People talk about no-bake desserts a lot in the summer - I get it, it's hot and no one wants to heat their house up even more by having the oven running at 350 degrees for an hour. I guess I'm kind of crazy in that I've never really felt that way. Well, when it comes to baking anyway; I've used the "it's too hot" excuse plenty of times to get out of cooking dinner :)
But if I want a freshly baked cookie or cupcake, I'll gladly deal with the heat to get it. I think there have been maybe two times this summer where even I wasn't insane enough to bake, and they were record hot (for RI anyway), 100+ degree days. The kind of days that definitely make me wish we had a pool - I keep telling Shane a pool is a must for our next house, even if we can only use it about 2 months of the year here!
For those really hot days, it can be nice to have a few no-bake desserts in your back pocket that you can pull out if you really need to whip something up. For years, my go-to super simple recipe has been these no-bake peanut butter squares - they are always popular no matter where I bring them. Proving once again that you can never go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter :)
When I want to make something slightly more impressive though, this no-bake Oreo cheesecake is where I turn. It's more complicated than the peanut butter squares, but the result is always worth the effort! In truth, the cheesecake isn't even that much work, but there are multiple chill periods so you just have to plan ahead so you ensure you leave enough time to make the individual components before assembling.
And speaking of the components, here's what we have: at the base is an Oreo cookie crust. The filling consists of a few steps. First, you make a white chocolate pudding - the flavor of the white chocolate isn't that strong, but it adds sweetness and structure to the filling. Unlike a lot of no-bake cheesecakes, there's no gelatin in this one so you need that white chocolate to help firm this one up! It wouldn't be a cheesecake without cream cheese, so the next step in making the filling is to whip up a bunch of cream cheese until fluffy, and then you add the chilled white chocolate pudding. Finally, to assemble, you simply alternate layers of your cream filling with chopped Oreos. Let it all set up for a few hours and you're ready to dig in!
I let my cheesecake sit out a little too long before cutting it, so the slices weren't the most beautiful, but they were no less delicious. Super creamy filling with lots of Oreos for texture and flavor - I intended to take only a bite while photographing, but it accidentally turned into my lunch... If you need a no-bake dessert this summer, you definitely won't be disappointed in this Oreo cheesecake!
No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake
just barely adapted from Cook's Country, June/July 2008
30 Oreo cookies
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, divided
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
4 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
12 Oreo cookies, roughly chopped
To make the crust: Add the Oreos to the bowl of your food processor and pulse a few times until coarsely chopped. Cut the butter into several pieces and add to the food processor. Pulse until the cookies are finely ground and the butter has been incorporated (the mixture should resemble wet sand). Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch springform pan and press into an even layer on the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Chill in your refrigerator until set for at least 1 hour, or up to 2 days.
To make the filling: Add 3/4 cup of the milk to a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. In the meantime, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, flour, and remaining 1/4 cup milk. When the milk is hot, slowly add it to the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Pour back into the saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until the mixture is very thick and glossy, about 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the white chocolate. Whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl then press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface (this will prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
To assemble the cheesecake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the pudding, and mix on low speed just until combined. Add 1/4 of the filling to the crust, then sprinkle with about 1/3 of the chopped Oreos. Repeat two more times with filling and Oreos, then top with the remaining filling. Chill the cheesecake in your refrigerator for at least 6 hours, or until set. Remove the sides of the pan and slice to serve.
The cheesecake can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.