-115 g any crisp/crunchy cookies/crackers (oreos, marie biscuits, gingersnaps, digestives, graham crackers all work)
-1/3 cup melted butter
-2 blocks/500g full fat cream cheese (Philadelphia or mascarpone), softened at room temperature for at least an hour
-2 tablespoons Greek yogurt (omit if using philadelphia)
-2/3 cup powdered sugar
-1 1/2 cups whipping cream or heavy cream
-1/8th tsp salt
-Juice of 2 lemons (~30ml)
-Zest of 2 lemons (optional)
-1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
-2 tsp powdered gelatin (Optional, but makes for a more stable cheesecake that will fare better in hot weather)
-2 tablespoons boiling water
1. To make the base, place the cookies or crackers in a zip lock bag and crush them into as fine a crumb as you can manage. A rolling pin works especially well for this but any solid, heavy object will do (eg. a wine bottle, a can of beans or an overpriced textbook). You should end up with about 1 cup of crumbs Mix in the butter slowly, pouring in about a tablespoon at a time. You may not need all of it depending on what kind of cookies or crackers you used- stop when you are able to press the mixture between your fingers and have it hold its shape. Press the mixture into the bottom of a lined springform pan as tightly as possible. Use the bottom of a glass of measuring cup to press on the surface of the base to help make it flat and even if necessary. Chill the cheesecake base in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes.
2. (If using gelatin) Sprinkle the gelatin over the boiling water and whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved - if the gelatin isn’t dissolving, microwave the mixture for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between until it does. Leave to cool for 5 minutes while you start on the filling.
3. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese with a handheld mixer or stand mixer until it is smooth. Lower the mixer speed and add the rest of the ingredients, mixing until incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to the highest setting and whip the mixture until it has a texture somewhat similar to whipped cream and forms firm peaks (peaks that stay upright at the tips.)
4. If using the gelatin, slowly drizzle it into the bowl while mixing at a medium speed. (if it has solidified too much, microwave in 10 second intervals until it becomes liquid again) Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and make sure all the gelatin is evenly incorporated.
5. Pour the filling onto the chilled cheesecake base, smooth the top with a knife, and chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. Decorate chilled cheesecake with sliced fresh fruits before serving, if desired.