I am running a seven-day diet challenge for myself. It’s not that much of a challenge, to be honest, but the idea is to set me up so I can enjoy Christmas Day with the family and indulge in a bit of what is really not good for me, without fearing spending Boxing Day feeling below par.
So I’m kind of eating clean, whatever that means
Well, in practice, all that means for me is that I stick to my low fructose and fructan diet 100%, without any random challenges. I usually run random challenges where I introduce food that I know causes me GI distress, just to see if my situation has improved. It has, by the way, so I’m happily and, so far, successfully doing science on myself to beat that sucker
But, for at least a week (or until Christmas Day) I want to be 100% on the straight and narrow and along with that, I’m pretty much avoiding even an infrequent treat. Wait on, that depends on what you consider to be a treat …
I’m still having dessert, people. I’m even having cheesecake for pity’s sake …
I’m just having healthy desserts and that means another protein cheesecake. Dare I say, the BEST protein cheesecake ever. Why? Let me count the ways … in a truly non-exhaustive list …
- It is light and creamy and sweet but has a beautiful tang from the citrus.
- It has a wonderful and unusual flavour combination that I’m sure you have not seen in a protein cheesecake before.
- The macros for this cheesecake are so freaking fantabulous, I had to quadruple check them this time because I found it so hard to believe. Looking at the macros, you’d think it should be just rubbish. It is the opposite of rubbish. Manna from heaven, that’s what it is
- My mother hates cheesecake. Perfect test subject. Loves it. This cheesecake can win over the cheesecake haters. Trust me.
- Yuzu and wattle seeds are AMAZING. Alone. Together. Yep. Totally.
I’ll leave it there, shall I?
Some of you would be wondering what the hell is yuzu?
Or you might be thinking I hate yuzu / I can’t buy yuzu juice anywhere / I’m totally indifferent to yuzu and just don’t care.
Yuzu is a wonderful citrus fruit that has a lovely flavour reminiscent of lemons, mandarin and orange, possibly a tang of grapefruit. It is sweeter than a lemon but still has a lovely astringent finish. It originated in China but is widely used across Asia, especially in Korea and Japan. I have not been able to source fresh yuzu fruit so I usually buy imported 100% yuzu juice, made from fresh fruit (not concentrate). I highly recommend it. In fact, I’ve used it in several recipes on this blog and many many more. I love yuzu. If you cannot find it, simply substitute fresh lemon juice or a combination of lemon and orange or mandarin juice in about a 3:1 ratio. If you don’t like it, does this mean we cannot be friends anymore?
The other ingredient is another I have used a few times here and many more times besides. Beside my large stash of cinnamon that I barrel through at a rate of knots, is my trusty jar of ground wattle seeds, an Australian native seed. Lightly roasted and ground, it has a wonderful aroma and flavour that has hints of hazelnut, coffee and chocolate. It has to be a pretty perfect food because it’s also packed with nutrients and fibre. You can buy wattle seed in specialty food shops and some supermarkets in Australia and online, if elsewhere.
Yuzu and wattleseed are a lovely flavour pairing. Yuzu has a natural affinity for hazelnuts and dark chocolate … come to think of it, those three together are a particular favourite of mine. It also goes really well with berries and summer stone fruit. Don’t worry if you substitute lemon … the result will still be amazing. It also goes rather well in this combination.
If you don’t have any wattle seeds handy and want to make this cheesecake now (of course you do!), it will also be fantastic with poppy seeds.
This is another dessert that you don’t have to make on the side because I can’t have the normal dessert everyone else is having. When I make this cheesecake, everyone eats it because it’s just as good, if not better. If you don’t care about making it healthy, feel free to use sugar in place of the stevia sweetener and a full-fat cottage or ricotta cheese along with a full-fat yoghurt or crème fraîche. You will have yourself an amazing rich and luscious cheesecake.
Serve it with fresh berries, raspberries in particular, or stone fruit, mango, whatever. Turn that fruit in to a fruit coulis and pour over the top. Drizzle a little dark chocolate on top, if you like or some crushed roasted hazelnuts, or both. It makes a great healthy dinner party dessert.
Never ever make do when it comes to dessert.
On that note, let’s get to that cheesecake.
Check out the macros. Yes, they are indeed beyond awesome. Total fluke, to be honest, but who’s complaining?
Makes 1 x 20cm cheesecake (serves 8)
- 500 grams low-fat cottage cheese
- 250 grams thick non-fat Greek yoghurt (I used Chobani 0%)
- 156 grams eggs (shelled weight, about 3 large)
- 120 grams stevia blend sweetener (I used Natvia, or substitute your preferred sweetener)
- 60 grams unflavoured micellar casein (I used Professional Whey)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest, finely zested
- 80 millilitres 100% yuzu juice OR fresh lemon juice
- 8 grams (2 teaspoons) ground wattle seeds
- You can substitute ricotta, quark, or cream cheese for the cottage cheese. I prefer the cottage cheese as it gives a lovely light, creamy texture. I think ricotta makes the best substitution, if you feel you must.
- If you wish to use poppy seeds, substitute 10 grams of poppy seeds and omit the wattle seeds.
- To substitute for the yuzu juice, use all lemon juice or a mix of 60mls lemon juice and 20mls orange or mandarin juice.
- I used Chobani Greek yoghurt, which is especially high in protein and very thick. If using a different Greek yoghurt, make sure it is thick or strain the yoghurt before using. You will need about 375 grams of yoghurt to get about 250 grams of yoghurt after straining the liquid.
- For a rich, indulgent cheesecake, substitute 125 grams sugar for the Natvia, and substitute equivalent quantities of full-fat ricotta or cream cheese for the cottage cheese and full-fat yoghurt or crème fraîche for the non-fat yoghurt. The rest of the recipe remains the same.
Preheat the oven to 150℃.
Line a 20 centimetre springform tin with non-stick silicone paper or grease and dust with a little flour (wheat, oat, corn, as desired). I prefer to line the tin with non-stick paper. Set aside.
Place the cottage cheese in to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients, except the wattle seeds, and process until smooth. Add the wattle seeds (or poppy seeds) and pulse for a few seconds only to distribute.
Alternatively, blend the cottage cheese until smooth and transfer to the large bowl of a mixer. Add the remaining ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment until the batter is smooth.
Transfer the cheesecake batter to the prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until set and starting to colour around the edges. Switch off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door slightly ajar, for a further 20 to 30 minutes, to allow the cheesecake to settle.
A lot of people get worked up about a slight crack on the surface of the cheesecake. Seriously, I do not. I’d probably get cranky if it domed or worse, fell, in the centre and cracked in a bid to erupt its contents as it baked. But a small crack on a level smooth top? I’m not that fussed. I think it adds character.
Remove and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for several hours, covered, before removing from the tin and serving. It is best served chilled. Serve with fresh berries or a berry coulis. Raspberries are particularly lovely with this cheesecake as they match lemon, yuzu, and the wattleseed so well. Mango would also be lovely and it goes without saying that a little dark chocolate grated on top or in a light chocolate sauce would be awesome.
Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to two to three days.
The macros provided here relate to the recipe as stated above, for both the yuzu and lemon versions. Substitutions of other ingredients will change the macros, ranging from a negligible amount (e.g. lemon juice instead of yuzu juice) or dramatically (e.g. using full-fat cream cheese instead of cottage cheese).