If you read our earlier interview with Orange is the New Black's Kate Mulgrew, you'd know that her character, inmate cook Galina “Red” Reznikov, feels that improvising recipes is beneath her. But back when the real-life Piper Kerman, author of the memoir OITNB is based on, was doing time at Litchfield minimum security prison, she discovered that a microwave, ingredients swiped from the dining hall and commissary snack food meant an escape from bland prison food.
What was one of her go-to favorites? Prison cheesecake. “It was the only dish out of the jailhouse cooking canon that I mastered with confidence,” Kerman told us recently. “Chilaquiles, which is the most delicious of the prison classics, was too intimidating, in part because you needed contraband onions to pull it off. But the cheesecake made properly, has an uncanny resemblance in texture and taste to what you can enjoy at The Cheesecake Factory.” Here's her recipe from her blog, THEPIPEBOMB.com.
From: Piper Kerman
4-6 pats of margarine
1 six-oz. package of Graham Crackers, Vanilla Wafers or Oreos
6 oz. of Coffee Mate
4 cups of vanilla pudding
1 ½ cup lemon juice
1 round of Laughing Cow cheese (8 wedges)
1. Steal the margarine from the dining hall, melt in microwave and crumble cookies into a 1-quart Tupperware dish that you've bought from the commissary or borrowed from your bunkie along with the margarine. Mix well and press firmly into the bottom of the dish. Place in the microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. Your crust is done.
2. In a separate dish, squash Laughing Cow cheese into as smooth a mass as possible. Mix in part of the lemon juice and continue to blend. Try to work out the lumps. Mix in pudding and continue to blend, add more lemon juice to taste. Blend until filling is as creamy as possible, then gradually mix in Coffee Mate. Some people double the Coffee Mate; this seems overboard to me. When mixture is smooth & thick, pour over the crust.
3. Chill in your plastic washbucket filled with ice under your bed (or in a refrigerator if the part of the prison where you work has one you can slip it into), for at least 4 hours. Eat.
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