Recipe: Sugar-free Cheesecake with Raspberry Compote

Easy as pie. Craving satisfied... again. 
Unfortunately, this is the only photo I have of this dessert. I was in such a hurry to make it and with equally the same amount of hurry to dig in to it when it finally cooled. Good thing I even thought of taking a photo before devouring it completely. I'm primarily on a low-carb diet and just save all my carb cravings for the weekend (which generally starts on Friday dinners). I'm a sucker for sweet endings - specifically chocolate. But sometimes, a craving hits and it's something tart and creamy.

If you want to read more about my eating habits (the one that's really worked for me), I've put more detail in my other entries, Cauliflower Cheesy Garlic Bread and Salted Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups which are both low-carb, keto friendly, and sugar-free. I generally try to keep my carbs on the down-low on weekdays and then go crazy in the weekends. I also don't fancy fruit so much because it does have a lot of sugar so I keep to low-sugar fruits like avocados and watermelons but really, more on the berries side of the grocery isle (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries). Of course, if I found myself in a party or social situation, I won't turn regular carbs down. I just realized in 2016 that if I lost some weight, it would definitely help relieve some pressure off my back. 

So here I was in the middle of the week wishing I had picked up another pack of sugar-free strawberry Snack Packs after having finished the last container. I panicked to what I was going to have the next day. I didn't have enough chocolate, I didn't want to run out to the grocery either, so I just scrummaged through what I had in my pantry and fridge. Tadah!!! Cream cheese and almond flour. Easy - cheesecake time. When I opened my freezer? Tadah again!!! Frozen raspberries. So I left the cream cheese out to thaw and after an hour, I was ready to whip this up. And it's easy as pie. 

When you have something rich like a cream cheese-based dessert, you'll most probably want something tart to cut the taste and richness. That's why I opted for a compote (whole fruits simmered in a syrup), a raspberry one. You can definitely just eat this cheesecake plain - it will still hit your craving spot. (Side note - I could definitely eat a Junior's original cheesecake on its own... with no added topping and NO help whatsoever. Now I want one! Do they deliver???)

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Sugar-free Cheesecake with Raspberry Compote
I was able to make this in my square Pyrex dish but if you wanted to use a circular cake pan or a springform pan, you can definitely use that instead. Or another option would make little cheesecake cups, use your cupcake/muffin pan instead. This way, you can portion control it too (but that didn't cross my mind at all because I wanted a good helping of this).

You'll need a square Pyrex dish (8x8 or 9x9, this will just be a tad thinner), your hand mixer, a spatula, some mixing bowls, a sauce pot, and a blender (optional). 

Ingredients
For the almond shortbread:
1 cup almond flour
2 Tbsp Stevia (or any other sweetener or sugar replacement)
3 Tbsp butter, unsalted, melted

For the cheesecake:
2 cream cheese bars (16 oz total, softened)
1/2 cup Stevia (or any other sweetener or sugar replacement)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (you can replace this with sour cream but not buttermilk, you want the structure of the yogurt or the sour cream)
2 eggs, large, room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For the raspberry compote:
1 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Stevia (or any other sweetener or sugar replacement)

Procedure
1. Preheat your oven to 350℉. (If you decided to use a springform pan, line the sides with parchment paper so it's easier to peel off later. You can do that now.)
2. To make the almond shortbread - In a bowl, melt the butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. In the same bowl, add the almond flour and sugar replacement and mix all together. Transfer to the baking dish and fresh firmly to the bottom. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let this cool completely. Lower the temperature to 300℉.
3. To make the cheesecake batter - In a large bowl and using your hand mixer set to medium, beat the cream cheese and Stevia until light and fluffy. Add the Greek yogurt and vanilla, and continue to mix until no more lumps. Add one egg at a time. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl while mixing so everything is well-incorporated.
4. Transfer the batter to the shortbread crust and tap the dish lightly on the counter just so the batter settles at the bottom and it removes the air bubbles. Place this in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Once done, let this cool at room temperature for about 1 hour and chill for another 2 hours to set.
5. To make the raspberry compote - In a saucepan, combine the frozen raspberries, Stevia, and water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a slow simmer and stir to make sure there are no lumps. Once this thickens, turn off the heat and let this cool completely. Optional: you can let this blitz in the blender for a finer consistency, almost like a coulis (a thin fruit- or vegetable-based sauce that's pureed or strained). Store this in the chiller.
6. Once the cheesecake has completely cooled, you have two options.... (1) spread an even layer of the compote on top of the whole cheesecake; or (2) generously layer a spoonful of the compote on each slice as you serve.
7. ENJOY!!!!

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*When making a compote, you can definitely choose any other fruit like peaches, mangoes, blueberries, etc. I just prefer raspberries and honestly.... it's because I found I had these in my freezer. So go ahead and make your own version and go nuts!

**Since this is a sugar-free version (low-carb and even keto-friendly), you can convert this to a regular cheesecake. Just replace the sweetener with regular granulated sugar for all components - shortbread crust, cheesecake batter, and the compote.

***Another version of this cheesecake on a regular sugar level, you can add melted white chocolate while beating the batter right before you add the yogurt or sour cream. You can add about 1/2 melted white chocolate and you'll have a much richer, a silkier end product. You can also serve this with a a caramel topping - now this will be super decadent. Make a salted caramel topping too while you're at it! Actually, grill some peaches, layer on top, then drizzle some salted caramel and even toast some walnuts on top!!! Dear gosh! I've created an avalanche of flavours just thinking and typing! SOMEONE STOP ME!!!



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