No-Bake White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and a Hunt for the Pefect Gas Oven

Whew….what a mouthful of a recipe title! Although compared to other cheesecake recipes I’ve done in the past, this was the easiest by far…and it made a deliciously wicked dessert, a perfect ending to any meal.

This cheesecake is a no-bake recipe because I still have to get an oven for my kitchen. When we were planning our relocation, I always said I’d take my range. At the last minute however, I decided against it. My thought was, I have to learn to overcome the everday realities of Phiilppine living for the long term. The reality is the Philippines has very high electricity rates, among the highest in Asia. A US-made electric range like what my mom used to have when we were kids was out of the question. An electric range will use up too much electricity when there were alternatives. At this point though, I’ll soon have to find a gas oven that runs on LPG because I’m missing the feel of pie crust crumbling through my fingers….but that oven has to be of good quality and will do everything an electric oven can do. I’m sorely disappointed at what’s available in local appliance centers.

Since living in a temperate climate, the value of insulation has not been lost on me. I’m talking not only about the oven but the home as well. One of our first projects upon moving into our little house here in Bulacan was to insulate the master bedroom and computer room. Both rooms are equipped with window-type air conditioners. Thank goodness the walls are insulated with wood panelling and that little gap between the walls does help maintain a more even temperature throughout.

However, the efficiency of the a/c units was compromised because of the large gaps between the windows and their frames as well as the small gap around the airconditioners. We don’t want to cool the the whole neighborhood, just one room! All that was needed was some imagintation, styrofoam and caulking. After the project was done, we congratulated ourselves. We now run the air conditioner at the lowest controls even when the sun is at its highest and hottest.

Ovens are the same way. To work efficiently, the rubber insualtion on the oven door has to be securely placed and insulation surrounding the oven, which you cannot see, should also be good so the heat is contained in the oven during baking. Everytime I checked out ranges and ovens in local appliance stores, I would pull the rubber insulation and found they are like larger rubber bands secured in very few places. I am very tempted to just order a gas range from Sears and have it shipped here. But I’m not giving up so easy. We haven’t been here that long and I haven’t looked at all the options. My sister, a Quiapo regular (she’s “suki” to a lot of vendors in Quiapo and Divisoria!), tells me there is a steel fabricator who also makes gas ovens for commercial use that are very reasonably priced. There’s also supposed to be another commercial kitchen fitter in Quezon City who offers gas ovens made to order. I have to check out the quality though.

For now, I am making do with no-bake recipes like this cheesecake we had for dessert in a post-Christmas family barbecue we hosted At the last minute, I decided to pour in some melted white baking chocolate which made the texture so much richer. There’s a Filipino term for the resulting texture, “magita”. All I can think of to describe it is kinda like a “stick-to-your-palate” kind of richness. The flavor of the white chocolate also went very well with the buttery Graham cracker crust, the cream cheese and the canned raspberry topping.

The recipe follows, I hope you try it once, it’s easy enough!

Crust:

1.5 c. Graham cracker crumbs

1/3 c. brown sugar

2/3 c. melted butter

1/2 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

Mix sugar and cinnamon with the cracker crumbs. Pour in melted butter until evenly distributed throughout the mix. Press onto the bottom and sides of a 10-inch pie-plate using your fingers. A small bowl with a flat bottom is also a great tool to use for this. Cover and place in the refrigerator to set, about 30 minutes.

Filling:

2 8-oz. Philadelphia cream cheese, softened

1/3 c. cream

1/4 c. granulated sugar

6 oz. melted semi-sweet white chocolate

On medium speed, mix the cream cheese until it’s light and smooth. Add sugar and mix until sugar granules blend in. Add the cream and whip at higher speed for about 2-3 minutes. Pour in the cooled melted white chocolate and blend well at low speed for about 2 minutes.

Pour this mixture onto your pie crust. Cover with half a can of raspberry pie filling. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator at least 4 hours before serving. It’s best to prepare this a day before to allow it to set properly.