Though we don't really celebrate this festival with much grandeur at home, over years we've made sure that atleast a traditional sweet dish accompanies our regular lunch course, in a way saying that we did celebrate the festival in a small way :) From the time I have taken over my kitchen, what I love cooking during Sankranthi is two versions of Pongal, the sweet and the spicy one. While I have a huge inclination for the spicy version, which I like to make often apart from the festival itself, the sweeter version is more popular with my husband. It renders him some sweet memories of his childhood.
Ideally on this day, what you would probably expect from me is a post on traditional recipe here. Unfortunately, it's been a hectic day for me and I have been unable to take pictures of what was cooking in my kitchen today :( To begin the day with, it was Kharabath for our breakfast, followed by Gajar ka halwa and Sweet Pongal. I've had a busy day apart from just being in the kitchen, but I promise that I will definitely post my recipes for this in the future posts... though I know they wouldn't be as apt for the day today. But for the day, I have an Eggless Mango Cheesecake to offer you which I made a week ago.
Eggless Mango Cheesecake
For the Base:
100 gm digestive biscuits (I used Fruit and Nut Biscuits here)
50 gm melted butter
100 ml 25% fat cream
150 ml mango flavored thick yogurt (I used Amul's Aam Srikhand)
50 gm cottage cheese
4 tbsp castor sugar (or to taste)
1 tbsp agar agar / gelatin
1 tsp vanilla essence
Strawberry slices for garnish
Line the sides of a cake tin with a cling film such that extra portions of it hang out. In case you are using a spring form pan, this step may not be required.
For the biscuit base: Put the biscuits into a ziplock bag & crush them to fine powder with the help of a rolling pin. You may also powder the biscuits in a mixie or food processor. I used Fruit and Nut biscuits for a better crunch. Remove and add in the melted butter and mix them well. Press this mixture into the base of a spring form pan or a lined cake tin. Chill this base for 30 minutes.
Pulse the cottage cheese to a fine puree along with 75 ml of the milk cream and vanilla. Whip enough to give it volume. Add in thick mango flavored yogurt. I made a cheat version by using Amul's Aam Srikhand which saves a lot of time and has a considerable thickness too. Add castor sugar to taste.
Dissolve a tablespoon of agar agar in the remaining 25 ml of cream and bring it to a boil. When the flakes dissolve, add this to the above cheesecake mix and give a final vigorous pulse so that all the ingredients are well combined. Transfer this mixture to the prepared biscuit base. Pat the tin gently to remove any air bubble that may have formed. Refrigerate the cheesecake to set for atleast 4-6 hours. Leave it in the refrigerator overnight or for atleast 6 hrs. Before serving, allow it to sit on the counter for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh mango slices. I garnished mine with strawberry slices as mango is not in season.
Note: If you don't get Amul Srikhand at hand, pulse thick yogurt like Greek yogurt with thick mango puree till it's homogeneous. Add in desired amount to sugar if using Greek yogurt since Srikhand has sugar added in it .
You can make thick yogurt at home by hanging the homemade curd in a clean muslin/thin cotton cloth and leaving it hung overnight in the refrigerator over a large empty bowl which can accommodate the running liquid out of the curd.
I have a spring form tin at hand now, but despite this I preferred to use my smaller round cake tin for this purpose. With just 2 of us, a 9" inch pan would mean a large amount of cake and we surely didn't want any overdose! The yogurt rendered a nice tart which we loved. Mango flavor is light. The cheesecake set beautifully and turned out creamy and delicious. I would love to make this cheesecake again in future when fresh mangoes rock the summers.