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Update: 5.24.21: I am incredibly honored that over the years since this was originally posted, it has been an enormous hit with fans and followers all over the world! While the original recipe is perfect as is, I have updated the post with some FAQ and tips
People often ask me where my recipe ideas come from. And I never know what to answer- no, I really can’t answer. Because I simply don’t know.
Okay, sometimes I know. I mean, the Butterscotch Bundt Cake that I published in my column in Ami magazine was a dream I had during my commute home from work one day. Okay, so I can’t exactly tell you where the dream came from, but it’s something. And some recipes are carefully researched and created to fit a theme, holiday or inspiration.
But this recipe came to my head, completely formed, in a split second. I was talking to my sister-in-law about dessert I would bring for a party she was making. She mentioned a yellow color scheme, so naturally my mind went to lemon. And then, because there’s a cheesecake holiday coming up, my mind went to cheesecake. And in a tenth of a second, this entire recipe appeared, fully formed, in my head.
Good news is, it was as delicious in real life as it seemed in my head. And better news, it’s super easy, no bake, and looks really pretty. Can you possibly ask for anything else?
FAQ about No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake Mousse Cups
Scroll past the FAQ for the recipe itself!
Can I freeze these cups?
Yes, you absolutely can (I have a batch in my freezer as I type this!). They can be served frozen (it will have an ice cream like texture), partially frozen, or you can fully defrost and serve cold, for more of a creamy texture.
They can be stored in the fridge for a few days, but if you want to make them more ahead of time, you should freeze them.
Can I make this in a large graham cracker pie crust instead of individual cups?
Yes, you can. Note, however, that the only way to slice it into neat portions is to freeze it. At it’s non-frozen consistency, it can only be scooped, not sliced.
You can also make this mixture in a large trifle bowl, instead of individual cups.
Can I make this in a different fruit flavor, instead of lemon?
Yes, I have done it many times! You’ll want to sub a different flavor of fruit pie filling (homemade or from a can), in place of the lemon pie filling. I’ve done it with strawberry, blueberry, cherry, apple and others. It’s important to note, however, that while lemon pie filling is smooth and creamy, most fruit fillings are not.
What I like to do is open the can or container of pie filling and stick an immersion blender right in! Blend until completely smooth and creamy, then proceed with the recipe.
Another note is that while lemon pie filling is sweet, it’s slightly tangy and often less sweet than other fillings. To compensate for the additional sweetness of the other flavors, I omit some or all of the powdered sugar in the recipe. My reccomendation is to make it with no sugar, then taste and add it at the end if you feel it’s necessary. (Simply stir it in with a rubber spatula.)
Do you have any serving suggestions to make this even prettier and/or more delicious?
I sure do! Here are some of my favorite serving suggestions:
- Top the lemon mousse with a layer of strawberry sauce. You can use a store-bought sauce of your choice, but my preference is to use the homemade strawberry sauce from this recipe, which is very easy to make.
- Instead of strawberry sauce, you can top the No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake Mousse Cups with a dollop of whipped cream and some slices of fresh strawberries.
- Instead of using graham cracker crumbs, you can play around with crunchy elements to use instead, such as vanilla cookie crumbs, lemon wafer rolls (I like to stick them into the top for a cool visual element!), vanilla or lemon cake crumbs, etc. You can have fun and go crazy, just make sure that the flavor of the crumbs works well with lemon!
- Make a layered dessert by making another flavor of mousse per my instructions above. My choice for this would be strawberry. Use a tall cup, and pipe or spoon alternating layers of the two flavors of mousse into it. It’s a great way to make this extra elegant!
Can I use homemade lemon curd instead of lemon pie filling?
Yes, you certainly can. It’s obviously more work, but well worth the effort! You can also use lime or grapefruit curd instead of the lemon.
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- 1 cup heavy whipping cream or non-dairy whip topping
- 1 cup lemon pie filling
- 12 ounces unwhipped cream cheese (or tofutti cream cheese)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- a few drops yellow food coloring, optional
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons sugar
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter or margarine
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the cream until stiff.
- Remove from the mixer and set aside. (No need to wash the bowl before continuing.) Add the lemon pie filling and cream cheese to the mixer and beat until smooth. Add the vanilla extract, food coloring (if using) and powdered sugar and beat until combined.
- Using a rubber spatula, add the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture, slowly (do it in batches), until its fully incorporated. Set aside.
- To make the crumbs, combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter or margarine.
- Place a small amount of the crumbs on the bottom of a cup. Pipe the mousse over the crumbs to fill the cup, then add more crumbs on top.
- Serve chilled.
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Thanks for stopping by friends! Hope you love these gorgeous little treats. Have a great Shavuot and come back after for some yummy healthy recipes. -Miriam
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