Sunday, 19 February 2012

L is for... low fat slimmers' lemon cheesecake

L is for.... low fat slimmers' lemon cheesecake!
I initially decided to make something else for my Alphabakes entry, and I still might - providing I have time and that my annoyingly intermittent internet connection holds up! But on the spur of the moment I decided to make this cheesecake as well.

I've recently joined Slimming World - quite possibly as a direct result of all the baking that I do! Which would explain why I don't make so many cakes any more.... sigh. Anyway, this Saturday we were told there would be a tasting session, where members were invited to bring anything they had made from a Slimming World or low fat recipe for other people to try. A lot of people made savoury dishes, but I couldn't turn down the chance to make a dessert! I also thought that it would be easy for everyone to have a little taste.

I found a recipe for lemon cheesecake on the Slimming World website, but I couldn't find one ingredient - fat-free fromage frais - in my local supermarket (it's a small shop). So instead I decided to use equal quantities of fat free Greek style yogurt, and Quark. Quark isn't an especially common ingredient in this country (though most big supermarkets do stock it) - but I used to live in Germany where it is eaten all the time, as everything from an ingredient in savoury dishes to a dessert in itself. It's technically a curd cheese but tastes more like fromage frais, and can be sweetened, or mixed with all sorts of other things.

I had to adapt the recipe even further than I had anticipated however - when I was half way through cooking, I looked in my cupboards for some powdered gelatine... and looked.... and looked.... oops! I did have a sachet of lemon and lime jelly crystals so hoped that would do instead!

So I give here my recipe, adapted from the Slimming World one!

284 ml (half a pint) of skimmed milk
8 tbsp Splenda or other artificial sweetener
2 eggs, separated
1 sachet lemon and lime jelly
1 tbsp vanilla flavouring (use less if you are using vanilla essence)
200g tub Quark
250g fat free Greek style yogurt
142ml Elmlea Light double cream
8 ginger nut biscuits (you could also use digestives)

Put the milk and sweetener in a saucepan and heat gently until the sweetener has dissolved. Don't let the mixture boil.

 Separate the eggs. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl and add to the pan.
Stir until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon. Again don't let it come to the boil. Take off the heat and allow to cool slightly.
Empty the jelly sachet into a bowl or jug. Boil the kettle and add a splash of boiling water to the jelly powder. You are not trying to make up the jelly, just melt the crystals. Stir until dissolved and stir into the pan.
Add the zest and juice of the lemon to the pan. Leave to cool.

In another bowl, mix the quark and the Greek yogurt (you could also use fat free fromage frais). Stir in the vanillla, then pour the contents of the pan into the bowl.
Refridgerate for 30 minutes until it begins to set.
Whip the cream and fold into the fromage frais mixture. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and gently fold into the fromage frais mixture.

 Crush 8 gingernut biscuits - you could also use digestive. I did this in my food mixture as it turns them into fine crumbs, but you could also crumble them by hand or do the old plastic bag and rolling pin method. Press into the bottom of a loose-bottomed cake tin.
I would say here that when I have made cheesecake before, I normally melt butter and mix it with the biscuit crumbs. As this is a low fat recipe you leave the butter out. I was a bit concerned that the base wouldn't hold together but as long as you press it down well, it should be OK once the cheesecake sets on top. If you're not aiming for a low fat recipe though you could add some melted butter to the biscuits at this stage.
Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin and leave in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set - I left mine overnight. I added a few lemon slices (from a tub of cake decorating orange and lemon slices, you know the ones I mean). In retrospect I shouldn't have done this until the next day, as the colour bled slightly, but it wasn't too bad.
 As you can see, the yellow bled slightly. I also sprinkled edible yellow glitter over the top, and the next morning carefully removed the cheesecake from the tin. I was really pleased with it, and it went down well at Slimming World!
If you are following Slimming World, this has 5.5 syns per slice (serves 8) on Extra Easy. I think my adaptations make it come out at the same syn value, but of course at Slimming World everyone only had a little taste.
I think this would be a good dessert to make if you are on a diet but having people over and want to make something that looks indulgent, but that is actually low fat. Nobody would know this was a slimmers' recipe!

I have another confession to make- as well as not being able to get hold of fromage frais, and using jelly as I didn't realise I'd run out of gelatine, I also missed out one stage of the process! That's what happens when you're under the weather with a bad cold, rushing from the recipe on your laptop into the kitchen while trying not to miss the start of your favourite TV programme! Yes folks, I forgot to add the egg whites! In fact it was only while typing this recipe just now that I even noticed I was supposed to whip the egg whites and add them to the mixture. I did think the cheesecake was a little soft but as you can see from the final picture, it actually set and held its shape really well, and tasted lovely! But I will try to pay more attention to the recipe next time :-)

I have also decided to add this to Simple and in Season on Fabulicious Food, as lemons are in season at the moment.


  1. I love quark! They always have quark & plum pastries at the Luneberger bakery downtown. Of course, I had to ask my German wife what it was.

  2. Indulgent but not too naughty - that sounds good to me. This looks lovely. I use quark quite often since I came across it many years ago when trying to lose weight - I don't know why it's not used more often.

  3. I miss quark. I spent a year in Germany about 15 years ago and used to love it with yohurt and fruit for breakfast.

    1. I spent a year in Germany as an au pair 14 years ago - small world! I loved quark just as a simple dessert with sugar mixed in. So glad to find supermarkets here stock it!

  4. Just what I am looking for a little treat over the weekend without ruining the diet. My husbands Grandparents were German so he spent alot of time there growing up - I am sure he will love this.


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