This yogurt cheese cake/pie is high in protein, loaded with gut friendly probiotics, is light and fluffy and so delicious. If you like cheese cake, then this recipe is for you, it tastes like cheese cake, yet is not rich and you don’t feel heavy and stuffed after eating it. I use very little maple syrup to sweeten it and I serve it with fresh fruit – truly delicious! Once you make this recipe, you will never go back to making a regular cheese cake.
Making a cream cheese cake requires baking and setting in the fridge. Plus cream cheese is expensive and is loaded with saturated fat. While all fat is not bad for you, saturated fat can raise your cholesterol and this can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, with my delicious recipe below, you can still enjoy the taste of cheese cake without cream cheese.
This recipe of mine does not need baking and can be frozen or set in the fridge and ready in under 8 hours. All you need is low-fat Greek yogurt, a strainer and a cheese cloth and of course patience! Planning ahead is a good idea for this dessert, this allows you to strain your yogurt overnight in the fridge while you sleep. The cheese cloth, strainer and gravity does the work for you – making your Greek yogurt into a delicious, healthy, gut friendly dessert.
I’m sharing pictures below of the items and ingredients you’ll need to make this simple, gut friendly and nutritional yogurt cheese cake.
Once you’ve got your items and ingredients, pour the yogurt into your cheese cloth, bunch the cheese cloth together and tie firmly with a clip bag/an elastic band / kitchen twine (whatever you have available in your kitchen), allowing the whey to drain out from the yogurt, into the bowl. Best to do this overnight in the fridge.
You might want to check just before going to bed to see that your whey is not filling up quickly, if so, pour your whey out into a bottle for use later and place the strainer and cheese cloth back into the bowl and back in the fridge. Use a large bowl and strainer to avoid spill-over.
Once all the whey has drained from your yogurt, don’t throw out the whey, save it to make a sweet or savoury protein drink such as an Indian lassi.
After the whey has drained for about 6 to 8 hours or even longer (if you have the time) you get a soft yogurt cheese. Now you’re ready to make your yogurt cheese cake.
All you do is add maple syrup and pure vanilla extract to your yogurt cheese, mix and pour into your pie crust.
Watch the video below to see how simple and easy it is to make this full recipe from scratch. Then go to the recipe below the video for step by step guidance.
I first made a version of this recipe when I was undertaking my Masters degree in Canada. I only had a few ingredients in my fridge and pantry and was having a few friends from university over to discuss a research project we were working on. I wanted to prepare a dessert that was delicious, substantial yet didn’t make us feel lethargic after eating it, with this in mind I created this health, delicious dessert. At that time, I didn’t have all the ingredients for the pie crust in my pantry, so I made a crustless yogurt cake with only three ingredients – yogurt, maple syrup and vanilla essence, just as I have in this recipe.
I strained the yogurt through a coffee filter and a strainer, over a bowl in the fridge overnight, as I didn’t have cheese cloth (I was a student on a very small budget)… it actually worked really well. I also didn’t have any fruit other than bananas to serve my cheese cake with, but I did have a little bit of dark Jamaican rum. I topped each piece with a few slices of banana and drizzled a teaspoon of of dark Jamaican rum over and served it to my friends, while we discussed our research project. It was a hit! My friends loved the dessert SO much, the entire cake was eaten that very night! After all I told them it was healthy and made with only three ingredients. Sadly, I have no pictures to share of my very first attempt of creating this delicious cake and that amazing evening with friends. But I do have lovely memories of how tasty the cake was, and how happy and satisfied my friends were with my last minute dessert creation :) .
After that day, I have made this dessert hundreds of times (it’s been 20 years since my Masters, so yes, I’ve made this recipe many, many, many times) for friends, family, my children and my husband. My husband loves this dessert so much and always requests for it on his birthday and fathers day every single year. Now, my teenage boys have learnt to make it and my youngest who is 16, does a better job than I do.
Let me know if you try this recipe and how it turns out, I guarantee you it will not be a waste of your time and effort. You will keep making it again and again.
Yogurt Cheese Cake with a Raw Nutty Pie Crust
- 1 Vitamix Food Processor
- 1 Cheese Cloth
- 1 spatula
- 1 strainer
- 8.5 cups Greek yogurt (2 kgs or 4 tubs of 500gms each – I used 0 fat Greek yogurt, but you can use whatever percent fat you like)
- 8 tbsp maple syrup (you can use a sweetner of your choice, if you don't like maple syrup.I've tried it with honey, and it tastes just as deliocious. You might have to increase or decrease the quanity of honey depending on how sweet you like your cake)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup dried unsweetened mangoes
- 1 cup pitted dates
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup raw cashew nuts
- 1/4 cup flax meal
- 4 tbsp coconut oil (add more if you feel your crumble is not coming together – this will depend on how dry your mangoes and dates are)
- Place a large strainer into a bowl, make sure the bowl is larger enough to hold all the whey that drips out from the yogurt. The strainer shouldn't sit flat in the bowl, this allows for the whey to drain well and not be reabsorbed back into the yogurt (watch video or view pictures above to see what I mean).
- Place a large good quality cheese cloth into the strainer. Pour all your yogurt into the cheese cloth and tie the ends of your cheese cloth together. You can hold it together with a bag clip, an elastic band, or kitchen twine.
- Allow as much whey to drain from your yogurt. Best to do this overnight in the fridge. The longer you leave to drain, the thicker the yogurt cheese will be. Generally 6 to 8 hours is a good time-frame, but I sometimes leave it to drain for 10 to 12 hours in the fridge. However, I have made this dessert when I had only a 4 hour window to drain the whey and it still worked, the cheese was not as firm as I would have liked it to be.
- While this is drianing, you can prepare your pie crust by blending all of the pie crust ingredients together in a food proecssor. Start by chopping in the food processor the mangoes and dates, then add in the almonds, cashew nuts, flax meal and processor till all ingredients is broken down into tiny bits that resemble tropical sand. Finally add in the coconut oil. and process for another 30 to 45 seconds. Your pie crumble will come together like fine wet sand on a beach, but should not be a sticky ball, it will still be a bit crumbly. If it's extremely sticky add a bit more flax meal.
- Turn your crumble into a pie dish and press down firmly. Cover and chill in the fridge while you prepare your yogurt cheese cake.
- Remove the yogurt cheese from the cheese cloth and place in a bowl. To it add maple syrup and pure vanilla extract. Mix well.
- Spread our yogurt cheese over your chilled pie crust and spread evenly.
- Chill in the fridge for 4 to 5 hours before serving.
- Serve cold with fresh fruit and grated dark chocolate or a topping of your choice.
- You can also freeze your yogurt cheese cake and serve on a hot day as a frozen dessert. You will have to thaw slightly to be able to cut it.
- Don’t throw out the whey from the strained yogurt. Save it and make a protein drink with it, such as a sweet (with fresh mango) or savoury (with sea salt and cumin seeds and fresh herbs ) lassi.
- If you have extra pie crust crumble, make energy balls with them as I do in the video.