Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Vanilla Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

This is the FPF recipe for LAST week...obviously I was time challenged yet again. Actually, it's a bit more complicated than just simple procrastination. This week's recipe required "yogurt cheese" to be made before you actually started on the cheesecake. Well that was a totally foreign thing for me and I started it on Thursday just like the recipe said. I bought the exact yogurt that the recipe called for and waited with baited breath for 18 hours. Nothing happened...no draining of whey, no cheese, just yogurt in a dishtowel over a strainer exactly like it was the day before. I went back to the grocery store and was unable to find a substitute yogurt without any gelatin type additives so I had to improvise. I ended up getting Greek yogurt (plain) and some Haagen Dazs French Vanilla ice cream, melted the ice cream and mixed it together and then started over and crossed my fingers. It worked! It was actually kind of a fun little science project to watch the whey drain away and see a soft cheese form. You can use this cheese as a substitute for cream cheese in a lot of recipes and it might be a fun thing to do with your kids. Mine were unimpressed but they probably would have liked it before they became all mature and cool and stuff.

Anyway, the cheesecake finally got put together and although I think that the original recipe was intended to be sweeter and more vanilla-y this was a pretty good improv in my opinion. I used Biscoff biscuits for the crust because I couldn't find chocolate wafers and they were yummy, I may forgo graham crackers in the future completely as they were so tasty. The cheesecake itself had a light lemon flavor and was more dense than I expected, really very good all in all. I couldn't find raspberries in syrup and was too lazy to make raspberry sauce (obviously) but as I was eating it I was thinking that it would be super yum with an assortment of fresh fruit topping. Next time...

Here's the recipe. Plan ahead as you realistically won't eat this for 48 hours after you start the cheese process.

Vanilla Lemon Cheesecake with Raspberry Topping

Baking in America-Greg Patent

1 2 lb container low fat vanilla yogurt (I used 32 oz plain Greek yogurt and 2/3 c. melted French Vanilla ice cream

15 chocolate wafer cookies (I used 17 Bischoff biscuits)
2 T dry bread crumbs
1 large egg white

1 8 oz Neufchatel cheese, at room temp
1 c. light sour cream
1/2 c. sugar
3 T. cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
finely grated zest of one lemon
2 T fresh lemon juice

1 c. light sour cream
1 T sugar
1 large egg white
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 10 oz pkg frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed

1. Rinse a large square of cheesecloth, squeeze out the excess moisture, and line a strainer with it. Set the strainer over a deep bowl, place the yogurt in the strainer, and refrigerate for 12-24 hours, covered loosely with plastic wrap to drain thoroughly. Discard the liquid, transfer the yogurt cheese to a covered container, and refrigerate until needed. (I used a flour sack dishtowel and twisted the top rather than using plastic wrap. I also periodically gave the dishtowel a gentle squeeze to help drain away the whey)

2. For the crust, adjust an oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Butter a 9 in springform pan; detach the sides and set aside.

3. Put the cookies in a zip lock bag and crush into fine crumbs with a rolling in. Add the bread crumbs and shake to combine well. In a small bowl beat the egg white with a fork to break it up. Add the crumbs and mix with the fork until thoroughly moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.

4. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add the yogurt cheese and beat for 1 minute. Add the sour cream, sugar, cornstarch, and salt and beat until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating only until thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the lemon zest and juice.

5. Reassemble the springform pan, turn the filling into the pan and spread it level. Bake for 45 minutes; the filling will be very soft and wobbly.

6. Meanwhile, for the topping, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, egg white and vanilla in a small bowl.

7. Gently spoon and spread the topping evenly over the cheesecake. Bake for another 15 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in for 1 hour more with door closed. Cool the cheesecake to room temp on a wire rack, then refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 8 hours or overnight before serving.

8. To serve, run a small sharp knife around the edges of the cake and carefully remove the pan sides. Rinse a knife in hot water and shake off the excess water before making each cut. Spoon some raspberries and syrup over each portion.

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