Saturday, August 2, 2008

Cheesecake with Fresh Blueberries and Clementine Syrup


Two words to describe the perfect slice of cheesecake: pure decadence. I'm talking about the type from your neighborhood bakery or your favorite restaurant. Made with rich, creamy, delicious cream cheese. I do allow myself that indulgence once in a while but I have created the perfect recipe for when these cravings happen at home. Actually, I had not initially set out to create a healthy cheesecake recipe; I was looking for a way to incorporate tofu in dessert. Tofu is so versatile but up until recently, I shamefully had only ventured to use it savory dishes. All that has changed.

I can imagine some people will gag at the thought of a tofu cheesecake and I want you to know I understand these reservations. At first, some things seem not to go too well together. For example, chocolate and chili, basil and ice cream, honey and mustard, Minnesota and summer (just kidding!) However, the result of these odd couples are very distinct and pleasing taste sensations.

Once you have tasted this cheesecake, you will notice two things: (1) it doesn't taste as though it contains tofu, and (2) the texture is both light and creamy. Besides being a great dessert, this recipe is a good way to get more protein in your diet. Protein from dessert? Who would've thought?


Ingredients

Crust:
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 cup crumbled graham crackers
1 egg white ( save yolk for filling)
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp orange extract (optional)

Filling:
8 oz fat free cream cheese (or low fat if you prefer)
12 oz silken tofu
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs plus 1 egg yolk (saved from crust)
2 tsp corn starch
1 tsp orange extract

Topping:
1 1/2 cups blueberries
juice of four clementines (or oranges)
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp honey
1/2 tsp corn starch
1/2 tsp orange extract

To prepare crust:
In a food processor, grind pecans and graham crackers. Empty into a mixing bowl and add vegetable oil, egg white and orange extract. Mix well. Press unto the base of a well greased 8" spring form pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes. Remove pan from oven and set aside. Reduce oven to 325 degrees F.

To prepare filling:
Using a blender (see note below), blend together all of the filling ingredients until a smooth, silky consistency takes shape. Pour onto crust in spring form pan, and bake at 325 degrees F for one hour.
Remove from oven and immediately pass a knife along around the sides. Place cake in pan on a wire rack and cool for 30 minutes. Chill overnight in refrigerator. Remove sides of pan.

To prepare the topping:
In a heavy saucepan, heat clementine juice, water, honey, corn starch, and orange extract. Whisk rigorously and cook for 10 to 15 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly. Once syrup has cooled, evenly spread two tablespoons onto top of chilled cheesecake. Toss the blueberries in the remaining syrup and arrange them in a decorative pattern on top of cake. Any remaining syrup should be drizzled over finished product.


Note: I strongly recommend using a blender to make the filling as opposed to using an electric hand or stand up mixer. The mixers do not produce the smooth, silky quality necessary for the filling. What they do produce, however, is a filling with a lumpy, unattractive texture. I hope this serves to deter you from using your handy dandy mixer, just this once.

8 comments:

Reeni said...

It looks beautiful and delicious! I love blueberries especially in desserts!

Usha said...

Looks awesome,I tried using silken tofu in brownies just the last week and I loved the way it turned out,so this is another thing for me to try in the future :)

Anonymous said...

i would never think about using tofu in desserts, now you have me captivated. I really like the idea of getting my protein quota by having a few slices of cheesecake. Keep surprising us:D

karuna said...

thanks for visitng my blog, natasha. ya i knw, there is nothing like warm bread right out of the oven.

Tom Aarons said...

This looks great. I really envy you your summer blueberries!

Jessie said...

I am huge cheesecake fan and I also happen to love blueberries as well! I definitely want to try making this sometime :)

Luiz Claudio said...

Woooooow! Nice dish and nice blog dear! So, I'm a new follower. Please, visit my blog too and come on to know a little bit of the brazilian cook.

http://kibe-cozinhandocomamigos.blogspot.com/

Kisses from Brazil!

Luiz

Natasha said...

Thanks Luiz! Consider it done!