In the south, our summers are hot! On those hotter than hot days, who longs for their home to gain additional heat from the oven? Not this momma! I have taken my regular cheesecake and transformed it into a no bake dessert. It is creamy, light, and delicious without the time of baking and cooling. This dessert is great alone or with the strawberry topping.
2 sleeves graham crackers, crushed
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup whipping heavy cream (can substitute for 1 - 8oz. store purchased cool whip topping)
3 8-ounce blocks cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature
1 quart strawberries, sliced
Crust: Line a 9X13" baking dish with parchment paper. (Tip: for easy removal, have about a 2" overhang on the sides.) Place the crushed crackers into a bowl. Add the granulated sugar, lemon zest and salt. Pour the melted butter over the cracker mixture and mix until blended. Place the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Firmly press the mixture into a single layer and place in the freezer.
Fling: Place the heavy whipping cream in a chilled mixing bowl. Beat the cream until the mixture reaches a stiff peak. Remove the cream from the mixing bowl, place into a separate bowl, and set aside. (If you are using prepared cool whip, please omit this step).
Add the cream cheese to the mixing bowl and beat for 3 to 4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream and blend. Add the confectioners sugar. Add the lemon juice and zest. Fold in the whipped cream.
Remove the crust from the freezer, pour the mixture over the crust. Spread into an even layer. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To remove from the pan, use the parchment paper overhand and lift the bars from the baking dish. Arrange sliced strawberries over the top of the mixture and sprinkle lemon zest onto the berries. Slice into squares and serve cold.