I recently had an interesting discussion about how many types of cheesecake there are. My friend seemed to feel that there were an almost uncountable number of cheesecake flavors – cookie dough, mocha, raspberry, marble, etc. – that all these were types of cheesecake. I disagreed. While there are lots of different cheesecake recipes, a basic cheesecake with different types of add-ins does not make it a new type of cheesecake. Changing the base ingredients, like the cheese cheese, sour cream, milk and other primary elements, does. For me, different types of cheesecakes give you different textures and consistencies, not just different flavors.
This cheesecake, for instance, is a yogurt cheesecake. It uses some cream cheese, quite a bit of thick, Greek-style yogurt, and uses eggs to bind everything together (making it gluten free). Unlike some cheesecakes that use two or three times as much cream cheese, this one has a slightly lighter texture and tastes a bit less rich, although it is still creamy and delivers a wonderfully familiar cheesecake flavor. It’s definitely less filling than some of its counterparts, and I appreciate the fact that I can eat more than tiny slice in one sitting. You can use low fat or full fat greek yogurt. I’m not sure how nonfat will be, but it might be worth experimenting with!
It’s pretty important to have all your ingredients at room temperature when you’re going to make a cheesecake because cream cheese likes to firm up fast when it gets cold. Keeping everything at room temperature will help to ensure that you have a very smooth finished product. A lump or two won’t effect the flavor, but ideally you’d like the cake to be as smooth as possible. I’d definitely recommend making the cheesecake mixture in a food processor, although an electric mixer is the next best thing.
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
16-oz Greek-style yogurt, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
Prebake a graham cracker base into a 9-inch springform pan (see recipe below); a 9-inch graham cracker pie crust should work fairly well, too. This cheesecake can also be baked without a crust.
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a food processor, blend cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and salt until mixture is very, very smooth.
Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, until the cake is set and jiggles only slightly when gently tapped.
Cool to room temperature before refrigerating.
Springform Graham Cracker Base
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and stir until well combined. Press into a 9-inch springform pan, pressing the crust slightly up the sides if you don’t wish to have a thick crust on the bottom.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, until set. Cool completely before filling.