Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Unbelievably Easy Eggless Yogurt Cheesecake! 4 Ingredients, No Fail (Video Recipe)

So you have yawned your way through all those videos, posts and manuals about ovens, those tins, tools, ingredients. You got your oven. Now you just can't wait to bake in it! 

Who in their right minds wouldn't love an impossibly easy recipe which also gives delectable results as the first ever bake? Take it as just saying hello to your oven and actually doing all that preheating stuff blah, blah. No great list of ingredients, no fussy weighing, preparing pans, no nerve-racking tricky techniques. The best thing - this will be all done in 15 minutes flat. You can style the dessert and serve it feeling very Mastercheffy( I know there is no such word!). Then sit back and enjoy the compliments.

So let us call this the Unbelievably Easy Cheesecake with just 3-4 ingredients, no eggs. This may not be the 'real' cheesecake, but it is called one and tastes pretty good. You can play around with the recipe, flavor it as you please. This is a recipe everyone must know, as a dessert emergency knows no novice and veteran!

Watch the video! 

Unbelievably Easy Yogurt Cheesecake. Based on Tarla Dalal's recipe. You can also watch my 90-second video of the recipe.
Condensed milk - 3/4 cup/180ml (I have used Amul Mithaimate)
Full fat yogurt - 1 cup / 240 ml ( I have used Nestle A plus, do not use low fat)
Cornflour / cornstarch - 1 tablespoon
Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon
Flavor variations - Stir into the cheesecake mixture 1 tablespoon thick strawberry puree/plum puree, orange/lime zest, saffron, cardamom, vanilla bean. Make sure the consistency of the mixture doesn't get diluted by the addition of the fruit puree or sauce. Serve it with a sauce which complements the flavor of the cheesecake.
  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F. 
  • Place 4 small 120 ml/ 1/2 cup capacity tart tins( or 1 large tart tin) on a baking tray. Do not use tins with loose/removable bottoms. There is no need to grease or line the tins with baking parchment. 
  • Placing the tin on a tray makes it easier to keep in and remove the cheesecake out of the oven.
  • Whisk together the condensed milk, yogurt, cornflour and vanilla extract, ensuring there are no lumps.
  • Pour the cheesecake mixture into the tin up to till it reaches 3/4 way up.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheesecake sets gently. If you touch the center of the cheesecake, it should feel firm and not liquidy at all. It will rise only slightly in the oven and settle down again.
  • The baking time will vary if you would be using a tin of a different size. Do not overbake.
  • Remove the cheesecake from the oven. Place the cheesecake tins on a cooling rack, cool completely
  • Cover the cheesecake(still in the tin) with clingfilm and chill for at least 3-4 hours or overnight.Run a sharp knife around the edges of the cheesecake. Invert on a serving plate and tap to release it.
  • The baked cheesecake can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 days. Go out for the strawberries and prepare the sauce while the cheesecake is chilling.

Strawberry Sauce
10-12 strawberries
Sugar - 3-4 tablespoons or as needed

  • Wash and hull the berries, chop them roughly. Take the berries and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Cook on low heat till they are mushy, about 5 minutes. Keep stirring in between. Smash with a fork. Add a tablespoon of water or so if needed. Cool and refrigerate.

Mango Rum Sauce. Adapted from David Lebovitz
Mangoes - 250 gms, peeled, pitted and cubed 
Water - 1 tablespoon
Sugar - 2 to 4 tablespoons 
Rum - 2 teaspoons
Freshly squeezed lime juice - 2 teaspoons
Blitz together all the ingredients, add more sugar/water to adjust the taste and consistency.

Serve the cheesecake topped with fresh strawberry /mango-rum/plum/cherry sauce. Be sure to have more sauce to pass around later. 

That is it! I can't think of a simpler recipe for anyone to try as the first bake. So if you have that can of condensed milk and yogurt, try this soon! And yes, please do leave your comments for me. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

How To Preheat A Convection Microwave(Video Post) | Oven Series | Baking For Beginners

Most recipes in baking begin with instructions to pre-heat your oven, a very important step. I have written about this in brief in my post How To Use A Convection Microwave. A little more in detail about pre-heating a convection microwave in this post. You can also watch my video on preheating(above).

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Whenever we bake anything, before we keep the batter in to bake, we need to bring the microwave to the temperature specified in the recipe. This is called as pre-heating. This is an important step and the first thing you do even before you start mixing your batter. We want the oven hot and ready so that the tin with the cake/brownie batter can go in without any delay. Never keep the cake or brownie batter waiting as it can alter the texture.

But remember to follow recipe instructions always as there may be a few exceptions.  Some cookies and pie crusts can be baked soon after the dough is mixed. Sometimes you may need to chill the cookie/pie dough before rolling and baking. 

Oven Thermometer: When we talk about pre-heating and oven temperatures, I must definitely mention an oven thermometer. This helps you cross-check the temperature inside the oven. Ovens can sometimes act funny. You set it at 180, the actual temperature may be 200C ! So you may end up ruining your bakes. Get yourself one of a reliable brand, you can buy online, do read reviews from other users.  Of course, all of these things are better purchased on if someone can carry it for you.

Oven Thermometer Brands I use one by Taylor. Rose Levy Beranbaum, renowned baker and author recommends infrared or point and shoot thermometers. She uses a laboratory cable thermometer from Omega ( model HH22).These thermometers are sophisticated, accurate and yes expensive too! No harm in checking it out and putting it on your wish list though!

So here is how I pre-heat my LG convection microwave (MC 8040NSR), please take this as a general guide. Of course, to know how to pre-heat your microwave of a different brand and model, you would need to refer that boring manual to see how you pre-heat it. If you can't find it as it happens often, look for it online. 

Preheating Time Microwaves usually take about 5 minutes to pre-heat, so I have the luxury of waiting till my batter is almost ready. But safer not to. I tend to forget once I get involved in the mixing process, so I start pre-heating ahead. If you are not as forgetful as me, by all means, wait until you have 5 minutes to go before the batter gets ready.

How-To Preheat (Finally!): To pre-heat, we will first need to keep the short rack inside. We need to keep the oven thermometer on the rack and put the microwave in convection mode. By default, the microwave will set at 180C. If you want to increase the temperature, keep pressing the same button. It will keep increasing by 10 degrees every time you press until it reaches 250C. That is the maximum in my microwave, I wish it went up higher, would be great for making pizza from scratch.

Then press start. Now the turntable will start rotating. When the oven reaches 180 C it will display the temperature on the panel and sound a beep too. The oven will stay on(at 180C in this example) for about 20-30 minutes. In case you do not put something in and set the timer, it will get switched off after 20-30 minutes.  If that happens as it sometimes does, you will need to preheat again.

Normally in my microwave, the temperature on the thermometer and the panel match and I have no serious complaints about the way things bake in it. Touchwood!  If there is a lot of variation between the temperature you set and the temperature the thermometer displays, and your bakes are not turning out properly, please get your oven checked by a qualified technician. 

Once you hear the beep, quickly remove the oven thermometer( as there isn't enough space to keep it on the rack along with the baking tin). Make sure the rack is in the center of the glass turntable and steady. Keep your baking tray in, set the timer as needed and press the Start button.

One great thing about convection microwaves is it takes very little time to pre-heat. About 5 minutes to pre-heat to the maximum temperature of 250C.  Once you turn the oven off, you can hear the sound of the oven cooling.

Assume your recipe specifies 'bake 30 minutes at 180 C'. You set the timer for 30 minutes and remove the cake, you find that it needs a few minutes more. So, if you have just removed it from the oven just a few seconds earlier, immediately put it back in, set the temperature and the timer for say 5 minutes and press start. I don't find the need to pre-heat all over again. If the oven is turned off, be sure to put the oven back in convection mode, and then set the temperature and the timer.

But if has already been a couple of minutes, the oven will have started cooling( you can hear the fan). You will need to pre-heat again and bake as needed. Check how your oven works, how long it maintains the temperature once it is turned off and you will get a better idea. 

If you would be baking multiple trays of cookies, try to keep next tray ready before the one inside the oven comes out.  If in doubt, pre-heating the oven again is a safe bet. 

So this was about pre-heating, here are a few more videos about ovens you may like to watch. 

How To Use A Convection Microwave. 

Compare  A Convection Microwave And OTG

Please share these videos if you find them helpful, it will help me in reaching out to more people! And of course, do not forget to subscribe to my channel for more videos!