Light Unbaked Cheesecake/Greek Yogurt Mousse with Vanilla

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.

Special equipment:

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

(dark chocolate)

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.

45 Replies to “Light Unbaked Cheesecake/Greek Yogurt Mousse with Vanilla”

  1. Beautiful, Sissi, thanks for posting this – I can’t wait to try it myself. A low fat version of something as delicious as a cheesecake can only be a good thing and it looks so moussey and delicious, as you say, in your picture above! I had an idea… for the “unmoulding” of the cheesecake, it’s something I use often when making things like jellies or chocolate things. Would it work to submerge the ramekin or container in very hot water for a few seconds (not all the way of course so the water floods over the top!). The hot water will mean it melts away from the edge slightly and then it should just slide out from the mould easily.

    1. Thank you so much, Charles! I am also planning to post my way of making a baked cheesecake soon 🙂
      I hope you will like it if you try it. I must warn you: the taste has nothing to do with cream cheese-based cheesecakes. It is so different that once you get used to the tangy flavour, cream cheesecakes don’t taste as if they were made of cheese.
      Thanks a lot for the unmoulding tip! I know it can be used with jellies, but I have never tried with a cheesecake. I will test it next time!

  2. It looks delicious and so fresh! Magerquark is so fine and very versatile.

    Wow, you also live in Suisse Romande? That is awesome. Great to get to know you, my neighbor.



  3. Nice recipe. I like unbaked cheesecake also (with cream cheese) and CRUST:) The few baked cheesecakes I tried were not the best but good ones do exist. Anyway a German friend of mine does not eat cheese but he eats quark. Quark is not cheese according to him, but it is according to wiki! My friend is a biotechnologist (with PhD), so I can’t argue with him:) I’ve tried quark in chocolate cake – it was put on top of the cake batter before baking and no sugar was added to quark. The texture was quite pleasant.

    1. Thank you, Mr. Three-Cookies. If my hair was shorter, some of the scientific discoveries I make thanks to you would make it stand up, like in the cartoons 😉
      Quark is not a cheese? I wonder what is your friends’ (or scientific) definition of cheese. Usually quark is called fresh cheese, since it hasn’t been matured… I do beleive him though!
      I think I make both unbaked and baked cheesecake more or less German way (I mean the kind of cheese I use). Germans use quark or curd cheese from what I have heard. It’s common for Central and Eastern European countries.
      I don’t know why, but I have always hated the crust even in baked cheesecakes. (On the other hand I still my friends’ unfinished crust when we go for a good pizza; I love pizza crust!).

      1. Are you thinking of cutting your hair short:)

        Quark has no rennet added, very minor distinction. For me its cheese. Its similar to but different from cottage cheese (which I think has rennet) and is called tvorog in Russian? I am almost getting a headache:)

        1. No, but I can imagine someone with short hair, surprised while reading incredible things!
          Actually quark is very close to the natural fresh cheese. It is only mixed very well and maybe less drained before mixing. The natural cottage cheese is often called “curd cheese” because the industrial cottage cheese is so popular in the world and it has nothing to do with the Russian/Polish/Hungarian curd cheese (it has some cream added and the huge grains are produced by machines to make it look “fancy”).
          I sometimes make my curd cheese (Russian tvorog) sometimes with rennet, sometimes with a bit of lemon juice, sometimes without any acid component, if the milk is raw. Ask your German friend what he thinks about it 😉

  4. Sissi, you started my Friday off on the right foot! I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open when your post came up, OH did I do a double take! I do enjoy cheese cake even though being lactose sensitive, with the possibility of a low fat version? EVEN BETTER! Thank you for sharing, have to do some investigation on the fresh cheese soon…

    1. Thank you, Jeno fir the kind comment! I am also lactose sensitive… Strangely, I have never had problems after this cheesecake.

        1. When you buy the quark cheese you should look at the ingredients: if there is anything added (like cream or powdered milk), then don’t buy it!

          1. ok, I will definitely remember that. Thank you for the pointer! I do take this supplement right before eating any milk/cream added food, and having that made my San Francisco trip a magical one. We ate like people without lactose sensitivity, it was wonderful!

  5. Sissi, thank you for posting this – you’ve sent me on an exploration of quark! Although more popular in Europe, you’re quite right, I should be able to find it in Canada. I use cottage cheese and ricotta quite a bit but quark is different and I would love to try it as a substitute for cream cheese in cheesecake. I’m not overly concerned about calories or naturally occurring fat, but I much prefer whole foods, so this discovery is very exciting. And let me just say that your cake looks smashing! Love the vanilla bean, mmm… and what is that on top of your cake, shaved chocolate? How pretty! (great photo).

    1. Thank you, Kelly. Actually I find cottage cheese has something industrial and unnatural in it (in Europe they add cream to the ready granulated cheese from what I read), ricotta is for me too bland and quark or curd cheese is… perfect and, as you say, natural: it’s only made with soured milk. No cream added, no additives.
      I never think of cheesecakes as light, diet meals, but they miraculously happen to be light and this is the type of dish I prefer. I can indulge in it without any guilt. I prefer using the full fat cheese here, but it still has this fresh, tangy taste cream cheese or ricotta lack.
      Shaved chocolate added a second texture, which was very pleasant on the palate.

  6. Quark cheese? Don’t think I know that one? The only quark I know involves some protons and neutrons. Haha! Stupid me. Any relation to fromage blanc? I think we have that here. The cake looks fabulous tho. Great pic! Love the chocolate shavings on it.

    1. Thanks, Ping. Quark comes from German I think and in France (or French-speaking Switzerland) it is “fromage blanc” (white cheese). The names like quark, fresh cheese, cottage cheese, curd cheese etc. may be confusing because even in the English-speaking countries they may mean different things. That is why I said it looks like a very thick yogurt and has a slightly tangy taste… I didn’t know it was called fromage blanc in other countries! Thanks for the information, I will update the post.

  7. Sissi, you are amazing versatile food blogger. You make beautiful cake like this while you show us some scary looking fish (LOL, but remember, it wasn’t to me). You make all kinds of preserves while you make savory delicious dishes… You are a full of surprise. It’s so fun to receive email notification from you. 😉 I’m new to Quark and I learn something new today. Your cheesecake is definitely making everyone here happy on Friday!! Yeah! Have a great weekend!

    1. Thank you, Nami! You are so sweet… I cannot believe you see me in such a flattering light! You do exaggerate! Have a great week-end too! And congratulations for the CBS award!!!!

  8. Fromage blanc sounds fantastique! I love lighter cheeses. I like cheesecakes made with mascarpone or ricotta (not exactly light I know). I’d love to try this. I’ll keep an eye out for this cheese.

    1. Thank you, Greg! I am not sure if there’s a big difference between ricotta and fat fromage blanc… Mascarpone is definitely fat though, but sooo good! Now you make me crave for tiramisù!

  9. Looks and sounds lovely. I’ve never used fromage blanc actually, but can imagine it being much better than cream cheese. I bet this was so tasty. Hope you have a great weekend Sissi! xx

    1. Thank you, Caroline! I don’t know if it’s better for everyone, but it’s really different from cream cheese.

  10. Another brilliant recipe…I am exploring the use of quark too…this looks so healthy and no crust…I could live with that (or without the lack of!) crust….looks totally yummy…

    From chutneys to cheesecake….wow! what a large portfolio…btw, am still looking for damsons….want to make that chutney and give it as presents for diwali/ christmas this year…

  11. Now that looks just lovely Sissi! I am really interested in this recipe, because my daughter is watching her fat and sugar intake, seldom eats what I make these days, and this one looks really promising. I found some quark at the local store the other day. I jiggled the container and it appeared a bit liquidy. Is that how it’s supposed to be? I agree with you cream cheese has little flavour. That is why its usually smothered with some tangy berry sauce or lemon curd. If you can actually taste the soft cheese – that’s way better!

    1. Thank you, Zsuzsa! Quark (or fromage blanc) should be liquidy… It has rather a thick pastry cream consistency… If you add tangy ingredients to your cream cheese cheesecakes, you might actually love the quark-based ones…

        1. Wow!!! It’s true?? I am so happy you have made it and most of all that you like it! Thank you for letting me know!

  12. I think I have half a dozen different cheesecake recipes that I have in rotation. Some are baked, some are no bake. Some have cream cheese, others have different variations. Although I always complain about not having fresh seafood in the midwest, the one perk of being from Wisconsin is always having fresh cheese in about any form you can imagine. Lovely recipe Sissi!

    1. Thank you, Clarkie! You are so lucky! This is the food products’ magic: every country or region has different things to offer and we always crave what we cannot have…

  13. Beautiful! I must say, I’ve never had a cheesecake made from anything other than cream cheese! I guess I need to venture outside my comfort bubble 🙂 This is a very tasty sounding twist on no-bake cheesecake, and being a chocoholic, I love the grated topping!

    1. Thanks, Stefanie! I am not sure if this cheesecake is to everyone’s taste, but it certainly is different… I love adding chocolate (always dark) everywhere I can!

  14. I always used cream cheese and cottage cheese in cheesecakes I never knew there can be a substitute for it. That recipe looks so fresh, so clean and so light.

    1. Thank you, Raymund! Cottage cheese is a great idea, if it’s real cottage cheese (no cream added etc.) it tastes very similar to my cheesecake, but sadly now in most European countries cottage cheese is industrially adulterated.

  15. I have never seen a cheesecake so big and thick and the grated dark chocolate gives a nice touch.

    Unfortunately (or not), I don’t have a sweet tooth at all and my first ever experience with cheese cake was the Sara Lee ready made ones here in Australia which are half the thickness. Home bakers would snub these at all cost!

    Gradually, cafes do a pretty good job and I have grown to be able to have it because it is not the sweetest of cakes and has a slight savoury taste because of good cheese used.

    1. Thank you! Actually this is a mini-cheesecake (I have zoomed), made in an individual ramekin 😉
      When I make baked cheesecakes they are usually not as high as unbaked ones too. I don’t know why… I suppose the water the cheese contains evaporates during the cookng process.

  16. These look so light and fluffy. And I love that they’re no-bake. Baking cheesecake seems like such a waste of time since they have to chill for hours and hours before they can be served. Great picture.

Comments are closed.