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Canadian Tire Kitchen Crew Mission 3: Baked lemon cheesecake

It’s my second to last recipe post for the Canadian Tire Kitchen Crew!  This time I was charged with testing out the Kitchen Aid ExactSlice 13 cup Food Processor.  I was really excited to try this out because our food processor is nearly 20 years old and whilst it still does the job, it’s much smaller so I often find myself doing things in multiple batches.  This model features:

  • A large 13-cup size capacity BPA-free work bowl and mini bowl
  • External adjustable, stainless steel slicing disc
  • 3 speeds and blades for great performance and results
  • Ultra wide mouth feed tube which accommodates large to small foods

As for my Mission this week:

Sometimes even with the best intentions, a perfect dessert can be more memorable than the main course.  Your mission is to recreate a special dessert from a special occasion!  That may mean replicating an anniversary’s crème brûlée or even baking that birthday cake you made in a pinch – the choice is yours!  So what are you waiting for? Get baking!

Ok then. I admit I had to read this a few times before I really understood what they were asking. And even typing it out now I feel slightly confused!  do they want a perfect dessert or one that upstages the main meal?  I chose to go with the “perfect” theme and decided to recreate (and hopefully perfect) a dessert that has been bugging me for a while now – baked cheesecake.

Oh, I have made them before but each time they have cracked on top. I’ve been meaning to make one for a while now and, as the crust of the cheesecake is one of my favourite parts, I thought it might be a good test for the Exactslice.  It must be said that the Exactslice is a great looking machine. So retro and professional looking.  It’s not too heavy, though its footprint is a little larger than I would like, given my lack of cupboard and counter space.  I set it to work chopping up hazelnuts and ginger spice cookies to make the crust.

I have to admit that I was disappointed by this machine when it came to this relatively simple task.  I chose to use the mini bowl simply because I wasn’t making a huge quantity of crust and not only did it take way longer than our 20 year-old powerhouse Moulinex food processor, but the crumbs (and in fact, whole cookies – they are tiny – and hazelnuts) remained stuck in the rim of the bowl, making clean removal of the lid virtually impossible. The lid is also rather difficult to remove – not sure if this is just because it’s new or because of its design but it’s awkward.  In any case, I was let down  by this normally trusted brand by its inability to carry out a simple task as quickly and as easily as my old food processor.

After a while, though it eventually got the job done and I got to work on the filling.  Now a few weeks ago, I received a wonderful sample pack of Oikos Greek Yoghurt by Danone, newly released in Canada.   The special straining stage used to make Oikos means only three ingredients (milk, cream and an active culture) are used and the process requires three times more milk than a regular yogurt. The result? A low-fat, high-protein yogurt with a thick and creamy texture that is perfect for enjoying as is or for cooking. Slightly tangier than regular yogurt, certified kosher and contains no gelatin or preservatives, Oikos is my new favourite brand!

As well as the honey and blueberry samples (which were literally devoured in my staff room where the pack arrived – people simply couldn’t believe the low fat and high protein content of such an unctuous, tasty yoghurt!), I received a large size of the plain which I had to hide away from my colleagues, bringing it home with every intention of a week or so of tasty breakfasts.  But then I got to thinking about my cheesecake and how I wanted to use sour cream, and all of a sudden realized that perhaps by substituting sour cream for Greek yoghurt, I might achieve a nicer texture in my cheesecake. I already know that yoghurt bakes well so I figured why not.  Also, I ended up using light cream cheese (since that’s what we had) and I think the thicker yoghurt helped compensate for that in terms of texture and certainly nothing tasted “light” about the end product. It was creamy and tasty – noone would even guess that it was made with light cream cheese and 2% yoghurt!

As I already had duck confit cooking away in the oven with no end in sight (it took around 6 hours), I ended up using the Black and Decker Convection Rotisserie Toaster Oven from my previous Kitchen Crew Challenge, slightly wary about the idea of making cheesecakes in a toaster oven. But I needn’t have worried – they were amazing. And they didn’t crack!  Of course, making smaller sized ones (I used 4-inch springform pans and I made two of these only!) there is less chance of them cracking but I was pleased nonetheless at my success :)

I served them with a dollop of crème fraîche and some blueberries and dusted them lightly with icing sugar.  Result?

A lovely bright, fresh cheesecake with a rich, creamy texture. And so easy!  I will definitely make this again – if I can get my hands on the Oikos before it’s all gone!

Baked lemon cheesecake
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A light, bright baked cheesecake made with Greek yoghurt.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups ginger spice cookies
  • ½ cup hazelnuts
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 250g cream cheese (either spreadable or at room temperature)
  • 200g Greek yoghurt
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of one lemon
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • crème fraîche (or whipping cream)
  • blueberries, to garnish
  • icing sugar, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 300˚F.
  2. If your mini-springform pans are not non-stick, lightly grease them.
  3. Place the cookies and hazelnuts in the bowl of a food processor, and pulse until your mixture is the texture you like it. I prefer some chunkier pieces of both cookie and nut, you may prefer a finer crumb.
  4. In a separate bowl, add melted butter to the crumb mixture and mix until well combined.
  5. Distribute the crumbs evenly in the springform pans and press down with your fingers on the crumbs until is forms a more or less solid block.
  6. Place pans in the fridge whilst you prepare the filling.
  7. Using either a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or electric hand beaters, combine cream cheese, yoghurt and sugar until mixture is creamy.
  8. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  9. Stir in the lemon zest and vanilla.
  10. Pour mix into the prepared pans over the crust.
  11. Rap the pans a couple of times on a countertop to distribute the filling evenly.
  12. Bake for 35 minutes. The top of the cheesecake should still be a little wobbly.
  13. Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
  14. Refrigerate, removing from fridge about 10-15 minutes before you will serve them.
  15. Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and blueberries, dusting some icing sugar over the top right before you serve.

Disclosure: I was provided with compensation as well as a Kitchen Aid 13 cup Food Processor in exchange for writing two posts about the product. All opinions are 100% my own. The Kitchen Crew series highlights my stories, recipes and tips with promotional consideration made possible by Canadian Tire. If you want to uncover your kitchen’s true potential, stay tuned to the Kitchen Crew for my weekly missions.

 I was also provided with samples of the Oikos Greek yoghurt. I was not asked to write a post about this product, nor was I compensated in any way.  All opinions expressed are my own (and, in this case, my colleagues who helped me “test” the yoghurt!)

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34 Responses to Canadian Tire Kitchen Crew Mission 3: Baked lemon cheesecake

  1. LauraD October 17, 2011 at 07:21 #

    I don’t know how I could live without my Kithchen Aid Food Processor now. Definitely a life saver sometimes. I loved that you used greek yoghurt in the cheesecake instead of ricotta. Seems like a neat alternative (and a bit healthier). Looks delicious!

  2. Liz October 17, 2011 at 08:01 #

    Oh, thes look fabulous! Lemon is the perfect flavor for cheesecake…and your blueberries are a beautiful garnish. Love the individual servings….mmmmmm.

  3. Mr. Neil October 17, 2011 at 08:28 #

    Limoncello, anyone?

  4. Lindsey October 17, 2011 at 12:12 #

    bookmarking! holy yum!

  5. Emme @FoodSamba October 17, 2011 at 15:11 #

    This looks amazign, Mardi! Love the addition of the greek yogurt.

  6. Joy October 17, 2011 at 15:28 #

    The cheesecake looks wonderful.

  7. Delana October 17, 2011 at 16:45 #

    Philly Cream Cheese finally arrived in France this year so I’ll be off to find some tomorrow. This sounds wonderful with the Greek yogurt. Thanks….the recipe is printed and ready to go.

  8. Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. October 17, 2011 at 16:48 #

    This cheesecake sounds wonderful! I bet the lemon gives it great flavor!

  9. Paula October 17, 2011 at 18:42 #

    Your cheesecake is beautiful and hooray for the toaster oven baking it so well. I’m sad to read that you did not like the performance of the Kitchen Aid 13 Cup Food Processor. I have been contemplating buying one for awhile, I guess I should do some more research.

  10. Happy When Not Hungry October 17, 2011 at 21:41 #

    This cheesecake looks so creamy and delicious!

  11. Natalie@DeconstructingTheHome October 17, 2011 at 22:17 #

    Love the way you made the crust. This really got my mind going. What can I throw into my Kitchen Aid food processor to make a crust. Thanks for the great idea!

  12. Lindsey@Lindselicious October 18, 2011 at 00:15 #

    Oh I love that you used gingersnaps and greek yogurt! This looks so yummy.

  13. Ann October 18, 2011 at 02:55 #

    Delicious! I liked that you used gingersnaps instead of graham crackers in your crust. It all looks amazing!

  14. Stephanie October 18, 2011 at 13:09 #

    Your post made me realize that I’ve never ever made cheese cake even though I love to eat it. Now I’m craving lemon cheese cake!

    Good review for the food processor, I’ve been considering getting one so its nice to know what the pros and cons are for the different brands

  15. Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction October 19, 2011 at 13:41 #

    Love the look of those cheesecakes… The crust sounds especially fantastic. :)

  16. David October 20, 2011 at 10:49 #

    I was disappointed as well. I purchased one and returned it because of the same issues you discussed above. The design is poor. I ended up with a 12 cup Cuisinart Food Processor that rocks and runs circles around this one.

  17. Don (@foodieprints) October 21, 2011 at 13:55 #

    After working with this food processor, I think I’m a Cuisinart snob. I kept saying to my better half, the KitchenAid one doesn’t work the same way…

    Love my KitchenAid stand mixer…Was not blown away by its food processor.

    Yeah, when we read the third mission’s challenge, Jenn and I sat across from each other staring at the food processor, thinking…we need to bake something…using this thing…alright….HUH?

    Great idea, making a crumb crust. Now craving cheesecake!

  18. penny aka jeroxie October 31, 2011 at 05:35 #

    hmmm… cheesecake. I love the baked ones.

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