Baked cheesecakes are not usually my thing. Most of the time I find them heavy and cloying.
I prefer the lighter no-bake varieties, such as mum’s mon-chou tart topped with tinned cherries thickened with gelatine. Yeah, I know. That was the 70s and that’s probably considered very dated by now. But guess what: I’ll still post her recipe one day regardless, as it’s simply delicious. Her quark torte with strawberries comes a close second.
This baked cheesecake is unusually light though. It uses mascarpone lightened with yoghurt. It is sweetened with honey and (optionally) flavoured with rum-soaked raisins and orange zest. It’s lovely with some blueberries or raspberries bursting inside as well.
The crust is very simple: crush any biscuit you like and stir through some melted butter. I like chocolate chip oaty hobnobs, but you can use oreos, ginger nuts, Amaretti or a plain digestive. I’m personally not overly enamoured with a graham cracker crust, but hey, go for it if that’s your thing.
This light cheesecake is easy to make in advance, as it keeps at least a day or 2 in the fridge.
Serve plain, with summer fruits or caramelized oranges as I did this time. Caramelized oranges work particularly well if you use a choc-chip biscuit base. I’ve used the strained rum from the raisins in the caramel for the oranges. Yum.
Baked Honey Yoghurt Cheesecake with Rum Raisins (serves 5-6 V)
250 gr biscuits, crushed (I put mine in a large ziplock bag and bash them to death with a rolling pin)
75 gr butter, melted
500 gr mascarpone or 250 ml mascarpone and 250 gr ricotta
250 ml Greek yoghurt (the full fat variety, not that low-fat Greek-style stuff)
140 ml quality runny honey
3-4 tbsp raisins or sultanas (optional)
3-4 tbsp good dark rum (optional)
1/4 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
a dash of orange extract or orange flower water (optional)
the grated zest of an orange
2-3 tbsp flaked almonds, toasted
Optional for garnish: icing sugar or similar sugar free alternative (Natvia) and fresh mint
Soak the raisins in the rum and set aside for as long as you’re got.
Preheat the oven to 160 C.
Mix the crushed biscuits with the butter. Line an oven dish or springform with the buttery biscuits.
Beat together the yoghurt, mascapone, eggs and honey in a large bowl Strain the rum from the raisins, reserving the rum. Add the raisins to the cheesecake mix, together with the orange zest and extracts (if using).
Pour over the biscuit base and shake the dish a little to flatten the mixture out. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for 1-1 1/4 hr.
Uncover, scatter over the almonds and bake uncovered for another 20 mins or so, until the sides are starting to come away from the dish and the cheesecake is just set, but still with the slightest wobble in the middle. It will continue to cook as it cools. Allow to cool and chill in the fridge until needed.
Serve dusted with icing sugar, aside caramelized oranges and a sprig of mint.
Classic Caramelized Oranges (serves 5-6 GF V Vg LC DF RSF)
This is great on its own with a dollop of creme fraiche, fromage frais or thick cream. Perfect for picnics or slightly warmed over vanilla ice cream.
I won’t pretend I’ve invented this: it’s based on a recipe from Nigel Slater, who in turn borrowed it from the 70s.
4-6 oranges depending on size
170 gr unrefined caster sugar
125 ml water or the rum from the soaked raisins topped up to 125 ml with water
125 ml freshly boiled water
Pare the zest off 2-3 of the oranges.
Add the cold rum/water into a small saucepan together with the sugar. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the sugar to melt and caramelize.. Remove from the heat and stir through the hot water.
Add the orange zest and set aside to cool
Cut the top and bottom from each orange, stand them on a board and cut away the peel and white pith by following the orange around to the bottom bit by bit with a sharp knife (video). Then either cut the segments from between the membranes, or simply cut each orange into thin slices.
Add the oranges and their juices to the zest and caramel. Chill until needed. Serve as a side to desserts, with ice cream, or on its own with creme fraiche or thick cream.