Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Healthy Cheesecake Experiment

For Father's Day last weekend, we had a little afternoon tea with my parents, my sister and my niece. I had planned on making Mini Choc Cherry Cheesecakes, but after making a Date and Nut Loaf and scones, as well as buying some different cheeses I decided we probably had enough food for a mid-afternoon snack. This left me with some cream cheese in the fridge, begging to be used. We LOVE the Choc Cherry Cheesecakes, but they really are a treat for special occasions only and a half batch makes 12 so I end up eating at least 4 of them. 

I decided to give the decadent treat a healthy revamp and use the Muesli Cookies recipe as a base. As tasty as crushed biscuits mixed with melted butter is, thinking about it makes my arteries ache so replacing it with something more healthy eased the palpatations a little. Because the overall recipe is a little different from both the Muesli Cookies and Mini Choc Cherry Cheesecake recipes, I've included the complete recipe below.

2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 tbsp linseed, soy & almond (LSA) mix
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ripe banana

  1. Preheat the oven to 150C (130C fan forced). Line 12 holes of a regular sized muffin tray with paper cases.
  2. Place all ingredients in a food processor and whiz for 20ish seconds until everything is combined and the oats are mostly chopped.
  3. Spoon about a teaspoon worth of mixture into each paper case and flatten. You only want a thin base.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly brown.
60g white chocolate
1/4 cup cream
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup raw caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
about 200g frozen mixed berries

  1. Put chocolate and cream in a small pan over low heat and cook, stirring until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth. Be careful not to burn. Cool.
  2. Whiz the berries in a food processor to break down large lumps.
  3. Beat cream cheese, sugar, egg, vanilla and cooled chocolate mixture in a large bowl until well combined. If the cream cheese is too cold, it will form lumps and won't combine properly. Also if the chocolate mix is too hot, it will cook your egg. Fold in berries and divide the mixture between the paper cases, on top of the muesli mix. Level the tops and bake for 15-20 mins or until just set.
  4. Cool in trays, then in the fridge. They need a good few hours cooling before serving.

These cheesecakes are definitely not as decadent or moorish as the chocolate version, but this is great because I am satisfied after one instead of wanting to devour the whole tray! I was a bit concerned that the muesli base wouldn't marry with the cheesecake flavour, but it really does work well, and it holds together much better than a traditional cheesecake base. The only ammendment I would make is to reduce the amount of honey, as honey is quite a powerful flavour. One tablespoon might be enough. All in all, this was a successful experiment, providing a healthier version of cheesecake that I'll make again.

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