I always enjoy making colorful red, white and blue creations for the 4th of July. This cheesecake is layered with a blue cookie crust with a red and white 'no bake' cream cheese filling. There are a few steps involved but it makes a festive presentation and is always a crowd pleaser.
Red, White and Blue No-Bake Cheesecake
3 cu Animal Crackers
1/4 cu Granulated Sugar
1/2 cu Butter, melted
2 tsp Blue Food Coloring (1 small bottle of food coloring)
1 small packet Unflavored Gelatin
1 cu Water
8 oz Good Quality White Chocolate
16 oz Cream Cheese, room temperature
1 cu Powdered Sugar
8 oz Whipping Cream
2 1/2 tsp Red Food Coloring
1 lg Banana
4-5 lg Strawberries
1/2 cu Bluberries
Fresh Mint, optional, for garnish
Cut a piece of parchment paper long enough to line the wall of your springform pan. Cut the piece lengthwise so that it's about 1/2" taller than the side of the pan (you should end up with a pice about 30" x 3"). Line the pan with the parchment paper and add a piece of tape to the outside to secure it to itself.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Place animal crackers in a food processor and process until smooth crumbs form. Transfer crumbs to a large bowl and add 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and the melted butter. Mix thoroughly. Add blue food coloring and stir to evenly combine.
Spread the crumbs on the bottom of the pan. Press the crumbs so that they are tightly and evenly packed. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely (refrigerate until ready to use).
These next "filling" steps will be repeated twice with the same set ingredients (with the exception of the red food coloring with the second batch).
Put 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan sprinkle half of the gelatin on top. Bring water to a boil and stir until gelatin is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile, cream together 8 ounces of cream cheese and 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Melt 4 ounces of white chocolate in the microwave in short, 20 second, increments until just melted. Add to cream cheese mixture. Add gelatin mixture and fully incorporate. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes. Whip 1/2 cup of whipped cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold into cream cheese mixture. Pour into springform pan and tap pan to level this layer. Place pan the freezer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes repeat this same process again with the second set of filling ingredients. Once all ingredients are fully blended, add 2 1/2 teaspoons of red food coloring and fold mixture until color is evenly blended. Pour on top of white filling and place pan in the refrigerator for 4 hours or longer.
Remove collar from springform. Run a straight metal spatula under crust and carefully slide cheesecake onto a serving platter.
Slowly remove the wax paper collar from the cheesecake. If necessary, run a sharp knife along the edge of the paper and the cheesecake as you are removing.
Slice bananas and strawberries. Arrange bananas in a wide circle around the center of the cheesecake. Top this layer with a slightly smaller circle of overlapping strawberries. Fill the middle with blueberries. Add mint leaves and serve.