Unbaked cheesecake is the oldest of all the light desserts I know. The one I make is refreshing, has a mousse-like texture and a very pleasant slight tanginess. When two weeks ago Charles from 5 Euro Food posted a luscious Prickly Pear Cheesecake recipe, I decided that since most bloggers I know prepare no-bake cheesecakes with high-calorie cream cheese, I should write about my way of making this popular dessert.
First, I never use cream cheese in sweet dishes. My unbaked cheesecakes are always made with smooth fresh cheese, often called quark or fromage blanc (not only in French-speaking countries; thank you, Ping!), which looks like a very thick yogurt and is available almost all around the world. (It can also be made with well mixed curd cheese, but this one is much more difficult to get in many countries). Quark exists in several fat content versions, but I usually choose that one or the semi-fat (the 0% fat is a bit too tangy for sweet dishes). However, I have recently realised that even the fattest version has approximately twice less calories than regular Philadephia cream cheese. Do not think I choose fresh cheese because it is low-calorie! I simply love its taste and would never exchange it for cream cheese in my desserts. Greek yogurt is the closest substitution here and can very well be used instead of quark. Apart from that, I am not very fond of crust in cheesecakes, so I never make it (even though I love crusts in tarts).
Sugar, gelatin and fresh cheese are the basic ingredients. This time I have also added vanilla and, just before serving, I grated some dark chocolate over the cheesecake. It reminded me vaguely of stracciatella ice-cream, but in a much lighter version.
TIPS & UPDATE: This cheesecake can be prepared with Greek yogurt instead of quark.
The amounts of gelatin depend sometimes on the brand. Leaves are sometimes bigger, sometimes smaller, powdered gelatin sometimes contains other products and doesn’t set as well as pure gelatin in powder… In short, the aim here is to use here the amount of gelatin which sets 500 ml/2 cups/about 17 oz liquid.
individual ramekins if you want to serve individual portions
Preparation: 40 minutes + several hours in the fridge
Calories: about 150-250 kcal per serving depending on the cheese fat content
Ingredients (serves 5):
500 g fat or low-fat smooth fresh cheese (quark) or Greek yogurt
3 tablespoons hot water or hot milk/cream
10 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (you can make it even lighter using a sweetener or powdered stevia)
1 tablespoon gelatin (sometimes the amount depends on the brand; take the amount necessary to set 500 ml of liquid)
1 vanilla pod
Split the vanilla pod in two lengthwise. Put into the hot water or milk or cream and leave for about 30 minutes.
Take the pod out, grate the vanilla seeds into the liquid and put the split pod aside.
Mix the cheese with the sugar and the vanilla-infused liquid.
Dissolve the gelatin in warm water, add to the cheese mixture.
Mix for a couple of minutes.
Fill individual ramekins (or one big dish) with the cheesecake mixture.
Put into the fridge (covered) for a couple of hours. Usually 3 hours are enough.
Unmoulding the cheesecakes is the only tricky part.
Run a knife around the edge and then, quickly, invert the ramekin onto a serving plate.
Tap at the bottom very hard: the cheesecake should fall out.