November 6, 2012 (Bu yazıyı Türkçe okuyun)
Long before this American invention made it into each cake shop around the country, a little cafe in the town where I was brought up made blooming sour cherry cheesecakes. It was quiet different from the American kind I was yet to taste years later (and get disappointed) in terms of shape - it was half as thick and served in square slices- and taste. Perhaps because they were topped with my most favourite fruit or it was the first cheesecake I had ever had, the nostalgia of its taste never left me.
During summer, looking at bags of sour cherries mom kept bringing home from each of her visits to the market, the idea to reconstruct that cheesecake struck me. I made an effort to remember what was so distinctive about it. There had to be a different ingredient that played down the creamcheese flavour and made the filling denser yet lighter. I resorted to some cheesecake recipes on Turkish sites and saw that some of them contained an unusual ingredient: strained yogurt. It made sense since texture and flavourwise strained yogurt is similar to creamcheese yet it contains less fat making it a healthier complement. I decided to give it a shot by using it in my first attempt and crossed my fingers.
With a calculator in one hand (becauseI learned the hard way that 'baking is a science' indeed), Chestnut Coffee Cheesecake and Austrian Curd Pie recipes and a basic cheesecake recipe from Simply Recipes on the other, I started constructing my long-desired nostalgic cheesecake. I reduced the amount of cheese by half to incorporate yogurt and some cream, substituted flour with starch. The filling looked too runny in the beginning but came out just perfect out of the oven. I poured the topping, place it in the fridge and was too restless to wait for it to set properly. The jelly was still a little runny when I removed the cake to have my first bite.
Miraculously, for the first time in my life, a first attempt, blind and a little slipshod, had yielded a flawless product. The cake I thought was lost in the days of my past was right in front of me. I was so thrilled and proud that, after devouring two slices in happy tears, I ran to my computer and wrote this post.
Sour Cherry Yogurt Cheesecake
- 26 cm/10 inch springform cake tin
For the crust:
- 200 gr digestive biscuits, crushed
- 4 tablespoons (60 gr) butter, softened at room temperature
- pinch of salt
For the filling:
- 300 gr creamcheese
- 200 gr strained yogurt (if you can't buy strained yogurt readily, you can make it on your own. Drain 400 gr full-fat, unflavored yogurt in a cheese cloth for couple of hours. Then place it on a strainer and the strainer in a deep bowl. Place it in the fridge for 2-3 hours. This will yield you a thickened yogurt.)
- 100 ml single cream
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
For the topping:
- 2 cups sour cherries, washed and pitted
- 1 cup sour cherry juice or plain water
- 1 tablespoon caster sugar
- 2 tablespoons wheat starch
1) Preheat your oven to 190C/ 370F. Butter and flour the springform.
2) Mix butter with biscuit crumbs and press them evenly into the base of the cake tin. Cook in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool. Reduce the heat to 170C/340F and start preparing the filling.
3) Beat creamcheese, strained yogurt and cream with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sugar and eggs one by one, beat, then add vanilla extract and corn starch and beat again. Pour the cream filling onto the cooled base and bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until slightly golden on the edges. Let it cool at room temperature while you prepare the topping.
4) In a sauce pan whisk together sour cherry juice with sugar and wheat starch and cook over low-medium heat. When it starts thickening add pitted cherries. Leave a minute before removing the pan from heat. Cool at room temperature. Pour on the cooled filling and place in the refrigerator to set for at least 4 hours or for best result, overnight. Enjoy.