Friday, February 28, 2014

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How to Make "Orange is the New Black" Prison Cheesecake


The hit Netflix series Orange is the New Black is based on a true story: an upper-class white girl, Piper, goes to prison on 10-year-old drug charges. There's lots of fighting, gratuitous nudity, and even a transgender inmate. But the producers didn't include something the book emphasized: prison cheesecake. 

Apparently, inmates often fill their hours by concocting microwave creations, relying entirely on ingredients from the prison commissary or those smuggled in by the kitchen staff. Piper specialized in cheesecake, and lucky for us (maybe), she included the recipe in her book.

So being the cheesecake fan that I am, I had to make it.

What You Need

Here are the instructions, excerpted from the book by Piper Kerman:

  1. Prepare a crust of crushed graham crackers* mixed with four pats of margarine stolen from the dining hall. Bake it in a Tupperware bowl for about a minute in the microwave, and allow it to cool and harden.
  2. Take one full round of Laughing Cow cheese, smash with a fork, and mix a cup of vanilla pudding until smooth. Gradually mix in one whole container of Cremora**, even though it seems gross. Beat viciously until smooth. Add lemon juice from the squeeze bottle until the mixture starts to stiffen. Note: This will use most of the plastic lemon.
  3. Pour into the bowl atop the crust, and put on ice in your bunkie's cleaning bucket to chill until ready to eat.
*I used one cup of graham cracker crumbs. This made for a crumbly crust, so I'd suggest using 3/4 cup. 
**This proved to be the most difficult ingredient to track down. I finally found it at Wal-Mart. Since it's non-dairy, it's not in the refrigerated section; it was down the coffee aisle, hidden on the bottom shelf, at my store. Cremora comes in different size containers: I'm guessing prison doesn't have the jumbo size, so I used about two-thirds of the 22-ounce bottle.

The resulting mixture was surprisingly smooth, although I did cheat and use my KitchenAid. It wasn't entirely cheesecake-like, though. More like marshmallow creme, but not quite as sweet. To be perfectly honest, it kind of grossed me out, probably because I knew it was primarily coffee creamer. That said, if I was in prison, it would be a welcome treat. (And my husband thought it was halfway decent.) 

My verdict: Save this for your Orange is the New Black viewing party. Otherwise, it will sit untouched in your fridge. It's been in mine for a week. 


  1. No wonder it turned out gross, you didn't use even remotely correct ingredients. You're supposed to use smiling cow cheese, which is much softer and significantly larger than a Babybel. The non-dairy creamer should have been the liquid kind, which is found in the refrigerated section, and you only needed about six ounces. You also needed about six ounces of graham cracker crumbs (about 1 1/2 cups) and 4 cups of vanilla pudding rather than just the one.