“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is a saying I’ve always struggled to find inspiring. I get its meaning, its lighthearted praise of initiative in the face of adversities, but wouldn’t wear it on my t-shirt, or hang it on my wall. Same goes for the numerous, tentatively humorous variations on the theme, advising to get some vodka, or have a cheeky shot of tequila and salt: if life gives me lemons (or, in this case, lemon yoghurt), I’d much rather bake.
When Ski gave me the opportunity to try their low-fat Dessert Style Lemon Cheesecake Yoghurt, prior to its launch in supermarkets, I jumped at the chance. Ski are celebrating 50 years of feeding the UK, and yet their products were completely new to me. More traditionally Italian brands figure in my memories of childhood breakfasts and afternoon snacks; Ski was a name I only associated with fleeting glimpses at British supermarket shelves, and the sheer marvel I still feel when I find that none of the dairy treats I miss from home has yet landed here. I took this as a cue to create a new set of memories, characteristic to my budding adulthood in London. And if it’s true that you never forget your first, I’m glad to say that my first Ski pot, tasted with my breakfast bran flakes and dried fruits on a Sunday morning, was something I’ll happily remember.
If you enjoy subtle flavours and smooth, creamy textures, you’ll like it too. Ski Lemon Cheesecake yoghurt is delicate to the mouthful, and recreates the taste of an actual dessert so closely, you’d be forgiven for feeling you’re having a slice of cheesecake for breakfast. Biscuit chunks pop up from time to time, adding up to the impression that you’re treating yourself to much more than low-fat yoghurt. In fact, more biscuit chunks are probably the only thing I’d add to a pleasingly flavoursome product. But then, I’m a dessert junkie: it’s only natural that I take my addiction to the next step, and start daydreaming of a real biscuit base at the bottom of the pot!
I was also happy to take part in Ski’s blogger recipe challenge, organised as part of their 50th birthday celebrations. The task was creating a bespoke dessert with the new Lemon Cheesecake yoghurt, and illustrating it through pictures, text, and video tutorials. Nazima from Franglais Kitchen produced the winning recipe, so my videos will most likely remain locked in my hard drive’s safe vault. Unless you bribe me with a ton of ice cream – in which case I’ll reconsider the opportunity of sharing footage involving my silly face!
Looking for a dessert that enhanced the yoghurt’s delicate flavour was hard but rewarding work. Cheesecake was the first and most obvious idea that came to mind: keeping it out, for the sake of trying something truly unusual, was no easy task. However much I puzzled over cake and muffin recipes, it just wouldn’t leave my head, until I finally caved in: the thought a guilt-free cheesecake with low-fat yoghurt sounded like music to my Healthy Eater Conscience‘s ears.
I wasn’t quite sure how to avoid resorting to heaps of double cream, but a chance visit to Sally’s Baking Addiction gave me the confidence and inspiration to adapt her Skinny Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake Bars. Eureka, I thought – light cheesecakes exist! Indeed, if you’re one of those who think that the ingredients for a “classic” cheesecake recipe is far too much to stock in your fridge and in your stomach, you’re bound to love this one.
Far from the heaviness of classic cheesecake fillings, the ricotta and yoghurt cream has a light, pleasantly filling, easily digestible texture. Blueberries match the lemon-flavoured yoghurt perfectly: sinking your teeth in the soft, smooth cream, and encountering a juicy berry on your way to the biscuit crust, is a pleasure that every dessert lover has a right to experience. In case you’re not yet sold, may I just remind you that you’re looking at a cheesecake cream that tastes like actual cheesecake. If that doesn’t tempt you, then I don’t know what will.
Lemon Yoghurt and Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
(Makes 6 – 8 bars)
- 40g butter, melted
- 85g Digestive biscuits
- 300g ricotta cheese
- 240g lemon-flavoured low-fat yoghurt (I used Dessert Style Lemon Cheesecake Ski Yoghurt)
- 2 egg whites
- 65g plain sugar
- 20g plain flour
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 100g fresh blueberries
1. Prepare the crust
- Break the Digestive biscuits into small crumbs.
- Combine the melted butter with the biscuit crumbs.
- Pour the mixture in a greased 20x20cm square cake tin. Spread and press it evenly with a spoon, until the bottom of the tin is all covered.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°, and bake the crust for about 8 minutes.
- Remove the crust from the oven, and leave aside to cool down.
2. Prepare the filling
- Beat the ricotta with a hand mixer for about 1 minute, to make it soft and fluffy.
- Add the yoghurt, egg whites, sugar and flour. Continue beating until you obtain a smooth cream, then stir in the lemon juice and vanilla extract.
3. Prepare the cheesecake bars
- Spread the fresh blueberries on top of the cheesecake crust. You can use as many as you like, just make sure you leave a few aside for decorating.
- Pour the cream on top of the biscuit and blueberry base.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°, and bake for about 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
- Let the cheesecake cool down for 20 minutes, then put it in the fridge, and let it chill for at least 3 hours (or overnight, for best results).
- Take the cheesecake out of the fridge, and cut it into 6 – 8 individual bars.
- Decorate with fresh blueberries before serving.
- Dive into your bar, and enjoy every mouthful, safe in the knowledge that you don’t need to worry about the calorie count. Delicious and guilt-free – what more could you want?