For dessert, let them eat cheesecake - The New Indian Express

For dessert, let them eat cheesecake

Published: 18th August 2013 12:00 AM

Last Updated: 17th August 2013 11:38 AM

Cheesecake—a decadent, deliciously smooth and creamy  dessert often laced with colourful fruits such as strawberries, blue berries, mangoes, kiwis or medley of fruits. In my opinion, cheesecake is the most elegant way to end a meal and if I have my way, being a sweet toothed person, it could be the best way to begin with also.

It is not surprising that people have been perfecting the art of making cheesecakes for centuries. Variety of cheeses like Ricotta, Philadelphia, Quark etc  can be used to make the cheesecake. However much I may want to eat it, my nutritionist always cautions against the walloping calories in them.

Cheesecake cravings can be very uncomfortable if you are on diet as this special dessert is as fattening as it is appetising.  Sometimes, one really wishes that one could have a bit without worrying about the calorie explosion hidden in every bite.

But don't worry as there are some good news for our weight watchers and size zero aspirants. Yes now you can indulge in your sweet fantasies without much fuss about unwanted calories. The next best or a better option is hung curd or yoghurt cheesecakes.

This delectable dessert is known to have originated in the Greek islands of Samos. Physical anthropologists have unearthed cheese moulds there which were dated circa 2,000 BC. Many historians believed that cheesecake was served to Olympic athletes during the first Olympic games of 776 BC as it was considered to be a good source of energy. Greek brides and grooms also used cheesecakes as their wedding cakes. A Greek writer named Athenaus is credited for writing the first cheesecake recipe. The Greek method of making cheesecake is very basic and a far cry from today’s complicated methods and recipes. Ingredients comprising flour, wheat, milk, honey and cheese were formed into a cake and baked.

Cream cheese was an American addition to this dessert. There are multiple variations to this mouth watering sweet dish. Each region in the world has its own take on the best way of making cheesecake. Truly a scrumptious dessert, cheesecake has stood the test of time.

There is a succulent versatility of cheesecake. Once you learn a standard cheesecake recipe, you can amend or modify it in different styles and make it look and taste luscious and delicious each time you make it. Imagine a cheesecake with an Oreo biscuit crust filled with nicely chopped Snickers along with the standard filling tossed with peanut butter sauce and rich chocolate sauce. Or cappuccino cheesecake with a digestive biscuit crust with little coffee powder added to the batter and tossed with chocolate nuts and sprinkled coco powder. Thus, cheesecake lends itself to a number of variations that extend its reach and universal appeal. As goes the old saying, one feasts with eyes first before eating. Hence the presentation pays an important part to make the food appealing and palatable. Cheesecake can easily be the show stopper for most dinner tables owing to its elegance and beauty bestowed by luscious and colourful fruits and sometimes nuts, nougats or even chocolate chips.

Today's column is dedicated to my friends on diet, so I am going to share the recipe of the hung curd cheesecake.

 

HUNG CURD CHEESECAKE

Ingredients

For the filling

Plain yoghurt: 2kg

Sugar: 1-1/2 cup or sugar-free sweetener as per taste

Eggs: 4

Almond essence: 1 1/2 teaspoons

Lemons: 2

Cornstarch: 1 tablespoon

For the crust

Digestive biscuits: 10

Butter: 2 tablespoons

Brown sugar powdered: 1 teaspoon

Garnish

Fresh mangoes sliced: 2 large

 

Method

To make Greek yoghurt, lay a piece of cheese cloth or muslin in a bowl.

Add yoghurt and let it drain by keeping it in a large sieve. Drain the yoghurt for about 1 to 1/2 hours.

For the crust: Crush the digestive biscuits and add melted butter and brown sugar to it.

Put the mixture in a 9-inch spring form pan and blend it well with your fingers. Press it on all sides of the pan to form the crust base. Now keep it in a preheated oven (180° C) for 10 minutes.

Once it is brown, take it out from the oven and keep it in the fridge to cool.

Filling

To make the filling, combine the strained yoghurt, eggs, sugar , almond essence and blend with a beater or food processor. Add cornstarch, lemon juice (2 tablespoons) and a pinch of salt before blending the mixture again.

Now pour the mixture into the prepared crust and bake at 180°C in the oven for 35-40 minutes. After 35 minutes, check the cake for firmness. It is done when it’s firm on the edges and still a bit shaky in the centre.

Take the cake out of the oven and let it cool in the fridge for at least five hours, preferably overnight .

Once it’s completely cooled, release the spring form and take the cake out in a serving dish.

Decorate it with sliced fresh mangoes before serving.

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