From Cook's Country
We wanted our Icebox Cheesecake recipe to have a supple, creamy texture—and great flavor too. We tried all manner of recipes, including those that relied on the stiffening power of Cool Whip, and found it was best to stick to the tried-and-true combination of heavy cream and cream cheese thickened with gelatin. Allowing the gelatin to hydrate in a portion of the cream, then bringing it to a boil in the microwave fully activated its thickening power. We whipped the heavy cream and cream cheese smooth before adding the cream and gelatin mixture to ensure the most thorough dispersal of the gelatin. Lemon juice, lemon zest, and a little vanilla added just enough spark to perk up the flavor of the tangy cream cheese, while a moderate amount of sugar kept the filling light. Our classic graham cracker crust couldn’t be easier to make—we combined crushed crumbs with a little butter and sugar to bind them, then used a measuring cup or flat-bottomed glass to pack the crumbs into the springform pan.
Don't rush the softening of the cream cheese. If microwaved, the cream cheese will cook slightly and eventually cause the entire cheesecake mixture to break. To speed up the process, cut the cream cheese into chunks and let it stand at room temperature for at least half an hour. When the cream cheese is no longer cold and gives easily under pressure, it's ready to use.
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