Being left with a kilogram of quality natural Greek yoghurt in the fridge last week had me thinking about cheesecake. I've recently been experimenting with both baked and non-baked cheesecake styles (much to the family's delight), but the Greek yoghurt took me in a different direction.
If you love baked cheesecakes, and would like to try something that is a wee bit lighter in kilojoules (the difference is 300kJ per serving, or 200kJ per 100g) while keeping the same dense creamy texture, please give this cheesecake a try. If you prefer a tangy-er lemony cheesecake, add in the lemon juice and zest. Or for a deeper vanilla flavour add in the seeds from a vanilla bean.
100% of my testers preferred this cheesecake to Donna Hay's Classic Baked Cheesecake (which is made with a combination of ricotta and cream cheese). I also have die-hard non-baked cheesecake lovers in my family who give this recipe two thumbs up.
This should serve 12, but I make it in an 8" or 9" square* and then cut it into small squares which serves around 20 -25 portions (halves the kilojoules you're taking in!)
This cheesecake can be served with your favourite berries and/or a berry coulis.
175g plain sweet biscuits (Arnotts 'Nice' are great)
85g slightly salted butter, melted
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
500g (2 x 250g blocks) cream cheese
500g plain natural Greek yoghurt (8-10% fat level), drained of any watery liquid
200g caster sugar
3 large free range eggs
1 TBSP (20mL) vanilla extract
2 TBSP (40mL) fresh lemon juice
1 vanilla bean - scraped seeds OR fine zest of one lemon
1. Preheat oven to 150 deg C. Bring your cheese, yoghurt and eggs to room temperature.
2. Line an 8" square* or 9" round pan with non-stick baking paper. Ensure you have some strips running under the base and up the sides to create little handles to help remove the cheesecake once baked.
3. In a food processor, process the biscuits to crumbs.
4. Mix crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter, then press mixture into the base of your prepared pan. Place in fridge, until filling is ready.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat the softened cream cheese and sugar until light and creamy. Add in yoghurt, beat until combined.
6. Add in eggs, extract, lemon juice and either your vanilla bean or lemon zest and beat on low until just combined.
7. Pour onto base. Allow any bubbles to settle. Tap the base of pan on a tea towel spread on the bench top, to assist with bubble removal. If there are any still lurking on the surface, use the back of a teaspoon to break open.
8. Place pan on middle shelf of preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. The cheesecake should be just set but still a bit wobbly in the centre.
9. After 45 minutes, turn off oven and leave cheesecake inside for one hour. After an hour, remove pan and leave pan to cool on a cooling rack. When it achieves room temperature, cover pan in cling film and place in refrigerator to set (minimum 8 hours).
10. Remove cheesecake carefully from pan, and cut into serving portions. Serve with your choice of fresh berries and/or a berry coulis. Enjoy!
* If you are baking in a square pan, you can have the corners receiving a bit too much heat, which can dry out your cheesecake corners and edges. To prevent this, you can wrap your pan with baking strips. To make your own, use an old towel cut into 7" strips length-ways, wet down and wring out, wrap around your pan, pinning to hold together. Otherwise, just use a round pan!