.

Press into an 8-inch square dish and refrigerate until needed.

While the crust if firming up in the fridge get the filling made.  You can dump everything into the cup of a blender and whiz away, which works really well (I have a Vitamix).  Or you can use a mixer and  cream the cheese, then add the sweetened condensed milk and blend well.  Then add the lemon juice and vanilla.  I find if I make the filling in a mixer it has a few small lumps of cream cheese if I don't cream it well and gradually add the other ingredients.  

Pour the prepared filling into the chilled crust.

Spread the filling over the crust.  Now you can top the filling with a favourite pie filling and refrigerate for at least 4 hours--overnight is even better.  Or you can pop the "naked" cheesecake in the refrigerator and add your desired topping when serving.

 Here's a close-up of the nutty crust.

Today I had a blueberry rhubarb sauce over my cheesecake.  The last one I made had sweet cherries with a thin glaze made from the cherry juice.  If you provide several toppings for the cheesecake you'll make everyone happy.   For special occasions have a bowl of whipped cream ready to garnish the cake.

Have a bite!

Velvety, smooth with a crunchy toasted oat and nut crust.  


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