Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Light Apricot Cheesecake

Yesterday was Abah's birthday and few days back was Umi's. So happy birthday to you both! May your lives will be filled with joy and laughter! :)

My sister and I were tired of thinking of what to bake for them (every year we would make them something and I guess this year was the simplest). Since I bake almost every day, now that I am still having my break, I ran out of ideas. We ate everything, I mean everything that we felt like eating. So when their birthdays came, we just couldn't think of any recipes. I asked Umi what she wanted and she said she only wanted a trifle. So that was what I made her, a dark chocolate cake layered with softly whipped cream and strawberries. It was simple yet very delicious!

When Abah's birthday came a few days later (which was yesterday), again, I asked Abah what he wanted. Does he want a cake or pudding or anything? 
And then he said, "a cheesecake, a New York Cheesecake!"
I was like, "you want a New York Cheesecake? Are you sure? That's a very dense cake." I have never baked New York Cheesecake but I know that we are going to have a hard time finishing the cake, because that's what always happen when we buy this kind of cheesecake from Secret Recipe.
Then he changed his mind and said he wanted something light and not very cheesy.

I then started thinking about the Japanese Cheesecake but that would be too simple for his birthday - or so I thought. So I decided to make this light apricot cheesecake, inspired by my grandmother's cake that she baked last Eid. She did tell me the recipe for her cake but I couldn't remember it. All I know is that she boiled the dried apricots before turning them into puree. However, I didn't bother doing that, so I just blend it with some milk and greek yogurt. 

I tweaked this recipe and made use of what I have. I didn't have sour cream so I just used greek yogurt instead. And I did change the measurements because I wanted to add the apricots. In this recipe, I used dried apricots which we bought when we went for Umrah the other day. I am not very sure whether fresh apricots could be used or not. Perhaps, it needs to be a very ripe one. 

Recipe (Light Apricot Cheesecake) :


  • 120g biscuits (I used Speculoos), crushed
  • 3 tbsp melted butter

1. Prepare a 9-inch springform pan.
2. Mix the butter and biscuits together. Press onto the base of the pan. Refrigerate.

  • 250g cream cheese, softened
  • 120g dried apricots, cut into smaller pieces
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 2/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 3 egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 160C. Pour some water in a pan to be put onto the lower rack of the oven which will help to prevent cracks in the cake.
2. Blend the apricots together with the milk and greek yogurt. Set aside. I was left with little chunks of apricots, and I like it that way.
3. Beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup caster sugar and vanilla. Beat the egg yolks, cornflour and the mixture of apricot yogurt. Set aside.
4. In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites with 1 tbsp sugar until stiff peaks. 
5. Fold in the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture.
6. Pour over the crust in the springform pan. Put the pan in the middle rack of the oven. 
7. Bake for 40 minutes and let it cool in the oven (door closed) for one hour.
8. Then, let it stay in the oven with the door slightly ajar until it has cooled completely.
9. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Herbed Focaccia with Sauteed Mushrooms and Caramelized Onions

Focaccia is a very versatile Italian flat-bread. I think it is quite similar to pizza but somehow they are not considered as one. This bread is very easy to make and can be made at any time of the day as it takes less than an hour to get it ready on the table.

Since Umi is feeling like eating bread and I seriously have no idea what bread to bake her, so I thought why not make her this. It's easy, fast and delicious too. :D

Any kind of toppings would be good on focaccia, if you're not planning to turn them into sandwich bread. Sometimes I would put some meat on with carrots and tomatoes. But today I decided to do something simple. Caramelized the onions, sauteed some mushrooms, grated some mozzarella cheese and Voila! A bread is made under an hour! Life just couldn't get any simpler than this. :)

Recipe (Herbed Focaccia) :


  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar
  • 1 tbsp yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • sauteed mushrooms
  • caramelized onions
  • mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 230C.
2. Put everything into a bowl except for caramelized onions, cheese and mushrooms. Knead until the dough is soft and elastic.
3. Leave to proof for 20 minutes. Then knock the air out of the dough and pat it into a triangle. 
4. Brush with olive oil and put the toppings of your choice. Bake for 15 minutes.