This cheesecake is a light and delicious dessert that doesn't even require baking. For those who don't care for really rich and heavy desserts or really dense cheesecakes, this will do the trick. It is so refreshing and good after all of the heavy holiday desserts we have been eating. I have always loved this version of cheesecake. I love the little zingy lemon flavor.
This recipe was given to me by a family friend, Ken. We have known him and his wife for years. We attended the same church when I was just a teenager and they and my parents have remained friends for all of these years. They are just some of the best people you would ever want to know. Actually, I didn't even have to make this recipe myself, because Ken made it for me and took us all out to lunch and then back to their house for dessert. How sweet was that? He also made a really good pie that I will share with you at another time.
His wife, Dora, is one of those people who is so organized it's amazing to me. She had binders filled with recipes she had gotten through the years and allowed me to go through them and copy any I might be interested in. These are tried and true recipes she has gotten over the last fifty or so years from mostly excellent Kentucky cooks. Many were handwritten copies. I will be making these and posting them in the next few weeks.
The best recipes I come across, besides those that my own family have enjoyed for years, come from going to the people who cook them, sitting down and visiting and discussing them and browsing their collections of recipe treasures. It also makes the recipes more special to me, because when someone gives you their recipe in the south, it really is an honor. Some cooks are a little funny about just giving the recipes they get the raves over out like that. Obviously I am not one of those people...lol. Fortunately, my friends and family are not like that either. They are just mostly generous beyond belief.
If you have good cooks in your family or among your friends and they have recipe collections, ask them sometime to share them with you. Get those family recipes written down also. I can't tell you how many folks write to me and try to describe a dish or dessert their mother or grandmother or father made and they never got the recipe. Now, they are gone and the recipe went with them. It is so rewarding to me when they can recreate similar recipes from our site here, but it would be even better if they had the original. One of my motivations for starting this blog was to get our family recipes all written down in one spot so that, hopefully, our children and future grandchildren will have them. Well enough of my rambling...on to the cheesecake recipe. Here is what you will need:
1 3 oz. pkg. lemon gelatin
1 cup boiling water
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk, chilled
3 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup butter, melted (1 stick)
Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Add lemon juice. Allow to cool. Cream together cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Add gelatin and mix well. Whip the evaporated milk and fold into the gelatin mixture.
Mix graham cracker crumbs with butter, reserving 1/3 cup for topping. Press into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9"x13" dish. Pour in filling. Sprinkle the reserved crumbs on top. Chill for 3-4 hours before serving.
Ken's Lemon Cheesecake!