Cheesecake: easy retro recipe

Purists would not call this strawberry fridge cheesecake a cheesecake.  And I would be more comfortable calling it a 70’s retro fridge tart.  But what’s in a name?

The first strawberry in our garden.

I was prompted by the first strawberry (yes, only one) in our garden, and my sisters’ constant requests, to recreate this standing feature on our family table in the Seventies.

The food of the Seventies, is something most of us would rather forget.  Although I understand retro food is becoming quite trendy again!

Fruit punch, crudités with dip, fondue and chicken-a-la-king featured at most dinner parties, where the guests were clad in bell-bottoms and danced to the songs of Abba and Neil Diamond.

Gelatine was a staple in many South African pantries.  And everything was moulded.  Peas in green jelly, cucumber in a salad ring, fish-shaped mousse……you name it.  They all featured on the famous Seventies buffet table.

My mother was never a slave to these food trends and she always cooked classic, traditional dishes.  But she was happy to include Ideal Milk (evaporated milk) in her dessert repertoire.

When scarlet strawberries were in abundance at the Stellenbosch strawberry farms, my mom would make a quick and easy strawberry fridge tart with Ideal Milk and gelatine (so retro!).

Unfortunately she lost the original recipe, but promised she would do her best to recreate it for Sugar on ToastBut until then, my sisters and I will have to do with my version.



Biscuit base
1 packet Tennis biscuits, crushed
1 t ground cinnamon
90 g butter, melted

15 ml gelatine
30 ml water
250 g cream cheese
250 ml sugar
120 g fresh strawberries, pureed (makes about 125 ml puree)
1 t vanilla essence
1 can evaporated milk, chilled in the fridge


  1. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  2. In a large bowl, add cinnamon and melted butter to crushed biscuits.
  3. Mix thoroughly, and press mixture into bottom of a pie dish (see Tip).
  4. Bake the base for 10 minutes till light brown.  Leave it to cool.
  5. Sprinkle the gelatine over the water and allow to sponge.
  6. In one bowl, beat the cream cheese and sugar together.
  7. Add the strawberry puree and vanilla essence.  Stir through.
  8. In another bowl, beat the evaporated milk until very stiff.
  9. Melt the gelatine over boiling water.
  10. Add to the cream cheese mixture and mix thoroughly.
  11. Add the whipped evaporated milk to the cream cheese mixture and combine well.
  12. Pour into pie dish over the biscuit base.  Allow to set in the refrigerator for at least two hours, preferably overnight.
  13. Decorate with fresh strawberries and serve.


  • You can also use a 22 cm springform cake tin, but then it is essential to leave it in the refrigerator overnight to set.

This improper unbaked cheescake, has won me over.  It’s light and tastes good,  and is speedily easy to make.  What is your favourite recipe from the 70’s?



  1. wow! this “cheesecake” looks amazing!

    1. It sure is!! And you can make it in a jiffy!

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