Rory Macdonald's strawberry and black pepper no-bake cheesecake

Chef Rory Macdonald's No-Bake Cheesecake

The European-style recipe makes a light and dense dessert with a kick.

Epicurious' 4 Levels series shows three versions of a classic dish followed by the science behind each. In this episode, acclaimed pastry chef Rory Macdonald elevates cheesecake with a savory crust and a triple-cream brie-style cheese from France.

Chef Rory adds texture to the dish with an oat biscuit rather than the traditional graham cracker crust, combines cream cheese and Brillat-Savarin cheese, and tops the pastry with fresh strawberry puree. He uses a piping bag and ring molds to plate the cake, which is finished with fresh strawberries and freshly cracked black pepper. He says the oat and black pepper biscuit provides a nice texture for the no-bake cake, which according to the food scientist, is more like a mousse than the typical cheesecake custard.

"This is a European-style cheesecake: It's set rather than baked, which makes it much less heavy," Chef Rory explains. "It's also made with a brie-style cheese, which is a much stronger flavor, so this cheesecake is not as sweet as normal. The strawberries and black pepper are the perfect matches to cut through the richness and give it a slight kick of heat."

Watch the video for more pro tips on cheesecake and get the complete recipe below.


Strawberry and Black Pepper No-Bake Cheesecake


  • 200 grams Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 300 grams Brillat-Savarin
  • 500 grams cream
  • 180 grams yolks
  • 120 grams sugar
  • 60 milliliters Frangelico
  • 5 leaves gelatin
  • Salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 200 grams strawberry puree
  • 200 grams fresh local strawberries


  1. Cream the cheese and the cream together in a KitchenAid stand mixer with a beater.
  2. Whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  3. Add to cream cheese mix, ensure there are no lumps.
  4. Soak gelatin in iced water, warm Frangelico, melt gelatin, add to mixture, pipe into molds.

Get the recipe for Chef Rory's oat biscuit in his cookbook, "BAKE," and learn more about pursuing a career in Pastry & Baking Arts at ICE.

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