I’ve been lactose-intolerant for 20 years. I’m not allergic to dairy; am fine with butter, yogurt, and eggs (whew!); and can handle small amounts of milk / cream baked into food. But I can’t drink a glass of milk or eat a normal ice cream cone without unfortunate consequences. Although there are lots of dairy alternatives nowadays, there are a couple of things I’d resigned to just living without — delicious melty cheese on pizza and cheesecake.
Lately, though, I’d been pondering the idea of using labneh — or yogurt cheese — as the basis for a cheesecake I could eat. Strained Greek yogurt can be a delicious accompaniment to cake, and even added to whipped cream for extra flavor; so it seemed like it was worth a shot.
Guys, this recipe is a game changer for me. I actually ate a whole piece of cheesecake without worrying about stomach issues and ENJOYED IT. It was smooth and creamy and subtly tangy. It also went over well with people that aren’t lactose intolerant — a good sign in my book. Oh, and as far as desserts go, it’s quite healthy!
I made this with homemade labneh (lowfat Greek yogurt strained for 24 hours – Liberte brand). I suspect it’ll work fine with store-bought labneh; though as it is the main ingredient you’ll want to go for a good quality one with a nice firm texture. I topped mine with salted caramel sauce, but imagine it would go well with any number of toppings (you could go fairly sweet if you prefer as the cheesecake itself is mildly sweet).
This recipe is quite easy, though for best results make it a day ahead so it has time to set overnight in the fridge. This improves the texture of the cake and makes for easy slicing.
Salted Caramel Labneh Cheesecake
Makes 1 six-inch cheesecake | Adapted from Hungry Couple NYC
For the base:
- Your favorite graham cracker crust (I used a half recipe of this one, swapping out toasted walnuts for the pistachios)
For the filling:
- 250 gr / 1 cup labneh (lowfat or full-fat; storebought or homemade), room temperature
- 60 gr / 1/4 cup lactose-free sour cream, full-fat, room temperature
- 1 t lemon zest
- 1 t lemon juice
- 1 t pure vanilla etract
- 1/4 t kosher salt
- 50 gr / 1/4 cup cake flour
- 65 gr / 1/3 cup caster sugar
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- hot water, for the water bath
For the topping:
Salted caramel sauce, storebought or homemade
- Grease and line the bottom and sides of a 6-inch springform pan or cake ring with parchment paper.
- Prepare your graham cracker crust, pre-baking and cooling completely if needed.
- Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare your pan for a water bath by wrapping your springform in a double layer of foil and placing in a large roasting pan (or a larger cake pan at least 1/3x bigger).
- Mix together labneh and sour cream on medium speed until smooth.
- Add in lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined.
- Sift in cake flour and sugar and mix on low speed until just combined.
- Add egg and mix on low speed until just combined — do not overmix, but the batter should be smooth and uniform in color.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula.
- Transfer pan to oven and fill the larger pan with 1/2 – 1 inch of hot water.
- Bake for about 30 minutes, until edges are firm but center is still a little jiggly. Turn off oven and allow cake to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove from water bath and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Once completely cool, refrigerate uncovered for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight before de-panning.
- Spread top with salted caramel sauce (or your topping of choice), slice, and serve!