This Valentines Day, make a creamy smooth cheesecake at home with own traditional Gajar Halwa and surprise your Valentine. Make ahead dessert and no baking or setting required. One bite into this is a explosion of many flavors and textures in mouth with sweetness of carrot halwa, creaminess of cheese, crumbliness of crust, and flavors of green cardamoms and rose water.
I adapted this recipe from sprice up the curry. There are so many interesting things about this cheesecake. Firstly, here we used mixture of cottage cheese (paneer) and hung yogurt (chakka) as a substitute for cream-cheese which is generally used in cheesecakes. Cottage cheese and hung yogurt when blended together gives creamy, smooth texture and slightly sour taste which is perfect for cheesecakes. Secondly, it is no bake and perfect for summer time. Thirdly, I didn’t use any gelatin or agar-agar here and it worked well. Gelatin or Agar-Agar is used to firm or hold up the creamy cheese mixture in no-bake versions. But omitting it gave a soft cheesecake and its fine as long as it is served chilled.
So, it is easy to make in Indian households with cottage cheese, yogurt and any halwa of your choice or fruit pulp. You can use any biscuits or cookies to make the crust. You can set it in transparent dessert cups which you can serve directly or in a circular spring form pan which you can demold easily. And this recipe makes one inch thin cheesecake to make a small portion size. So, do not let anything stop you from making this scrumptious dessert.
For Carrot Halwa:
Grated Carrots: 1.5 cups
Milk: 1/4 cup
Evaporated Milk: 1/4 cup
Melted Butter or Ghee: 2 tsp
Brown Sugar: 5 tbsp (Any sweetner)
Cardamom Powder: 1/2 tsp (Remove skin and use only seeds)
For Cheesecake Crust:
Digestive Biscuits/Graham Crackers: 10-12
Oil: 2 tbsp
For Cheese Mixture:
Hung Yogurt: 1 cup
Grated Paneer/Cottage Cheese: 2 cups
Condensed Milk: 1/2 cup (As required. I used less)
Rose Water: 2 tbsp
Pistachios: 2 tbsp, chopped
Line a 8X8″ square or circular dish with wax paper or foil .
Crush the biscuits or crackers to coarse powder in blender and add oil. The crumb mixture should hold shape when pressed with hand. Add more oil if required.
Press the crumb mixture evenly in the dish with any flat base and set it in refrigerator for at least 30 mins.
In a microwave safe bowl, add melted butter (or ghee), carrots and microwave on Hi for 2.5 minutes.
Add milk, evaporated milk, sugar, cardamom powder and microwave on high for 8-10 minutes and let stand still for 5 minutes. See that most of the milk is evaporated.
Meanwhile, in a blender, mix cottage cheese, hung yogurt, rose water and condensed milk to a smooth consistency. (I tried using sugar instead of condensed milk as shown in pictures but condensed milk gave better texture and creaminess too. Sugar dilutes the mixture so condensed milk is better option.)
Add prepared carrot halwa and blend again in short pulses to retain grainy texture of carrots.
Taste the carrot mixture and add more condensed milk if required.
Remove the crust from fridge and pour the mixture on it and set in refrigerator for minimum 6 hours or overnight. Before serving pop it into freezer for 15 minutes.
Lift the cheesecake with wax paper or foil and put it on the serving plate. To cut the cheesecake, dip the knife in hot water and use.
Serve with chopped pistachios on top.