Monthly Archives: December 2012

Fresh Mint Protein Gelato

Fresh Mint Protein Gelato_5971_wm_1x1

When I posted a recipe for a fresh mint and chocolate chunk ice cream, I was blown away by how many of you really love chocolate and mint ice cream, even just mint ice cream on its own!  How good is it when you infuse the milk and cream with fresh mint, hey?  A whole other realm of heaven compared with using peppermint extract!

Well, the excitement lead to a lot of excellent questions of the “will you make a protein version?” variety.  Plus, I got a huge nudge from a few lads armed with ice cream makers 🙂

So finally, I came around to thinking “Well, why not?”  It’s not as though I will be scoffing rich ice creams all summer and a proper protein gelato would be a lovely change from my usual protein desserts.  Yes, that’s right, proper protein gelato.  Not protein powder mixed with milk and gums or gelatine and whizzed in an ice cream maker.  Go ahead and do that, if you will, but don’t call it ice cream.  Not within earshot of me 😉

In the interests of never ever “making do” or “settling for a substitute” when it comes to healthy desserts, I’ve made a real gelato that is both high in protein and low in both carbohydrates and fat.  It is a gelato style ice cream (milk-based), is made using a traditional custard method, and has all the flavour and deliciousness of real ice cream as a result.  The only difference is that it doesn’t contain anything unhealthy and it’s actually good for you.

This gelato is good for you.   

I promise.

Sound the trumpets.   No, skip that rubbish.  Just go and make this gelato.   Play a fanfare and thank me later 😀

Mint is a great choice for a protein gelato as it doesn’t add any extra sugar or fat.  This recipe can be adapted to suit other flavours, according to your whim.  You can omit the mint and substitute with vanilla, spices, cacao, fruit puree, whatever.   Just be aware that in some instances, this will affect the macros and the texture of the gelato.  For example, fruit puree contains a lot of water so will make for a more icy texture.

A word about the role of sugar and fats in ice cream … Sugar not only lends sweetness to an ice cream.  It also helps develop and keep the ice cream’s creamy texture.  Fat also gives ice cream a more intense flavour, being a flavour carrier, as well as giving it a lush creamy texture and mouthfeel.  By omitting both, it is important to include the egg yolks, which also thicken the custard and create a creamier result.   I use micellar casein for ice creams as it is a natural thickening agent and helps promote a richer, creamier texture.   You will not get this by using whey.  So, with all that in mind, this ice cream is well armed to remain creamy and delicious, despite the lack of the usual ingredients required to make it so, or with the addition of gums or gelatine.

You can substitute a non-dairy milk for this recipe very easily.  However,  I would not recommend a vegan protein powder.

Serve it immediately for a softer, gelato style dessert.  If you prefer a firmer ice cream, freeze it for an hour or two.  This gelato is best eaten fresh, soon after it is made.  The addition of protein powder to ice cream will change the texture of the ice cream if stored for long periods.  It’s still lovely, but definitely at its best in the first few hours.  As a result, the quantity made in this recipe will allow for 4-6 small serves or 2-3 large serves.

You really can’t tell the difference between this gelato and the original recipe, here.  Because this is real gelato.  I call that a win.  No.  I’m feeling a bit like a legend right now 😉

Enjoy, protein peeps!    Yes, yes, macros are provided below.  They’re fantastic … better than fantastic … shoo, go make gelato, now!

Makes 600 grams / Serves 4 – 6 (100-150 grams per serve)

Ingredients
500 millilitres skim milk
10 grams fresh mint leaves (peppermint, spearmint, whatever)
2 large egg yolks
2 large eggs (59 grams in the shell)
125 grams Natvia (or similar low-calorie sweetener like Splenda, Truvia, or Nu Via)*
60 grams Micellar Casein (I used Professional Whey MPI)**

Optional:
20 grams 100% chocolate, chopped

*You could use pure stevia extract for this recipe, however, I have found that it imparts an odd flavour in ice creams and prefer not to use it.  If you do, start with about 1/8 teaspoon and work your way up from there.  I can’t vouch for the result though.  I use a granulated stevia blend for this recipe as I have found it to work extremely well in producing a good flavour and texture.

**I use unflavoured casein.  If you prefer to use a mint or choc-mint flavoured casein, go right ahead!  Remember, though, that flavoured protein powder will have gums and sweetener added.  The gums will add to the texture of the ice cream, which is good.  You will have to adjust down the amount of sweetener you add though.

Directions
The first step is to infuse the milk with the mint.  I prefer an overnight infusion, but you will get a great flavour in a minimum of about two hours.  Wash the mint leaves if required and gently pat dry on paper towels or a clean dish towel.  Place into a bowl or jug and pour over the milk.  Cover with cling film and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours and up to eight hours or overnight.

Combine the egg yolks, eggs, and sweetener in a bowl and whisk until light and creamy.   Transfer the milk and mint mixture to a saucepan over a low to medium heat.  Bring to simmering point and then slowly strain the mixture into the egg mixture, whisking continuously.  This can be tricky so you might find it easier to strain the cream into a jug or container and then add it in a slow stream to the eggs as you whisk.

Place the custard back into the saucepan and cook over a low heat until the custard thickens slightly.  Stir continuously and do not allow the mixture to boil.  I prefer to use a whisk for this as it helps prevent lumps forming as I whisk.  The custard will not thicken a great deal if using skim milk but this is OK.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl, and place the bowl on or in an ice bath.  This will cool the custard quickly.  Whisk until cooled to barely warm to touch. Once cooled, add the micellar casein and mix well by whisking until smooth.  Cover and refrigerate for two to eight hours or overnight.  I left it overnight.  When ready, churn in an ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.   It took all of 20 minutes to achieve a creamy gelato texture.  If you want chocolate chunks added, chop the chocolate into uneven pieces.  I chop them quite small, but it’s up to you, about how you like your chocolate chunks distributed!  Fold the chocolate through the mint ice cream.

If you want a lovely gelato texture, serve immediately.  If you prefer a firmer ice cream, place into an airtight container and freeze for an hour or two until ready to serve.

If you do not have an ice-cream machine, place the custard into the freezer instead of the fridge.  When it’s partly frozen, remove and whisk briskly to distribute the ice crystals.  Return to the freezer and repeat 2 or 3 times until the ice-cream is well churned and ready.  At this point, fold in the chopped chocolate.  Serve or place into an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

If you prefer, omit the chocolate and serve with a low fat, low carb chocolate sauce.  MMMM

Fresh Mint Protein Gelato_5981_wm_1x1

Ideas for Variations
Cheater’s Mint:  omit the fresh mint leaves and substitute with a little peppermint extract.  Use 1/8 teaspoon and adjust to suit your preference.  Add the extract to the egg mixture before adding the milk.  This is nowhere near as fantastic as the fresh mint infusion.

Vanilla:  omit the mint and add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, bean paste, or the beans scraped from 1/2 vanilla pod to the egg mixture before adding the milk.

Spiced:  Add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, or other spice mix.  This is also great with the chocolate, nuts, or the vanilla version.  A little chilli would be awesome with a chocolate version.  Just sayin’ 😉

Chocolate or Choc-Mint: Either leave in the mint or omit it, as desired.  Add 15 grams of pure cacao to the egg mixture and whisk until smooth, before adding the milk.    Add some chopped 100% chocolate for a chocolate chunk version.

Fruit:  Add up to 125 millilitres (1/2 metric cup) of pureed fresh fruit.  Be aware that this will create a slightly icier texture, unless you use a fleshy fruit such as banana.

PB or nuts:  Add some peanut butter or other nut butter, to taste.  This will increase both fat and carbs but also the protein content.  Or simply add some chopped dry roasted nuts to a vanilla, spiced, or chocolate version.

Macronutrient Profile
The macros provided here relate to the recipe as stated above, for both the plain mint and chocolate chunk versions.  Substitutions of other ingredients will change the macros, of course.  Please account for any changes you make, or ingredients you include.

Fresh Mint Protein Gelato_macros

Fresh Mint Gelato Version

Fresh Mint & Choc Chunk Protein Gelato_macros.jpg

Fresh Mint and Chocolate Chunk Version with 100% Chocolate

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Protein, Protein Desserts, Protein Gelato, Special Diet

Gelato Panna e Amarene

Panna e Amarena_5953_wm_4x5

We always recall the truly memorable food moments in our lives with a smile and a longing to revisit the flavours, the textures, the sensory experience of that gastronomic interlude.  Sometimes we can, other times it must remain a sublime memory … perhaps associated with a special occasion, with people we love dearly, or places we have travelled to, that have left an imprint on our hearts.

Gelato is one of those things that can vividly recall happy foodie memories.   My fondest gelato memories always take me back to Italy.  I’ve had many great gelato moments in Italy and, not surprisingly, many of those involved variations on a chocolate flavour theme.  But perhaps one of the most memorable had nothing to do with chocolate.  It was at a particularly amazing gelateria in Piazza Navona in Rome … gelato made with fresh ingredients in a vast array of flavours, and no less than fifteen chocolate flavours to choose from.   Therein lay my dilemma.  Way too much chocolate choice (oh sure, try them all … 😉 ).  I couldn’t decide so I distracted myself by looking at the other flavours.  The thing with Italian gelaterie is that, whatever flavour experiments they come up with, the classic gelato flavours will always feature.  Pistachio, cioccolato, caffè, nocciola, limone, stracciatella, and panna e amarena.  Panna e amarena is a classic combination of a simple cream gelato swirled with sour cherry preserves, known as amarenata.  I’m not a fan of plain cream but oh I am a huge fan of amarenata.  I make my own every year.  You see this gelato everywhere but I’d never actually tried it.  It was wonderful.  So beautifully simple, with just a faint hint of vanilla in the creamy gelato, punctuated by the tart sweet cherry sauce and whole cherries swirled through it.   Perfection.

I’ve created a semifreddo version of this classic for Christmas.  Cherries always remind me of Christmas and it will complete a lovely Christmas trio of semifreddo style gelato I’m planning to serve with slices of pandoro on Christmas night.  This one, the Torroncino, and the Lebkucken spiced one.  There will be crushed up chunks of torrone and a rich ganache sauce spiked with Amaretto liqueur to serve alongside the gelato.  Not bad, yes?

The higher proportion of Italian meringue in this gelato makes it incredibly light and mousse-like in texture.   You can buy prepared amarenata or make your own.  It’s very simple to do, if you can find fresh or frozen morello cherries.  I have a simple recipe here.  Alternatively, you can make a sour cherry jam and swirl that through.  I’ve given a recipe for that below too.  I have not given exact quantities for swirling the cherry preserves through the gelato.  This is really up to you.  Both recipes for the sour cherry preserves make more than enough.  Leftovers are fantastic and can be kept refrigerated for several weeks.

It makes a pretty gelato to serve at Christmas and it matches the flavour of a classic nougat and chocolate perfectly.  Then again, it is also wonderful scooped in to a bowl or atop a waffle cone on a summer’s day … and pretend you’re sitting under a canopy in Piazza Navona and watching the world go by.  Bliss.

Panna e Amarena_5954_wm_1x1

Makes

Ingredients
Gelato Panna
3 large eggs, separated
90 grams sugar
20 grams vanilla sugar*
35 millilitres water
200 grams cream (35% fat), chilled
200 grams crème fraîche, chilled
Amarenata (recipe here) OR Conserva di Amarene (recipe below) q.b.
15 millilitres (1 tablespoon) Amaretto or Frangelico liqueur (optional)

*If you do not have vanilla sugar, replace the vanilla sugar with 20 grams of sugar and add one teaspoon of pure vanilla bean paste or extract.  I used the vanilla sugar to avoid adding colour to the gelato from the addition of vanilla beans.  However, this is purely my aesthetic preference and is not necessary.

Directions
Combine the sugars and water in a saucepan over a low-medium heat.  Let the sugar dissolve and bring to the boil.  Do not stir.  Place the egg whites in a bowl nearby.  Have the egg yolks ready in a separate bowl.

When the syrup has begun to boil watch it carefully.  Insert the candy thermometer in the syrup and wait until it reaches 115℃.  As you do this, beat the egg whites until they reach soft peak stage only.  When the syrup is ready, pour half of it in a thin and steady stream into the egg whites, as you continue to beat them on high-speed.  Set the remaining syrup aside, off the heat for now.  Continue beating the egg whites until they are glossy.  Set the meringue aside.

Return the syrup to the heat if required, just to melt it a little (it may start to form a skin and set if it cools).  Beat the egg yolks.  Pour the remaining syrup into the egg yolks in a thin steady stream as you beat them on high-speed.  Continue beating until the egg yolk mixture is light, tripled in volume, and has cooled.  In warm weather, or simply if you prefer, set the bowl in a larger bowl with an ice bath.  It will help to cool the egg mixture more quickly.

Make sure the cream is chilled.  Place the cream and crème fraîche in a large bowl.  Whisk until thickened slightly and the cream forms soft peaks.  Do not over-whisk the cream.

Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the cream.  While you can be a little heavy-handed, you still want to keep the lightness of all that air we’ve beaten into the eggs.  Finally, gently fold in the meringue until no streaks remain.

Transfer the gelato to the prepared container or loaf pan.  Mix the amarenata or conserva and add the liqueur, if using.  Mix well.  Swirl some of the preserves into the gelato, with a light hand, making sure you swirl it about evenly.

Cover the gelato and freeze for 4 to 6 hours until set.  This semifreddo will never set hard and is very light and mousse-like.

It will keep for several days in the freezer, tightly covered.

Panna e Amarena_5947_wm_1x1

Conserva di Amarene
Ingredients
500 grams morello cherries, pitted weight (fresh or frozen)
250 grams sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (cassia bark)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla seeds or paste

Directions
Place all the ingredients into a heavy-based saucepan and mix.  If using fresh cherries, add about 50 millilitres of fresh water.  If using frozen cherries, there will be enough moisture as the cherries thaw and heat up, so extra water is not required.

Place over a low to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is melted.  Bring to a simmer.  Cook until a small amount place on a chilled plate start to gel, or you can run a finger through it and it will leave a trail.  Remove from the heat and pour into clean jars and seal.  If you want to make this to use as jam, process the jars for about 45 minutes in boiling water.  Cool then store at room temperature.  When opened, they should be stored in the refrigerator.

Panna e Amarena_5949_wm_1x1

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Fruit, Ice cream & Sorbet, Jams & Preserves, Special Diet

Cauliflower Protein Bread

Cauliflower Protein Bread_5936_wm_1x1

If you dislike cauliflower, I suggest you move right along … there is nothing for you in this post.  Don’t make this bread because you’ll be all “oh, I hate this bread.  I can taste cauliflower!”.    Well, yes, that’s kind of the point 😉  Perhaps scan through some past offerings on the blog and find another recipe you might like … because this post is all about cauliflower and its awesomeness as the basis for a healthy grain-free bread!  So, if you love your cauli, as do I, then read on … 🙂

Many of you know that there are some awesome cauliflower and cheese based pizza crust recipes on the interwebs.  There are also some related cauliflower bread recipes.  But here’s the thing.  I don’t like my bread to fall apart so I can’t slice it … and invariably, many of these do.  Because they’re mostly the pizza crust baked as a flat bread.  Taste great, but not very practical, unless you like to eat your bread with a spoon.  I do not.

So my challenge is, how do I make a cauliflower bread that is still mostly cauliflower and lovely and moist, and doesn’t rely on lots of added flour for structure and body.  My goal was to make a cauliflower bread that was low in both fat and carbs but high in protein and fibre and that allowed me to have my extra serve of vegetables in a different form.  I like variety.  I love protein breads.   It’s a gimme.

You don’t care about my craziness though … so here we go.   This bread is delicate, because it is like a serving of cauliflower in bread form.  When still warm, it’s lovely with a little butter melting into it.  Yum.  So much for the low-fat criteria … 😀  It’s obviously great with cheese and pickles, but also served alongside soup, or any meat or vegetarian based meal.

I have added a little Grana Padano (or you could use Parmigiano Reggiano) but please use the real thing.  There aren’t many things as horrible as faux Parmigiano cheese.   Alternatively, use a little really sharp cheddar or other hard cheese.   The subtle but sharp hint of the Parmigiano is great with cauliflower.  I’ve also added a little chilli to my bread.  Then again, I like to add chilli to almost everything.  Honestly, the possibilities are huge.  You can add some smoked or sweet paprika, finely chopped fresh herbs, or finely sliced olives … pretty much whatever you like.  Keep it simple though as too much clutter in your bread makes it difficult to slice and less versatile.  You will also tire of it very quickly.  Keep it simple.

A serving of two slices (based on twelve slices per loaf) will yield about 110kcals, 15.1g protein, a low 2.7g fat (1.4g sat), only 5.1g carbohydrates (2.7g sugars), and a whopping 4.2g of dietary fibre.  I dare you to hate those macros!

This bread is naturally gluten and tree nut free.  While it is not low FODMAP, if you do not have an issue with galactose or lactose, then it is OK for you too.  If you prefer to make it dairy free, or do not use protein powder, substitute the protein powder with extra coconut flour instead as indicated in the recipe.

It bakes up well as a loaf but you could also make this as mini loaves or muffins so you don’t have to slice them up.

Enjoy!

Cauliflower Protein Bread_5933_wm_1x1

Makes 1 x 21cm x 10cm loaf or 12 muffin-sized breads

Ingredients

  • 575 grams chopped cauliflower (about 1 medium cauliflower)
  • 25 grams coconut flour
  • 45 grams unflavoured micellar casein* (substitute whey or rice protein isolate or 30 grams coconut flour)
  • 25 grams Grana Padano or Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 large egg (52 grams, shelled)
  • 198 grams liquid egg whites (about 6 large egg whites)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon chilli, smoked paprika, roasted garlic, or some finely chopped fresh herbs (optional)

*You can omit the casein powder if you like and just add another 25 grams of coconut flour.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 200℃.

Line the loaf tin with non-stick silicone paper.  It pays to use a double thickness of paper for this.  Set aside.

Place the cauliflower in to the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse a few times, until chopped finely.  It will resemble cauliflower rice.   Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until smooth.  If you are adding chilli, paprika, garlic, or herbs, to the bread, add them with the other ingredients.  Adjust the seasoning, if desired.

Transfer to the prepared tin and smooth the top.  If you prefer to sprinkle some chilli or herbs on top, do it now.

Lower the oven temperature to 190℃ and bake the bread for 10 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 180℃ and bake for a further 50 minutes, or until risen and golden and cooked through.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack, in the tin.  When cool, carefully remove the bread, and serve.

Store, wrapped in foil in a freezer bag, in the refrigerator.   It will keep fresh for several days if stored this way.

Cauliflower Protein Bread_5939_wm_1x1

Macronutrient Profile

I have provided macros as per the recipe above.  If you substitute other ingredients, you will have to account for these changes.  Further, you will have to account for any extra ingredients you add to the bread, in terms of flavourings.

Cauliflower Protein Bread_macros

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Filed under All Recipe Posts, Protein, Protein Bread, Savouries, Special Diet

Lebkuchen Semifreddo

Lebkuchen Semifreddo_5922_wm_1x1

I was going to make my lebkuchen cookies this year but it looks to be a warm one this Christmas.  Yes, yes, lucky us, hey … with our summery Christmas 🙂

Except that those of us with European heritage get a little out of sorts with our love of traditional Christmas fare.  I try to find a balance.   Unless we have one of our crazy unexpected cold blasts at Christmas (last year we had mega hail that destroyed many a garden), I usually make a Christmas dessert that blends tradition with something light and summery.

Most years I make Torroncino ice cream to serve with a slice of Panettone or Pandoro.  It is both easy to make and loved by all.  It also brings together two pillars of an Italian Christmas … Panettone (or Pandoro) and Torrone (nougat).  A rich but light semifreddo style gelato is just perfect with Panettone.  It is quite traditional to hollow out the Panettone and fill with gelato, freeze, and then slice it to serve.  Perfect.

This year, there may just be some competition for the much-loved Torroncino.    My love of German Christmas cookies and Stöllen and … is just as fierce as my love of traditional Italian Christmas sweets.  I got my jar of Lebkuchen spice on the weekend and did not want to lose a day before using it. That heady blend of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves, is powdered Christmas 🙂

We had a 37°C scorcher yesterday so it was the perfect opportunity to make a Lebkuchen semifreddo.   I love spice in gelato … it adds warmth and zing against the smooth, creamy coolness of the gelato.

It is sensational.  A little fresh orange zest and almond extract counter the spice perfectly.  You could finely chop a whole candied orange or some candied orange peel, if  you like, and add that to the mix.   I prefer the fresh orange zest as it won’t affect the texture and it adds a fresh hint of orange and not a sugary accent along with textural bits.

Serve it on its own or with a Lebkuchen cookie on the side, it makes a simple, but Christmassy dessert.  It would also be lovely with a dark chocolate ganache sauce.  Well, duh, everything is lovely with a dark chocolate ganache sauce, isn’t it? 🙂

For a richer cookies and cream version, you could chop up a few Lebkuchen cookies and fold them through the semifreddo before freezing.   Being a semifreddo style gelato, it never sets hard and is perfectly creamy and lush straight from the freezer.

I think it would go rather well with a Panettone too, bringing together my love of all German and Italian Christmas traditions.

If you can’t find prepared Lebkucken spice blend, I have some information and links here for making your own.

I hope you enjoy it too!

Lebkuchen Semifreddo_5918_wm_1x1A

Serves 6  /  Makes 850 grams

Ingredients
75 grams brown sugar
50 grams white sugar
35 millilitres water
4 egg yolks
2 egg whites
500 grams cream (35% – 45% fat), chilled
7 grams (3 teaspoons) Lebkuchen spice (see this post for more on this spice mix)
2 – 3 teaspoons finely grated orange zest (about 1 medium orange)
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Optional: 2 – 3 Lebkuchen biscuits, chopped into chunks

Directions
Combine the brown and white sugars and water in a saucepan over a low-medium heat.  Let the sugar dissolve and bring to the boil.  Do not stir.  Place the egg whites in a bowl nearby.  Have the egg yolks ready in a separate bowl.

When the syrup has begun to boil watch it carefully.  Insert the candy thermometer in the syrup and wait until it reaches 115℃.  As you do this, beat the egg whites until they reach soft peak stage only.  When the syrup is ready, pour half of it in a thin and steady stream into the egg whites, as you continue to beat them on high-speed.  Set the remaining syrup aside, off the heat for now.  Continue beating the egg whites until they are glossy.  Set the meringue aside.

Return the syrup to the heat if required, just to melt it a little (it may start to form a skin and set if it cools).  Beat the egg yolks.  Pour the remaining syrup into the egg yolks in a thin steady stream as you beat them on high-speed.  Continue beating until the egg yolk mixture is light, tripled in volume, and has cooled.  In warm weather, or simply if you prefer, set the bowl in a larger bowl with an ice bath.  It will help to cool the egg mixture more quickly.

Make sure the cream is chilled.  Place the cream in a large bowl.  Add the orange zest and almond extract.  Whisk until thickened slightly and the cream forms soft peaks.  Do not over-whisk the cream.

Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the cream.  While you can be a little heavy-handed, you still want to keep the lightness of all that air we’ve beaten into the eggs.  Finally, gently fold in the meringue until no streaks remain.

If you wish to make a cookies and cream version, fold through the chopped Lebkuchen before adding the italian meringue.

Place into an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.  If you wish to serve it sliced, place in to a lined mold, cover and freeze.  Unmold on to a serving dish, slice and serve immediately.  This particular semifreddo is very soft and creamy and will not keep its molded shape for long.
Serve on its own or accompanied by Lebkuchen biscuits.

Lebkuchen Semifreddo_5918_wm_1x1

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Yuzu & Wattle Seed Protein Cheesecake

Wattleseed Yuzu Protein Cheesecake_5904_wm_4x5

I am running a seven-day diet challenge for myself.  It’s not that much of a challenge, to be honest, but the idea is to set me up so I can enjoy Christmas Day with the family and indulge in a bit of what is really not good for me, without fearing spending Boxing Day feeling below par.

So I’m kind of eating clean, whatever that means 😉

Well, in practice, all that means for me is that I stick to my low fructose and fructan diet 100%, without any random challenges.  I usually run random challenges where I introduce food that I know causes me GI distress, just to see if my situation has improved.  It has, by the way, so I’m happily and, so far, successfully doing science on myself to beat that sucker 😀

But, for at least a week (or until Christmas Day) I want to be 100% on the straight and narrow and along with that, I’m pretty much avoiding even an infrequent treat.  Wait on, that depends on what you consider to be a treat …

I’m still having dessert, people.   I’m even having cheesecake for pity’s sake …

I’m just having healthy desserts and that means another protein cheesecake.  Dare I say, the BEST protein cheesecake ever.   Why?  Let me count the ways … in a truly non-exhaustive list …

  1. It is light and creamy and sweet but has a beautiful tang from the citrus.
  2. It has a wonderful and unusual flavour combination that I’m sure you have not seen in a protein cheesecake before.
  3. The macros for this cheesecake are so freaking fantabulous, I had to quadruple check them this time because I found it so hard to believe.  Looking at the macros, you’d think it should be just rubbish.  It is the opposite of rubbish.  Manna from heaven, that’s what it is 🙂
  4. My mother hates cheesecake.  Perfect test subject.  Loves it.  This cheesecake can win over the cheesecake haters.  Trust me.
  5. Yuzu and wattle seeds are AMAZING.  Alone.  Together.  Yep.  Totally.

I’ll leave it there, shall I?

Some of you would be wondering what the hell is yuzu?

Or you might be thinking I hate yuzu / I can’t buy yuzu juice anywhere / I’m totally indifferent to yuzu and just don’t care.

Yuzu is a wonderful citrus fruit that has a lovely flavour reminiscent of lemons, mandarin and orange, possibly a tang of grapefruit.  It is sweeter than a lemon but still has a lovely astringent finish.  It originated in China but is widely used across Asia, especially in Korea and Japan.    I have not been able to source fresh yuzu fruit so I usually buy imported 100% yuzu juice, made from fresh fruit (not concentrate).    I highly recommend it.  In fact, I’ve used it in several recipes on this blog and many many more.  I love yuzu.  If you cannot find it, simply substitute fresh lemon juice or a combination of lemon and orange or mandarin juice in about a 3:1 ratio.  If you don’t like it, does this mean we cannot be friends anymore? 😉

The other ingredient is another I have used a few times here and many more times besides.  Beside my large stash of cinnamon that I barrel through at a rate of knots, is my trusty jar of ground wattle seeds, an Australian native seed.  Lightly roasted and ground, it has a wonderful aroma and flavour that has hints of hazelnut, coffee and chocolate.  It has to be a pretty perfect food because it’s also packed with nutrients and fibre.    You can buy wattle seed in specialty food shops and some supermarkets in Australia and online, if elsewhere.

Yuzu and wattleseed are a lovely flavour pairing.  Yuzu has a natural affinity for hazelnuts and dark chocolate … come to think of it, those three together are a particular favourite of mine.  It also goes really well with berries and summer stone fruit.  Don’t worry if you substitute lemon … the result will still be amazing.  It also goes rather well in this combination.

If you don’t have any wattle seeds handy and want to make this cheesecake now (of course you do!), it will also be fantastic with poppy seeds.

This is another dessert that you don’t have to make on the side because I can’t have the normal dessert everyone else is having.  When I make this cheesecake, everyone eats it because it’s just as good, if not better.  If you don’t care about making it healthy, feel free to use sugar in place of the stevia sweetener and a full-fat cottage or ricotta cheese along with a full-fat yoghurt or crème fraîche.  You will have yourself an amazing rich and luscious cheesecake.

Serve it with fresh berries, raspberries in particular, or stone fruit, mango, whatever.  Turn that fruit in to a fruit coulis and pour over the top.  Drizzle a little dark chocolate on top, if you like or some crushed roasted hazelnuts, or both.  It makes a great healthy dinner party dessert. 

Never ever make do when it comes to dessert.

On that note, let’s get to that cheesecake.

Wattleseed Yuzu Protein Cheesecake_5902_wm_4x5

Check out the macros.  Yes, they are indeed beyond awesome.  Total fluke, to be honest, but who’s complaining? 😉

Makes 1 x 20cm cheesecake (serves 8)

Ingredients

  • 500 grams low-fat cottage cheese
  • 250 grams thick non-fat Greek yoghurt (I used Chobani 0%)
  • 156 grams eggs (shelled weight, about 3 large)
  • 120 grams stevia blend sweetener (I used Natvia, or substitute your preferred sweetener)
  • 60 grams unflavoured micellar casein (I used Professional Whey)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest, finely zested
  • 80 millilitres 100% yuzu juice OR fresh lemon juice
  • 8 grams (2 teaspoons) ground wattle seeds

Substitutions:

  • You can substitute ricotta, quark, or cream cheese for the cottage cheese.  I prefer the cottage cheese as it gives a lovely light, creamy texture.  I think ricotta makes the best substitution, if you feel you must.
  • If you wish to use poppy seeds, substitute 10 grams of poppy seeds and omit the wattle seeds.
  • To substitute for the yuzu juice, use all lemon juice or a mix of 60mls lemon juice and 20mls orange or mandarin juice.
  • I used Chobani Greek yoghurt, which is especially high in protein and very thick.  If using a different Greek yoghurt, make sure it is thick or strain the yoghurt before using.  You will need about 375 grams of yoghurt to get about 250 grams of yoghurt after straining the liquid.
  • For a rich, indulgent cheesecake, substitute 125 grams sugar for the Natvia, and substitute equivalent quantities of full-fat ricotta or cream cheese for the cottage cheese and full-fat yoghurt or crème fraîche for the non-fat yoghurt.  The rest of the recipe remains the same.

Directions
Preheat the oven to 150℃.

Line a 20 centimetre springform tin with non-stick silicone paper or grease and dust with a little flour (wheat, oat, corn, as desired).  I prefer to line the tin with non-stick paper.  Set aside.

Place the cottage cheese in to the bowl of  a food processor and blend until smooth.  Add the remaining ingredients, except the wattle seeds, and process until smooth.  Add the wattle seeds (or poppy seeds) and pulse for a few seconds only to distribute.

Alternatively, blend the cottage cheese until smooth and transfer to the large bowl of a mixer.  Add the remaining ingredients and mix with the paddle attachment until the batter is smooth.

Transfer the cheesecake batter to the prepared tin and smooth the top.    Bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until set and starting to colour around the edges.  Switch off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven, with the door slightly ajar, for a further 20 to 30 minutes, to allow the cheesecake to settle.

Wattleseed Yuzu Protein Cheesecake_5881_wm_4x5

A lot of people get worked up about a slight crack on the surface of the cheesecake.  Seriously, I do not.  I’d probably get cranky if it domed or worse, fell, in the centre and cracked in a bid to erupt its contents as it baked.  But a small crack on a level smooth top?  I’m not that fussed.  I think it adds character. 🙂

Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.  Refrigerate for several hours, covered, before removing from the tin and serving.   It is best served chilled.  Serve with fresh berries or a berry coulis.  Raspberries are particularly lovely with this cheesecake as they match lemon, yuzu, and the wattleseed so well.  Mango would also be lovely and it goes without saying that a little dark chocolate grated on top or in a light chocolate sauce would be awesome.

Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to two to three days.

Wattleseed Yuzu Protein Cheesecake_5892_wm_1x1

Macronutrient Profile
The macros provided here relate to the recipe as stated above, for both the yuzu and lemon versions.  Substitutions of other ingredients will change the macros, ranging from a negligible amount (e.g. lemon juice instead of yuzu juice) or dramatically (e.g. using full-fat cream cheese instead of cottage cheese).

Yuzu Wattle Seed Protein Cheesecake_macros

Lemon Wattle Seed Protein Cheesecake_macros

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