Lemon ‘Cheesecakes’

These were inspired by my discovery of Lemon flavoured Chobani. A low fat, low sugar alternative to regular cheesecake – no cream, no butter, no actual cheese..more like a delightful yoghurt tart! But that doesn’t sound as good does it?

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There’s no denying that cheesecake is delicious. But I am here to provide an [almost] equally as delicious alternative, with a whole lot more going for it. I love my Chobani. Mostly because they have this mysterious way of getting really, really thick yoghurt without the fat and with heaps of protein. They say it’s all in the whey removal process, but I reckon they’re holding something back. Why can’t other yoghurt brands come close?? Anyway, enough conspiracy theories. More food.

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Lemon ‘Cheesecakes’…

For the base:

1/2 cup macadamias

1/2 cup coconut

1/4 cup oats

3 fresh dates

For the filling:

3 x 170g tubs Chobani Lemon flavour

1/2 x cup water

2 x tsp agar agar

1/2 tsp vanilla

For the topping:

3 x lemons (juice and zest)

125g sugar

1 tbs corn flour

2 tbs hot water

3 eggs

 

Ok, you guys are going to hate me. I used the agar agar again. It’s such a pain but I really do prefer it to the bones and cartilage in gelatine. Ouch.

The base is the easy part. In a food processor, combine oats, coconut, macadamias and dates until they come together to form a sticky clump of dough.

Press about a tablespoon each into the base of a 12-hole muffin tin, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

For the filling: heat 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan and mix in the agar agar. Simmer for five minutes until the agar is dissolved and the liquid is thickened.

Empty your Chobani tubs in a big bowl and stir through the vanilla, then pour the agar liquid in and stir as quick as you can. It’s gonna go lumpy. You might get teary. But don’t stress too much about it, it’ll taste good, ok?

Spoon the yoghurt mixture onto the cooled bases. Fill the muffin holes to the top. Then place in the fridge while you make the topping.

I just have to stop you there. This was a momentous occasion for me, because I discovered how delicious lemon curd was. Oh my. Words can not describe. And this is the relatively healthy version without the butter!! It’s dangerously easy to make.

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In a saucepan, heat up lemon juice and lemon rind, then stir in sugar until dissolved. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. In another bowl, combine the corn flour with hot water to dissolve and thin it out.

Using a whisk, gradually pour the beaten eggs into the lemon syrup mixture. Do it slowly – you don’t want the eggs to scramble. Whisk, whisk, whisk away. It will take a good five minutes and you will feel like you’re wasting you’re life, until FINALLY, you see it come together. It should be thick and smooth and luscious. Stir in the cornflour mixture until well incorporated.

Then, remove the cheesecakes from the fridge, and top them with a tablespoon of lemon curd. You can be a little bit fancy and put a lemon slice on top. But to be honest I only did it because these were a birthday present! Leave them in the fridge for a few hours, ideally overnight, and then share the love. X

 

 

 

 

Choc Mint Slice: A Match Made in Heaven

Does your chocolate need a friend? This month’s posting will be after Valentine’s Day, so you may have a bit of extra chocolate around. What’s your favorite chocolate match? Be it traditional peanut butter or something more exotic like cayenne + chocolate.

I can’t say that I had a lot, or any, chocolate lying around after Valentine’s day – but that’s never stopped me baking before.

I have many a favourite chocolate match: chocolate and orange, chocolate and salt (chocolate covered pretzels anyone?!), chocolate and cherry, chocolate and bacon  (it exists!) aaannndd good old choc mint. Reminisce to my high schools days when a trip to the bakery for a peppermint slice every morning was the norm (I know, I’m screaming on the inside) – but thank god I’ve found a healthy version!

Discovered over at Food Daily it looked too good to ignore. Low in saturated fat and added sugar, and a good hit of calcium and protein from the filling = bliss!  Antioxidants and minerals from those emerald green pistachios? Tick! The peppermint slice of a nutritionist’s dreams, what more could you want?

Alas, there was one problem: it contained gelatine. Oh, why do you taunt me so? Gelatine is out in my books, so I was forced to find another alternative (a more expensive, more pain-in-the-ass alternative) but it happened. Cue: agar agar.

Agar agar is a type of seaweed. It’s actually quite amazing but very tricky to work with because you need to be super precise with your measurements otherwise you end up with a rock. I found this magical seaweed and attempted to make the recipe only for it to be a complete, albeit delicious disaster. It was a gooey mess.

Round two, much better.

After a momentary panic due to a chocolate seizure – I learnt what this is the hard way – I brought it all together in the end. Let me just say, if you are melting chocolate and yoghurt together, do it AT THE SAME TIME, not one after the other. Who knew?! I’m a nutritionist not a chef!

If using gelatine, this recipe will be a breeze.

If using agar agar, just read the packet instructions about 17 times and you should be ok.

If it’s a massive fail, it can’t be too bad. Chocolate, pistachio and mint in any form is heavenly.

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Choc Mint Slice

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, shelled
  • 3/4 cup dates, soaked in hot water
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 2 tbs gelatine  2 level tsp agar agar
  • 2 tbs caster sugar
  • 500g cottage cheese
  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 200g dark chocolate (70%)
  • 2 tbs Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tbs unsalted pistachios, shelled & roughly chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line the base of a rectangular pan with baking paper.
  2. In a food processor, combine oats, cocoa and pistachio until fine. Add the soaked dates, a few at a time, to form a dough. Then add oil to bring together.
  3. Press into prepared pan with your hands and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside and allow to cool.
  4. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup cold water to a simmer, and add in agar agar. Stir really well to dissolve. It will thicken instantly, but as long as you keep it hot it won’t set.
  5. Dissolve sugar with another 1/2 cup hot water to make a syrup. Add the sugar syrup, peppermint extract and cottage cheese to the food processor and blend until smooth.
  6. Now, working really quickly, combine the agar agar with the cottage cheese mixture in a bowl and stir frantically. The agar sets when it starts to cool so you need to be quick!
  7. Pour mixture over chilled base and refrigerate until set firm.
  8. Place chocolate and yoghurt in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water, TOGETHER, stirring until melted. (This is where the seizure happened..)
  9. Spread chocolate evenly over the peppermint layer then sprinkle with chopped pistachios.
  10. Chill and cut into even slices.

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