Fresh Lime & Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake

It’s been a wild time in more ways than one!

Just over a week ago, Hobart suffered a once in a century storm that saw major power blackouts, even cars being washed away and widespread flood damage, including heartbreaking scenes at the University of Tasmania Law Library, a few steps from my front door. We were incredibly lucky, with minimal damage to the yard and no perceivable harm to the menagerie apart from everyone – including me – being very damp!

I was particularly worried about some of the citrus trees that are something of an experiment in southern Tasmania’s cool climate. In particular, I’ve been nurturing a Dwarf Tahitian Lime for the past two years and let it set fruit this last summer. They were just getting to a reasonable size and I was hoping to pick them later this month, before the hard frosts hit. My worst fear was the torrential rain would cause them to all drop, though they all seemed firm and the tree still healthy. But a few days later, we had our first decent frost of the year and I hadn’t thought to put a bag over the little tree to protect it from freezing. Still, all the fruit were hanging in there (literally), and this morning, I picked the two biggest limes and a couple of lemons for a weekend treat.

Despite the shorter days and the distress of storms, my elderly chickens are still laying and I had a pot of homemade yogurt cheese I made earlier this week, so I thought I’d make a baked cheesecake for dessert.

Here are the recipes:

Lime and Lemon Yogurt Cheesecake

2 limes

2 lemons

6 eggs

400g yogurt cream cheese (recipe below)

¾ to 1 cup sugar

Pastry or biscuit base

Method:

Prepare base (I used pastry but a traditional biscuit and butter base would be lovely with this too) in a spring form pan and set aside.

Grate and juice the fruit, and put it in a blender or food processor jar with the sugar, eggs and cream cheese. Pulse to blend until everything is well combined and smooth.

 

Pour carefully into the prepared base and bake at 150 C (about 300 F) for 45 minutes. After cooking, leave the cheesecake in the oven for at least an hour.

This is incredibly delicious and really very easy to make – I think the hardest part is cleaning the food processor!

Yogurt Cream Cheese

1 litre (about 2 pints) plain yogurt

2 tablespoons salt

Cheesecloth and kitchen string

I make my own yogurt but any good quality store bought yogurt should be fine for this.

Tip the yogurt into a very clean non-metallic bowl and mix in the salt, stirring thoroughly. In another clean non-metallic bowl, lay the cheesecloth so the edges are hanging over the sides. Carefully pour the yogurt and salt mixture into the second bowl, taking care not to drag the cheesecloth into the mix. Gently draw the edges of the cheesecloth together and tie with kitchen string, leaving enough tail to make a loop. Hang the yogurt with the bowl underneath to catch the whey, taking care not to squeeze it. I usually make this in the evening, hang it on my laundry tap and leave it undisturbed until morning.

The next day, carefully remove the string and turn it onto a plate, making sure to get as much as you can off the cheesecloth. It should be very similar to cream cheese but with a beautiful sharp yogurt tang. Keep it in a closed container in the refrigerator. I use this in many dishes, from dips and desserts to ravioli fillings – anywhere you need cream cheese.

I’m seriously thrilled to be growing Tahitian Limes in cool temperate Hobart – it’s something of a gardening coup this far south! So my next question is, what’s your favourite recipe where limes shine? Let me know in the comments.

Take care 🙂

Baked Cheesecake – Day 3 NaBloPoMo 2015

Henrietta, Queen of the Chicken Coop

Henrietta, Queen of the Chicken Coop

My six gorgeous girls are working overtime at the moment and I’ve got a glut of eggs. I give them away to family but even so, they keep on laying. It probably has something to do with all the weeds I’ve been pulling out of the garden these past few weeks, which are full of delicious insects and worms!

So, even though I should be studying, with so many eggs on hand I thought I’d make a cheesecake with a twist.

Cardamon seeds, ready to grind - and six of the best from my chickens

Cardamon seeds, ready to grind – and six of the best from my chickens

I love the aroma and taste of cardamon in both savoury and sweet dishes, and it works superbly with citrus. Not having any oranges in the house, I got creative and put four tablespoons of lemon juice and about a quarter of a teaspoon of Orange Blossom Water, a delicious by product of orange oil distillation. It’s a powerful aroma and a common ingredient in desserts from North Africa and the Middle East to Malta, France and Spain. Like Rose Water, use it sparingly!

Cheesecake ready for baking

Cheesecake ready for baking

Orange Blossom & Cardamon Cheesecake (8-10 generous serves)

Ingredients:

1 prepared biscuit base (for a 28-30cm spring form pan)

6 large eggs                       3/4 cup of sugar                        500g cream cheese (at room temperature)

1 tab crushed cardamon seeds     1/4 teaspoon Orange Blossom Water (or more to taste)      4 tabs lemon juice

Method:

Break the 6 eggs carefully into a blender jar, add the sugar and cover. Pulse until the eggs are frothy and the sugar is combined. Spoon the softened cream cheese in, cover and blend until smooth. Add the crushed cardamon seeds (I do mine by hand, shelling seed from whole pods and grinding in a mortar and pestle – the flavour is much better!), the Orange Blossom Water and lemon juice. Blend this on a low setting until combined.

Pour this luscious mix into the base and bake at 150 C for approximately 45 minutes. I usually leave my cheesecakes to cool in the oven before refrigerating them. You could put sliced fresh strawberries or apricot on top – they go very well with Orange Blossom Water – or leave it perfectly plain. Either way, this is a delicious twist on an old favourite and I hope you enjoy it as much as my family and I did 🙂

The finished cheesecake, with tiny flecks of ground cardamon visible

The finished cheesecake, with tiny flecks of ground cardamon visible

What are your tips for using excess eggs? Please leave a comment below!