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As sweet as a… lemon?

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I don’t know about you, but when the weather outside is warm, the last thing I want to do is turn on a hot oven. That’s why I’m such a fan of no-bake recipes. Here’s one I tried the other day, by Bryanna Clark Grogan (I’ve had success with every one of her recipes I’ve made *knock on wood*). The recipe is called a “cheesecake” but to me it tasted more lemon-y than cheese-y. It was still delicious, just the same. The pie was light and just slightly sweet– exactly the way a dessert should be on a hot, sticky day.

(CCK’s notes: I made my pie crustless because I don’t really like crust. I also used less sugar, because I misread the directions. I DID use the optional coconut extract, and I agree with Bryanna that it adds something special. Finally, I used just over a tablespoon of agar flakes.)

Bryanna’s No-Bake Cheesecake Pie
Recipe by: Bryanna Clark Grogan
Serves 8
You can make this “cheesecake” with your own favorite fruit topping, such as strawberry or blueberry.

NOTE: You can use either 1/2 tsp. or 3/4 tsp. of agar powder in the filling– I prefer a slightly soft filling, so I use 1/2 tsp., but if you like it firmer use the 3/4 tsp.. Don’t use any more than that, however, or it becomes rubbery.

1 9″ Graham Cracker crust


1 and 1/4 (12.3 oz.) boxes extra-firm SILKEN tofu

3/4 c. plus 2 T. water

1/3 c. light unbleached or white beet sugar

2 T. lemon juice

1 tsp. lemon extract

1/2-3/4 tsp. agar powder (or 1-1 and 1/2 T. agar flakes)

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

OPTIONAL: 1/2 tsp. coconut extract (I think this adds a richer flavor)

Make the crust and either microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes, or bake at 350 degrees F for 5 minutes, then cool while you make the filling.
To make the filling, mix the water and agar in a small saucepan, let it sit for a few minutes, then stir constantly over high heat until it boils. Turn it down and simmer gently for 3 minutes. Add the tofu, crumbled, to the pot along with the sugar and lemon juice. Stir until the tofu is hot to the touch (this is important so that the agar does not gel too quickly). Pour this into the blender or food processor with the extracts and salt and blend until VERY smooth, stopping and scraping the mixture down a couple of times. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate until firm and cold, at least 2 hours.
Spread the fruit topping evenly over the top before serving. Cut into 8 wedges.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m not a huge fan of crush myself, so your crustless ‘cheese’ (aka lemon) cake sounds and looks perfect to me. It’s so nice to still be able to have treats when it’s too hot to turn the oven on.

    Uncooked foods are Jen’s friend during the summer!

  2. Vaishali says:

    Wow, this looks so incredibly good, and I love lemony desserts. The ingredients sound quite healthy too, especially for a dessert.

  3. Mihl says:

    I’ve never had a crustless cheesecake, at first I thought this was a piece of goat cheese. Now I’m relieved! :)

    This looks really good especially because it doesn’t call for additional cream cheese, which I can’t get over here. Thank you for the review!

  4. Alice (in Veganland) says:

    Mmmm… I have only a complain! It’s not covered in chocolate ;-). Maybe I could eat this also after having my wisdom teeth removed tomorrow… I have lemons, agar-agar, silken tofu… Everything seems right!

  5. trustmyintuition says:

    that looks great! I’m not much of a crust person either. I love your plate too!

  6. Cookiemouse says:

    That cheesecake looks yummy. great picture!

  7. VEGAN TICKLES says:

    This dessert looks perfect for this LA weather.
    And thanks for checking out my blog.

  8. Irbas says:

    such a pretty plate!

  9. ChickPea says:

    Agreed on the crustless thing–my mom makes “pumpkin pudding” (aka just the filling from pumkin pie) every year for Thanksgiving because nobody in my family really likes the crust anyway!

  10. Ruby Red Vegan says:

    what?! half the fun of pie and “cheesecake” is the crust! but your lemon-y dessert still looks delightful. i wouldn’t say no, even if there were no crust!

    oh, and eating waffles with your fingers is okay. i will not look down on you for that! i just think it’s funny that you only now shared about your chopstick habits on the blog. i can’t use them to save my life – i just get frustrated with them because i just want to eat!

  11. bean_mix says:

    YUM that looks so delicious. Lemon is one of my favorite flavors! (despite not being able to consume much citrus- I persist!)
    You are the sweetest person alive! Your comment made my day so much brighter
    (sorry if I posted this twice!)

  12. loveofoats says:

    Mmmm that sounds heavenly on a day like today… I can’t wait until I get a food processor so I can make it 😉

  13. Bianca says:

    Yum! It sounds so easy and so refreshing. I think I’d make the crust though…the crust is the best part of the pie! :-)

  14. linds says:

    I made a blogroll!!! And I stuck you on it :) And I’ll cheer for Dallas as long as they don’t play my Habs :)

  15. Vaala says:

    That cheesecake looks delicious. I will definately be putting it on my to do list!

  16. Myrte says:

    Wow that looks so delicious… Shame we don’t have silken tofu where I live (the Netherlands). I have once seen a recipe for a tofu cheesecake made with firm, crumbled tofu. (But come to think of it, that was actually a baked cheesecake) Do you think that would work?

  17. DJ says:

    I thought you’d made vegan cheese when I first saw your crustless cheesecake! But it sound lovely and refreshing on a hot day, though I would include the crust as I love the contrast between smooth and crumbly myself!

  18. Liz² says:

    a simple, very lemony, creamy pie made from just tofu? eek, thank you for posting the recipe, also your pie looks beautiful!

  19. Jenny says:

    That looks so pretty! What a great dessert.

  20. lengslog says:

    that reminds me of the coconut jelly! Check out this link:

    SoOo refreshing! You don’t need the crust it looks just fine. :-)

  21. ChocolateCoveredVegan says:

    Hey Myrte,

    If you make this recipe, don’t expect it to taste like cheesecake– I didn’t think it tasted cheesy at all (but it still had a tasty flavor). But I’m sure firm tofu would work in this recipe :o).

  22. Happy Herbivore! says:


  23. Veggie says:

    Yum! Your pie looks so great!

  24. poopiebitch says:

    YUM! I’ll have to try that one soon, now that I finally bought some agar flakes!

  25. Melissa says:

    Ohhh, I’ll bet this would be good with a raw crust – just dates and nuts. Mmmm.
    I’m meh on crust, I tend to like graham but not others. Raw pies always have the BEST crust, though, due to the high date factor. ‘Cause dates are fantabulous. :)

  26. Carolina says:

    This looks fabulous! I don’t have any agar powder or flakes, but I do have gelatin. Do you think I could replace the agar with gelatin in a 1:1 ratio?