With all the fresh fruit in season, it’s definitely time for fruit pies. But I live in hot, hot Arizona, and the thought of turning on my oven for an hour is not a pleasant one. Not to mention that I’m really not a pie fan. So it’s time for other options, like delicious cheesecakes.

No-Bake Cherry Cheesecake

This simple summertime treat features a graham cracker crust with a twist. For a bright red topping, use sour cherries as they are redder in color than sweet cherries. You can also make this gluten-free by using gluten-free graham crackers.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups halved and pitted fresh sour or sweet cherries
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided in ½ cup and ¼ cup
  • 1/4 water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 box  graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/3 cup oil – I prefer canola
  • 2 packages (8 ounces each) regular or reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups nonfat plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Combine cherries, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. Mix cornstarch with 4 teaspoons water, then stir into the cherry mixture; return to a boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid thickens and looks syrupy, about 1 minute.
  4. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5.  Process graham crackers in a food processor until finely ground. Add walnuts and pulse until finely chopped.
  6.  Transfer to a bowl;  stir in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Drizzle with oil and stir to combine.
  7. Press into the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish that has been lightly spread with butter so it will not stick.
  8. Beat cream cheese, yogurt, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary.
  9. Spread over the crust.
  10. Spoon the cherry mixture over the top.
  11. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.

Strawberry Cheesecake

I was given this recipe some 40 years ago and still love it! Strawberries are my favorite fruit and this cheesecake is a little sweeter than a true cheesecake.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 8 ounce cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 8 ounce Cool Whip
  • 12-14 ounces strawberry glaze
  • 1 quart strawberries

 Directions

  1. Mix the flour, melted butter and sugar together.
  2. Spread into a 9×13 inch baking dish (Tip: use the butter wrapper to butter the bottom of pan before you throw it away).
  3. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until it is a golden brown. Allow to cool.
  4. Beat the cream cheese until softened.
  5. Add powdered sugar and beat together.
  6. Add Cool Whip and beat until well blended. Spread this onto the cooled crust.
  7. Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before adding the strawberries.
  8. Mix the strawberries into the glaze and spread this on the cream cheese spread.

You can use other fruits such as peaches or cherries.  Just change the fruit and the glaze.  These simple adjustments to a regular pie will be sure to be a hit with everyone.