It’s hard to find a grain-free dessert that fits the “cake” category, but this is a good one. For this recipe I use grandma’s glass pie plate but one of the newer small ones would work too. The whole process is pretty forgiving.
We made this cheesecake as a “birthday cake” back on Frederick’s “half birthday” over three years ago. We celebrate half birthdays in this family because my sister and I were born 18 months apart and rather than breed birthday-envy among siblings, my parents developed the half birthday concept. And as far as I’m concerned, we should all have as many birthdays as possible.
The cheese part
Start with about a quart of yogurt (or a quart and a half or more for a thicker/taller cheese cake). I make my own and for this recipe I have used pasteurized milk because the yogurt firms up a bit better. (Some people will make raw milk yogurt and add rennet to it to help it firm up.) Alternatively, you can purchase the yogurt and go from there.
Line a colander with cheese cloth, add the yogurt to the colander. The whey in the yogurt will begin to drip through the cheese cloth and colander. Place a bowl under the colander to capture the whey. Let the yogurt drip overnight or until yogurt is a firm, solid cream cheese-like mass. Sweeten yogurt to taste. Maple syrup or honey work well. Put in refrigerator.
Place 2 ½ cups walnuts in a food processor. Process until fine.
Whip up two egg whites in mixer until stiff peaks form (you are making meringue here – egg whites will turn white and fluffy).
Sweeten whites with a couple tablespoons of sucanat sugar (or a sugar of your choice).
Mix whites with nuts and press into buttered pie plate.
Bake crust at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes. You will begin to smell the nuts roasting and sugar carmelizing. A lower temperature and longer cook time should work too.
Let crust cool
When crust is cool, add sweetened yogurt to crust and place cake in the refrigerator until the cream cheese sets up. (This will not take long if everything is already cool.)
More on dairy
If you are interested in dairy, you might want to read more here about
Recipes: Make your own dairy-based kefir; kefir shakes.
Dairy Politics: A Video Eulogy to an Organic Dairy; Tagging of a Milk is Milk Billboard
Grass Feeding and Milk Nutrients: Conjugated Linoleic Acid; Yellow Butter
Raw Milk: Possible Asthma Benefits of Raw Milk