Total Greek yoghurt and thinking how it was so lusciously thick and creamy that it was almost the texture of cream cheese. I then began to wonder whether it could be used in a recipe in place of cream cheese and naturally my first through for a cream cheese rich recipe was cheesecake.
I decided that if I was going to experiment with a cheeseless cheesecake then I didn’t want it to be your run of the mill cheesecake. I had three ripe bananas sitting on the side so decided to incorporate them into the cheesecake along with some dulce de leche caramel to make a sort of banoffee style dessert. I spread the caramel on top of the biscuit base, topped this off with slices of banana and then poured over the yoghurty topping which I’d flavoured with lots of mashed banana and a little cinnamon and finally a few more blobs of caramel.
The Greek yoghurt behaved well in the mixing of the dessert and I put it into the oven with hopes that it would bake and set, although I admit I was a little doubtful it wouldn’t collapse and try and seep out the tin or just remain liquid. However, I needn’t have worried as it baked perfectly. I took it out when it was lightly golden and puffy around the edges and still retained a gentle wobble in the centre. It levelled off into a perfectly smooth surface as it cooled. I loved how the extra little blobs of caramel were peeping out here and there, I could hardly wait for its overnight chill in the fridge before tasting it.
I can safely say the taste was worth the wait. It cut into perfect creamy slices and had a wonderful texture, creamy and thick as with all cheesecakes, but someone lighter. The biscuit base had remained firm and crunchy thanks to its covering of caramel and the slices of banana added a nice texture contrast to the mashed banana in the filling and the crisp base. There was a slight hint of cinnamon which complemented the other flavours wonderfully without being obviously cinnamony. Delicious.
I hadn’t told my family what I was doing and after serving them all slices and watching them gobble it up they couldn’t believe it when I told them there was no cream cheese involved. Its taste is so indulgent and satisfying that you would never guess it was made with Greek yoghurt. Even using the full fat Greek yoghurt there is only 130kcal and 10g fat per 100g compared to the cream cheese which has 240kcal and 23g fat per 100g – that’s nearly double the calories and nearly 2.5 times more fat compared to the yoghurt!! So next time you fancy a rich and creamy indulgent cheesecake why not try reaching for the Greek yoghurt instead of the cream cheese? I know I’ve been converted!
Banana & Caramel Cheeseless Yoghurt Cheesecake
(An Apple & Spice recipe creation)
190g digestive biscuits
500g full fat Greek yoghurt (I used Total)
50g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
50ml double cream
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tin (180g) dulce de leche caramel
Preheat the oven to 180C. Have a 7inch/18cm deep springform tin to hand.
Crush the digestive biscuits until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Melt the butter and stir in the crushed biscuits and mix until they are well coated. Press the mixture into the base of the tin and place in the fridge to chill for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut two of the bananas into 5mm thick slices and warm the dulce de leche slightly in the microwave to make it more spreadable – it does not need to be hot or runny.
Remove the base from the fridge and spread over the dulce de leche. Cover with a layer of sliced bananas and return to the fridge while you prepare the topping.
Mix the sugar and cornflour together and place into a large bowl. Add the yoghurt and cream and beat until combined.
Mash the remaining banana and any leftover banana slices until very mushy. Add to the yoghurt mix along with the cinnamon and eggs. Beat well until everything is well combined – it won’t go completely smooth because of the banana.
Pour the yoghurt banana mixture over the top of the chilled base. Blob a few spoonfuls of the dulce de leche on top and swirl into the mix.
Place the tin on a baking tray and bake for 50-55 minutes. The cheesecake will have puffed up and turned lightly golden around the edges. It should still have a little wobbly in the centre when gently shaken, but not actually be liquid.
Allow to cool completely in the tin before refrigerating for at least 4 hours or preferably overnight before serving.
To serve, run a sharp knife around the edge of the tin and release from the ring.