(Yoghurt) Cheesecake

February 28th, 2014 was the day I last posted to this blog. So much has happened, since. So so much. I’ve been really happy about it, mostly. But then, I never really got around to re-organizing life to make time for blog posts. And that’s not very nice, to be honest.

So, here’s me, trying to make a come back. With the hope that I’ll be more regular now on.

These seven plus months that I went missing, I was cooking. Cooking a whole bunch of good things. I also did a bit of travelling. And a TONNE of work (that’s my usual excuse, isn’t it?). And amidst all of that, I chanced upon a cheesecake recipe that uses Greek Yoghurt, instead of mascarpone. The couple of times I’d tried my hand at no-bake cheesecakes and regular cheesecakes when I was in USA, I’d ended up with fairly disastrous results. This one worked for me. So well! I did the one suggested in this recipe – a lemon blueberry cheesecake. I played around with it a little and did just a lemon cheesecake. Following that, there was a kiwi cheesecake. There was also a Black Forest cheesecake more recently. And a mango cheesecake when I went home for a bit this May. I also used the hung-yoghurt technique to make some pretty darned good tiramisu and I hope to be able to post that recipe soon enough too.

You can follow A Baking Girl’s recipe to the tee. But I’ll quickly go over the small changes I usually make – depending on what flavour I’m using.

Ingredients:
Must-haves:
For the Filling:
2 500g boxes of yogurt (I buy Nestle or Nilgiri’s), hung for a couple of hours until all the whey is drained out – results in 2 cups of hung yoghurt
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
For the Crust:
2 cups muesli, coarsely ground
2 tablespoons butter

Additional ingredients:
For the Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake:
3 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of one lemon
1/4 cup blueberries, whole
1/4 cup blueberries, crushed or roughly chopped (sieve out the seeds, if you like)
For the lemon cheesecake:
4-6 tablespoons lemon juice
4-6 tablespoons of sugar
A tiny bit of yellow food colouring
zest of 1-2 lemons
For the kiwi cheesecake:
1 kiwi, roughly chopped
1 kiwi mashed to pulp and strained
A tiny bit of green food colouring
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
For the mango cheesecake:
1 mango, roughly chopped
1 cup mango concentrate or mango juice (I used Paper Boat Aamras)
Extra sugar, if required.
A pinch of ground cinnamon
For the Black Forest cheesecake:
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup cherries, pitted and roughly chopped
2-4 tablespoons of cherry liqueur (you can use vodka, in case you don’t have cherry liqueur)
A few whole cherries, to garnish

(General) Method:
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. Line the base of your springform cake tin with the coarse ground muesli. Melt the two table spoons of butter and pour over so that the muesli is evenly covered. Bake this for 5-7 minutes, until the crust just begins to brown. Allow this to cool down to room temperature, while you prepare the filling.
3. In a bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, yogurt and vanilla with a hand blender for 1-2 minutes, until you get a smooth mixture.
4. Add cornstarch, pinch of salt, and the added flavours and blend again, for another minute or two. Read more on this in the Specific Instructions section below.
5. Pour filling over the crust, now, and bake for 35 minutes. Check the Notes section below for done-ness.
6. Let the cheesecake cool down to room temperature, by which point the centre will have set and then release the springform.

Notes:
1. When the cheesecake is done, it will be a little jiggly in the centre, though the edges will have started to pull away from the sides of the pan.
2. The disadvantage with over-baking will be a cheesecake that tastes more like flavoured cottage cheese with this slight rubbery texture. 30-35 minutes of baking time will ideally ensure a good cheesecake.

Special Instructions:
For the Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake:
1. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest in at Step 4 in the General Method above.
2. After Step 5 above, when you’ve poured the filling in, add the whole blueberries, the crushed blueberries and give the filling a little swirl for a pretty pattern.

For the lemon cheesecake:
1. Add the lemon zest in at Step 4 in the General Method above.
2. In a separate pan, cook the lime juice and the sugar, until the sugar has melted and the mixture reduces to a thick sauce. Add a small amount of yellow food colouring. Pour this over the cheesecake, when both the cheesecake and the lime syrup have cooled. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

(It’s worth noting that my best friend ate a couple of slices without complaining and I made it one more time, the exact same recipe, and this one was gone in 15 minutes flat, 5 people. So maybe it wasn’t *that* lemony, y’know.)
For the kiwi cheesecake:
1. Add the chopped kiwis zest in at Step 4 in the General Method above.
2. In a separate pan, cook a sugar syrup using the water and the sugar. When it has thickened to a sauce-like consistency (though not caramelized), add the strained kiwi pulp and the green food colouring. Pour this over the cheesecake, when both the cheesecake and the lime syrup have cooled. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.
(A few friends were over for dinner when I had made this and we were all too drunk to wait for photographs! Sorry!)
For the mango cheesecake:
1. Add the chopped mangoes in at Step 4 in the General Method above.
2. In a separate pan, reduce the mango pulp and the cinnamon to a thick consistency, adding sugar, if required. Pour this over the cheesecake, when both the cheesecake and the lime syrup have cooled. Refrigerate for an hour before serving.

For the Black Forest cheesecake:
1. Soak the pitted, chopped cherries in the liqueur/liquor for at least 30 minutes.
2. Add the cocoa powder and the soaked cherries in at Step 4 in the General Method above.
3. Garnish the cheesecake with whole cherries.
DSC_0040

And because I’ve baked so many cheesecakes over the past few months, I’ve had some pretty random ideas too:

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