Mad Men Week: No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

Cake, Desserts, Mad Men / Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Welcome to Mad Men Week! Every day this week, I’m celebrating the March 25 return of “Mad Men” with a recipe inspired by the show. Today’s No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake was inspired by the slice Joan (Christina Hendricks) and Roger (John Slattery) share at The Tip Toe Inn.

You don’t have to spend all day in the kitchen with a piping bag to get a pretty dessert.

You don’t even have to turn on the oven.

Just make this No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake. It’s a showstopper that sits right at the corner of Loveliness and Laziness, which is exactly where I want to be right now.

Instead of baking the crust, you use a few packages of soft, spongy ladyfingers to line the sides and bottom of your springform pan. Couldn’t be easier. And when it’s time to slice the cake, you can use the ladyfingers as a cutting guide.

Want a small slice? Make your cuts around one or two ladyfingers.

A big slice? Go for three, Baby.

Instead of baking the cheesecake, you blend the filling (i.e. whipped cream, cream cheese, sugar and vanilla) and spoon it directly over your ladyfingers. No baking, no water bath, no chance of the top cracking.

The only hard part is waiting four hours to cut into it.

The sweet, slightly tangy filling perfectly balances the bright red bite of the cherries, and those ladyfingers add a “cakey” element that makes the dessert seem light. Which could be Dangerous and Delightful, another corner where I like to hang.

Even More “Mad Men”:

Blue Hawaiian

Jameson and Ginger

Rum French Toast with Maple-Rum Syrup

“Big Texas Belt Buckle” T-Bone Steak

Creamed Spinach Gratin

Stupendous Strawberry Shake

“Mad Men” Menu Ideas (2010)

“Mad Men” Premiere Menu (2009)

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

When I go to the grocery, I never find ladyfingers in the same place twice. They can be with the cookies or frozen foods or hidden in the bakery section. Ask an employee to find them.

Adapted from “Cook’s Country” (December/January 2012)

Serves 12

  • Three 3-ounce packages cake-style ladyfingers
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 2 cups heavy cream, chilled
  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
  1. Grab two packages of ladyfingers. Line sides of 9-inch springform pan with ladyfingers. Then slice the remaining ladyfingers in half, and use them to line the  bottom of the pan.
  2. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high, and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, and set aside.
  3. Using the same mixing bowl you whipped the cream in, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and almond extract on medium-high speed until smooth.
  4. Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.
  5. Pour half of whipped mixture into prepared springform pan, spreading into even layer.
  6. Take your remaining package of ladyfingers, slice them in half, and use them to cover the whipped mixture.
  7. Top with 1 cup pie filling.
  8. Scrape remaining whipped mixture over pie filling, and spread into even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 4 hours. Refrigerate remaining 1 cup pie filling.
  9. Spread chilled pie filling over top of cake.
  10. To Serve: Remove sides of pan. If you want to transfer the cake to a separate plate, slide a thin spatula between the cake bottom and the pan, working your way around the cake until it’s completely free. Serve.

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