cheesecake is quite possibly my favorite dessert, every time I see it on a restaurant’s menu my heart faints.
I’d scarf down a piece of that creamy, luscious concoction in no time (well not really, but you get the idea), but I am painfully aware of its not so clean ingredient list. therefore I picture my belly’s situation after a restaurant-size slice and I just shy away from it, both when it’s on the menu and when the idea of baking my own crosses my mind, too.
last week I was tempted by a deceptive dessert that I spotted on a table while entering a pub with my boyfriend. it looked like a creamy cheesecake, assembled in a jar and with plump and juicy raspberries studded into the silky cream. how could I resist such heavenly sight? I had had a rough day, plus my period took over, and if you’re a girl you’ll know sometimes you just have to treat yourself. so that was what I did. I ordered the cheesecake.
there have been only a few times in my foodie life when I’ve been disappointed by a dish. that was one of them.
I expected a silky smooth, melt-in-your-mouth dollop of goodness, but I got a slice. okay, not a big deal. but the texture of said slice was completely off, not creamy at all – in fact, it was overbaked, and it was easy to guess just by looking at the dark brown top.
so long story short, I left the pub thinking about cheesecake, and how I could make one that didn’t involve tons of cream cheese, sugar, eggs and all the fixings.
when I first cut out meat from my diet I also made a promise to myself: besides legumes and eggs, I would’ve eaten cheese, but less, and of a finer quality. back then I used to have low-fat cream cheese about once a week, smeared on some sort of carb (bread, or corncakes) or enjoyed as a dip for raw vegetables. my decision to reach for finer foods also led me to re-discover the beautiful variety of cheeses my homeland has to offer, enjoyed in moderation of course.
I found another, healthier way to curb the craving of a creamy, milky cheese in unprocessed, genuine soft cheeses such as ricotta and cottage cheese. I know the latter isn’t typically italian but it’s still healthier than cream cheese – no nasties allowed here!
having no access to basically all the ingredients for the classic cheesecake recipe, I had to find alternatives. given that I was already altering the recipe, I thought I’d go for something completely different. I left behind the crust, and used cornstarch to give more structure to the batter, so this recipe is gluten free and pretty low carb compared to the original. there’s just a spoonful of maple syrup in there, while a ripe banana provides a hint of sweetness without having to resort to processed sugar.
the idea of using cottage cheese was inspired by a couple posts I read on vollkorn magazine’s instagram page (this one and this one), and since I wanted to make my cheesecake on the low calorie side I decided to skip the crust altogether.
for this one I used a blend of regular and low fat cottage cheese, plus non-fat greek yogurt. next time I will probably try to use a mixture of ricotta and cottage cheese, and maybe stevia in place of the banana… and add chocolate! because let’s face it, cheesecake and chocolate in the same sentence. doesn’t that sound good to you?
keep your eyes peeled for another cheesecake recipe 😉
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until the next time,
this cheesecake recipe comes together in no time, requires minimal washing-up and is highly customisable. if you have a blender, some cottage cheese, yogurt and some kind of fruit jam you're all set for a clean yet delicious treat!
- 200 g cottage cheese
- 200 g light cottage cheese
- 100 g non-fat greek yogurt
- 50 ml milk (I used a cashew-coconut blend)
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- one very ripe banana
- 2 eggs
- 3 spoonfuls cornstarch
- a pinch of salt
- 50 g raspberry jam (fruit sweetened or sugarfree)
- orange juice, as needed
preheat oven to 160 C.
grease a 20cm springform pan with coconut oil, then line the inside with parchment paper. if you're going for the sleek, bakery style look, cut a circle of parchment that's the same size of the inside of the pan. cut another piece of parchment long enough to line the sides of the pan. make sure all the pieces stick to the sides and bottom thanks to the coconut oil.
to a high speed blender, add cottage cheese, greek yogurt, milk and maple syrup and blend until smooth. scrape the sides of the machine as needed.
blend in the banana, chopped into large pieces.
crack in the eggs and run the blender on high for about one minute, then sift in cornstarch, add salt and whizz one more time to combine.
pour the cheesecake mixture into prepared pan and bake for one hour.
when it's done allow the cake to cool down into the oven for about 20 minutes. this should prevent the top from cracking.
take it out and let cool completely before transferring the cake to the fridge for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
in a small bowl combine raspberry jam with enough orange juice to achieve a smooth and slightly runny but not liquid consistency.
smear on top of the cheesecake and serve.