Cheesecake Concordia

All over the world, food is an important part of celebrations. That remains true in prison. Holidays and birthdays are the most commonly celebrated events in here. Though, I have heard of inmates quietly celebrating the milestones of time served; 5 years down, 10 years down.

Prison party food is limited by the selection available through canteen. That, plus a lot of ingenuity, can produce some pretty impressive concoctions. It is true that 6-inch in diameter birthday cakes are available through canteen. They are the typical grocery store variety of white cake and icing in a molded, clear plastic package. You can get two normal-sized servings out of one cake, or four tiny pieces - not enough for a real bash, and definitely lacking that personal touch. A big prison celebration calls for homemade cheesecake.i_love_cheesecake2

I consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of cheesecake. It was always my request for birthdays on the outside. I was pleased to find that inmate chefs vie for the title of "Best Cheesecake," partly for bragging rights, and partly because a real good cheesecake demands a premium price in the underground inmate economy. You can get as much as twice the cost of the ingredients, and that's a lot of postage stamps! Some guys make a regular business of it. I have sampled my share of corrections creations and the following recipe is my favorite. I have included instructions so that the home cook can replicate the authentic prison process.

Chocolate Cheesecake Concordia

Ingredients (crust):     

  • 1 box graham crackers
  • 1/2cup contraband margarine
  • 4 squares of a chocolate bar
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • 2-3 tbsp. water

Ingredients (filling):

  • 3 pkgs. cream cheese
  • The cream filling from 2 pkgs. of sandwich cookies
  • The remaining chocolate


  • plastic mixing bowl
  • 2 – 8" cookie tins – saved from Christmas care packages
  • electric hot pot
  • steel coffee can
  • 2 gal. ice chest & ice

To make the crust, thoroughly crush the graham crackers. Melt together the margarine, chocolate squares and peanut butter in a double boiler made from a coffee can placed in boiling water in your hot pot. The margarine is contraband. It is not sold in the canteen, and is illegal to have in your cell. It must be smuggled out of the chow hall. To get the same effect at home, while preparing to make the cheesecake, place the required margarine in a used wax paper sandwich bag and carry it around for a few minutes tucked inside your underpants. Now, mix the graham crackers and melted ingredients together. Add just enough water to allow the paste to hold together. Press it firmly into the bottom and sides of two cookie tins. Chill in the ice chest. The 2-gallon chests are too small to accommodate the tins if left upright. Place the ice chest on its side, fill halfway with ice and place the tins on the ice.

To make the filling, soften the cream cheese. Scrape the cream filling from two packages of sandwich cookies. This is the only legal way in here to get the sugar and vanilla flavoring needed. Melt the remaining chocolate squares and the recovered cookie filling together. Beat until smooth, about 15 minutes. A good use for the leftover cookie parts is bribing another inmate to beat the filling for you.

Pour the creamed filling into the chilled crusts and spread evenly. Chill in the ice chest. When thoroughly chilled, garnish with chocolate shavings or the crumbled topping from a package of glazed donuts.

For other flavors of cheesecake; replace the chocolate with hard candy, crushed and melted in a small amount of hot water. For banana cheesecake, smuggle 1 banana from the chow hall as described above. Reserve a few slices for garnish. Mash the remaining banana and use in place of chocolate. Enjoy!