Ruby-Red Summer Berry Cheesecake In A Glass

(Serves 4 in 10 ounce glasses)

Ingredients:

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened at room temperature
11½ tablespoons sugar, divided use
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons pure vanilla extract, divided use
12 fluid ounces whipping cream, cold
1 (16 ounce) container sour cream (about 2 cups)
24 graham cracker sheets, finely processed in food processor
• Pinch salt
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons applesauce
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups fresh, whole raspberries
1 (16 ounce) package fresh strawberries, hulled and diced small
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Preparation:

-In a medium bowl, add the 2 packages of room temperature cream cheese, and with a stiff spatula, work the cream cheese until smooth and creamy/fluffy; when fluffy, add 5 tablespoons of the sugar, the lemon zest and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla extract, and fold together with the spatula until well combined; set aside for a moment while you make the whipped cream.

-In the bowl of mixer, add the 12 ounces of cold whipping cream, and whip until slightly thickened, then add 1 ½ tablespoons of the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the vanilla extract; continue to whip until the cream has stiff peaks and becomes whipped cream; next, fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese, gently, until all whipped cream is incorporated and the cream cheese is fluffy/thick; set aside in the fridge to keep cold until ready to assemble the dessert; this is the “cheese” part of the “cheesecake”.

-Next, in another medium bowl, add the sour cream, 3 tablespoons of the sugar and 1 tablespoon of the vanilla; whisk well to completely combine; set this aside in the fridge to keep cold, as this is the “sweet sour cream” part of the dessert.

-Next, in another small/medium bowl, add the finely processed graham crackers, the pinch of salt, the honey, the applesauce, the ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, and using your fingers, rub the mixture together until it is well moistened and begins to resemble/feel like a graham cracker crust—the mixture should be moist and crumbly; cover with plastic wrap to avoid it drying out, and set aside; this is the graham cracker “crust” part of the dessert.

-Next, add the raspberries and the hulled and diced strawberries to a bowl, and add the 2 remaining tablespoons of the sugar and the lemon juice; mix well with a spoon to incorporate, and set aside for a few minutes to allow the natural juices in the fruit to come out.

To Assemble Dessert:

*The easiest way to get the cream fillings into the glasses neatly is to use a pastry bag (piping bag); however, a larger Zip-Lock bag with the bottom corner cut off creating a small/medium-small opening makes a pretty good “piping bag”, as well; you will need 2, and will fill one with the “cheese” filling, and one with the “sweet sour cream” filling.

-Bring all of your components out and onto a work surface—the “cream cheese/whipped cream” mixture, the “sweet sour cream” mixture, the graham cracker “crust” mixture and the berries; line up the 4 glasses you will be using, and begin assembling the dessert by adding about 2-3 tablespoons of the graham cracker “crust” mixture to the bottom of each glass, followed by about 2-3 tablespoons worth of the “cheese” mixture, next followed by about 2-3 tablespoons worth of the “sweet sour cream” mixture, then followed by about 2-3 tablespoons worth of the fresh berry mixture; repeat this process once again with the graham cracker “crust”, the “cheese” mixture, the “sweet sour cream” mixture, and finally the berries; add a little decorative flourish with either one of the creams on top/on the sides of the glass, to make it look like the top of a classic cheesecake, if you wish; place the desserts into the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour, to allow to chill completely and firm up; serve and enjoy cold.

** You may find that there are some left over ingredients – if you have quite a bit, feel free to make another desert glass; I’d rather there be plenty to work with than not enough.