Thursday, September 17, 2015

No-Bake Raspberry Cheesecake

A lot of people my age love "The Golden Girls" now. Great. Welcome. Where were you in 5th grade, when I was bringing VHS tapes of recorded reruns to sleepovers? Writing my favorite St. Olaf stories and Dorothy comebacks on the backs of my notebooks? In 7th grade, I sent handwritten letters to all four women. And when I brought my personalized, autographed Betty White headshot (which prominently featured her tiny dog, Panda) to school and it got lost in the midst of a bomb threat, no one cared. No one cared except my science teacher, Mr. Meyers, and it would've been really great to have shared that loss with a friend my own age.

I sound bitter, but I'm not. I'm glad people like it now because it means I can very easily buy a Golden Girls phone case on Etsy.

Prized possession/something I'd take with me in a fire

The show will always hold a special place in my heart and I'm so happy I found it on Lifetime -- Television for Women and Prepubescent Emily Schmidt -- when I did.

My first favorite show was "Laverne & Shirley." I would watch it on Nick at Nite after I was in my pajamas and one time -- not proud to say -- I peed my pants because I didn't want to leave before a commercial break. I loved TV... maybe too much, and, like, where were my parents? I never watched TV with my parents and if I had, my mom probably would've made me get up and go to the bathroom.

I wanted to be friends with Laverne and Shirley, and part of me probably still does. There are all sorts of fictional characters I have befriended in my head over the years -- Diane Chambers, Julia Sugarbaker, Liz Lemon... the list goes on.

In 4th grade, I found "The Golden Girls." There was no part of me that should've related to that show, but I really did. I got the jokes, I laughed out loud. I quoted it constantly -- not fun for friends, amusing for parents of friends. I found transcripts on the internet and pretended to deliver the lines. I guess that was me... realizing I wanted to be a comedy writer? I didn't define it like that until high school, but it was the first show I wished I had written. It taught me how to tell a joke and what story structure looked like and how to create characters with their own voices. I mean, thank God I was marathoning "Golden Girls" instead of... oh, I don't know, "S Club 7"? (I also watched that show sometimes, so I'm comfortable mocking it.)

A lack of cooperating friends means I'll find a way to be ALL of the girls for Halloween!

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the "Golden Girls" premiere. I think it's safe to say we're all better off having that show around. In a lot of ways, those four ladies taught me about friendship -- especially friendship with other women. They had different ways of communicating and problem-solving, and definitely knew how to give each other a hard time, but at the end of the day, it was always about how important they were to each other. The friendships with each other were what mattered.

I also think Blanche basically taught me about sex, but that's something I'll ponder on my own.

In the meantime, in honor of the four best fictional ladies I "know"... I give to you a recipe of the dessert that brought them together night after night to talk out their problems: cheesecake. 

No-Bake Raspberry Cheesecake

Approximately 9 graham crackers, crushed
1/2 cup pecan chips
1/3 cup melted butter
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 8-oz. packages of cream cheese at room temperature (seriously)
2/3 cup white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 packages of fresh raspberries

You're going to need a springform pan, so I hope you have one!
Combine the melted butter, crushed graham crackers, and pecans in a bowl.
Press the mixture onto the bottom of your springform pan, as best you can. Try to do it evenly, but don't be too hard on yourself.

Could've crushed those crackers better if I were more patient.

Chill the crust in the fridge while you make the rest of the cake.
Whip the heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form.

Soft Peaks: The Emily Schmidt Story

Add the lemon juice, sugar, and cream cheese, and whip until it's a thick mixture of delicious delight.
Add the raspberries and whip until you're comfortable with the consistency of the berries -- not whole, but also not obliterated by the mixer. Find that happy medium.
Evenly pour the mixture over the crust and make it look nice on top. Personally, I had a lot of fun creating flourishes with a spatula, but that's up to you.
Cover and chill in the fridge for 4+ hours.
Slice, share, enjoy, marvel at how you made a cake without turning on your oven.

You could substitute Cool Whip for the fresh whipped cream, but only if you're... a monster? Come on. There's really no comparison. Cool Whip makes your mouth slimy. That's a red flag.

Happy baking!