Hey guys! Sorry it’s been quite a while since my last post. Summer’s been flying by so quickly I can’t seem to catch it. With the blink of an eye, school is just over 3 weeks away now…
On a side note, I’ve just finished my internship at a sensory science research center in Singapore called MMR. It’s been really eye-opening, especially about opening my eyes to the realities of working… let me just say it’s not as cool as it seems. But I’ll save that for another post!
Thankfully, summer has also given me time to try out many new recipes of my own and also experiment in the kitchen. And with the immense sweet tooth that I have, it’s not a surprise that I’ve been trying to find ways to put just a slightly healthier spin on the delectable, indulgent, and almost sinful desserts.
One of my all time favorite desserts of all-time is a classic cheesecake. Creamy, cheesy, smooth, with an equally delicious and crunchy base makes for the best experience. Ughhhh, thinking about this right now is making me drool.
The one downside is, though, that cheesecake is possibly on the other side of the spectrum in terms of how good it is for you. Loads of sugar, cheese, milk, butter, cream — yeah, let’s just say too much of it is not that good for you. That’s why I wanted to try my hand at putting a healthier spin on it (and also easier to make!)
For the base, I knew I needed something that was both crumbly and crunchy but also tasty and also slightly buttery. That’s why I decided to use granola and crush it up to get that cookie like consistency, and adding some melted coconut oil helped it stay moist and delicious.
Next, came the hardest part, the filling. How are you supposed to maintain the creamy and smooth texture, cheesy yet sweet flavor, without all the loaded fats? Tofu came to mind. Tofu is basically a soybean-based thing that comes in different textures. Silken tofu, which is normally used in soups, is very creamy and delicious (in my opinion). The texture is also quite similar to that of a very delicate cheesecake. Though the tofu taste is not that strong, I had to use something to mask the soybean taste. I knew that greek yoghurt and instant vanilla pudding mix tastes really close to cheesecake. Paired together, this filling results in a light, fluffy, “cheesecake” mixture.
To add a touch of color and flavor (and to keep this classic!), I made a strawberry jam-like topping. It’s really simple (I literally threw a few frozen strawberries in a pan and reduced it with some cornstarch and natural sweetener) it really adds to the flavor and makes the dessert come full circle.
I’ll admit that this is not exactly like cheesecake (nothing beats the real thing), but it is a great alternative when you are craving something sweet. It also makes for really cute and easy desserts for bringing to dinner/lunch parties or gatherings!
Layered 'Cheesecake' Parfait
- 100g silken tofu
- ¾ cup Greek yoghurt
- 2 heaped teaspoon instant cheesecake pudding mix
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- ¾ cup rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Dash of cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 cup frozen strawberries
- 1-2 tablespoons maple/agave syrup
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 165 degrees Celcius (375 degrees Fahrenheit)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the tofu, Greek yoghurt, instant pudding mix, and vanilla extract. Cover with cling wrap and set aside in fridge to chill.
- Next, combine the ¾ cup rolled oats, 2 tablespoons honey, and dash of cinnamon in a bowl. Mix it so that the honey in equally distributed around the rolled oats. Bake in the oven for around 15 minutes, or until oats are toasted.
- Meanwhile, place 1 cup frozen strawberries in a pan over medium heat, and use spatula to break it up (until it is a bit jam like). Stir in the maple/agave syrup, 1 to 2 tablespoons depending on how sweet you like it to be. Add in the 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken it up. Simmer for a few minutes till the sauce is slightly thick and “jam” like.
- Take it off the heat, then mix in the chia seeds, and let it cool.
- Once you have taken your oats out of the oven, pulse the oats in a food processor until it resembles coarse crumbs. Combine 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of honey in a small bowl. Pour this mixture over the toasted oats and spread thoroughly. Bake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes at 165 degrees (375 degrees Fahrenheit) until toasted.
- Once everything is cool and you are ready to serve (and eat!), start layering. You can do this however you like, but I like to start with a base of the granola “cookie” crumbs, filling, then more crumbs, then more filling, then add the strawberries on the top.
- Eat immediately! This doesn’t taste exactly like the decadent cheesecake, but it comes very close when you want something sweet, silky, and creamy, and helps quell those cravings from time to time. It’s also really cute for serving at a dinner party/gathering.
Hope you enjoy!