The creamy consistency of Greek yogurt evokes dessert more convincingly than watery, non-Greek types. You may consider a carton of Greek yogurt a treat in itself. Yet it also works well as a cheesecake ingredient or as a parfait layered with cheesecake-like ingredients. Whether you want to use Greek yogurt to replace sour cream in a basic cheesecake recipe or simply to give your everyday yogurt a dessert quality, rely on some cheesecake baking techniques.
In standard cheesecakes, sugar and vanilla help balance the tartness of the sour cream or tart cottage cheese used in some versions. In the same way, these dessert basics can mellow the tartness of Greek yogurt. Use a drop or two of vanilla extract and a spoonful of sugar or honey for a single serving and more when making a yogurt cheesecake.
Use flavored cheesecakes as inspiration when dressing up your Greek yogurt. Middle-Eastern style cheesecakes, for example, blend rosewater into the filling. Autumnal-themed cheesecakes, on the other hand, include pumpkin puree, cloves, nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon. Some cheesecake makers swirl chunks of fruit not only into a syrupy topping, but also into the filling itself. Add small amounts of these types of ingredients in a goblet of Greek yogurt or more for a Greek yogurt cheesecake.
A dollop of topping spooned over Greek yogurt or a slice of yogurt-based dessert underscore the cheesecake associations you may have blended into the yogurt itself. Toppings can be as simple as fresh fruit or strawberry or raspberry jam. On the other hand, you can underscore the flavored “cheesecake” ingredients by spooning fig-pistachio syrup, bourbon-caramel sauce or tropical fruit coulis over the yogurt base.
If your idea of the perfect cheesecake is one that has pronounced tartness, use lemon juice to ramp up the tang factor. Because Greek yogurt is often as tangy as sour cream, the lemon juice is the only missing ingredient in a tart Greek yogurt cheesecake. Blend a couple of spoonfuls of freshly squeezed lemon juice into a yogurt cheesecake recipe, or use a few drops from a lemon wedge for a single serving. Lemon zest underscores the citrus brightness when grated over a fruit topping.
If you’re making a cheesecake parfait using Greek yogurt, consider swirling in a layer or two of graham cracker crumbs. Graham crackers are the standard ingredients for traditional cheesecakes. Crumb layers in a yogurt parfait not only add crunch to the dessert, but also evoke classic cheesecake. The crumbs can also be sprinkled over a fruity topping, much the same way nuts are the finishing touch of an ice cream parfait.
Adding dessert-like flavorings may be all you need to transform a serving of Greek yogurt into something more like cheesecake. However, if you’re making an actual dessert, altering yogurt’s texture by mixing in other ingredients helps create traditional cheesecake feel. A blend of yogurt with an equal amount of cream cheese and a small amount of gelatin will give the dessert extra creaminess and firmness.
References and ResourcesBon Appetit: Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup
Cooking Light: Sheep's-Milk Yogurt Cheesecakes with Grilled Figs and Pistachios
Epicurious: Spiced Pumpkin Cheesecake with Caramel-Bourbon Sauce
Fine Cooking: Greek Yogurt
Fine Cooking: New York-Style Cheesecake
Serious Eats: We Try Every Cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory