Two weeks back a conversation with myself went like this :
“I want to eat cheesecake”
“Then bake one!”
“I do not have mascarpone cheese on hand” 😦
“Then make it! You know how to make it right? Then whats the big deal?”
“I know but it will take two days to make and I want to eat the cheesecake now” 😦 😦
“Oh….ummm you have anything that you “think” can be used as a substitute?”
“I have condensed milk sitting in my cupboard for ages but still within expiry date, and I have some light cream and cottage cheese..I dont know how having these things is going to help me bake a cheesecake”
“Hmmmm….may be you could set it with gelatin…or agar agar…may be….you can try…..”
“I have heard of no-bake cheesecakes which use mascarpone cheese and cream and gelatin but I dont have mascarpone..I told you”
“But you have agar-agar and if that can set mascarpone, probably it can set condensed milk too…you can try…”
And thats what I did…I tried…..I had some mangoes in refrigerator and I got adventurous…and I am so glad that I did.
So though, it is not “the” cheesecake in typical terms since it has doesn’t have mascarpone, but its not a poor cousin either just because it has cottage cheese because it totally satisfied my cheesecake cravings that day.
No-Bake Mango Cheesecake:
Note: Agar-agar is a little tricky to work with. If you have strands instead of powder, make sure to shear them really small before boiling, else it will take much longer to dissolve. Also, agar-agar has to be added while it is still hot, and so the mixture to which it is being added should be hot enough else it will lead to curdling of the mixture and the cheesecake will be interspersed with unpleasant chewy bits.
For the base:
- Digestive biscuits – 200 gms,
- Butter – 60 gms, melted and cooled
For the Cheesecake:
- Finely grated cottage cheese – 200 gms
- Condensed milk – 400 ml
- Fresh cream – 200 ml
- Mangoes – 400 gms, chopped
- Agar-agar – 6 tablespoons, finely chopped
- Water – 1/2 cup
- Butter the base and sides of an 8 inch spring form pan. Process digestive biscuits in food processor in short pulses till it resembles like bread crumbs. Add cooled, melted butter to it and mix well.
- Spread it evenly at the base of the pan and allow it to set in freezer for about 20 minutes.
- Place the grated cottage cheese and condensed milk in the bowl of food processor and grind it on high speed for couple of minutes until it has pureed really well and smooth. Add the mixture to a bowl and mix together with the fresh cream.
- Puree mangoes into a smooth paste. Heat it gently in a heavy bottomed sauce pan until it is just hot. Excess heat changes the flavor of fruits. So be careful.
- Mix agar-agar with hot water and boil this mixture over medium heat with regular stirring. Once the mixture resembles clear glue, turn the flame off.
- Add the melted agar-agar mixture into the warm mango mixture and mix well until combined.
- Now add the mango mixture into the cottage cheese mixture and mix well. Tap the bowl several times to release any air bubbles. Pour the mixture into the chilled pan lined with biscuit base. Refrigerate overnight.