Greek Yogurt Spoon Sweets with a Cretan Ancient Grain Rusk Crust and Spoon Sweet Toppings


Forget Graham crackers in this delicious and light Greek recipe for cheesecake! I like to use traditional rusks, aka paximadia, made with ancient g rains such as barley or Zea wheat as my base. The yogurt gives this Greek recipe for cheesecake extra lightness and the spoon sweets make for an exotic, delicious topping.

Ingredients

  • 8 ancient barley or Zea wheat rusks
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • 1 17- ounce container plain full-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • Salt
  • 1 cup Greek spoon sweets such as Orange, Bergamot, Vyssino or Quince, drained and syrup reserved

Instructions

  1. Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 160°C. Coat a 9-inch spring-form pan with olive oil or butter. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan with a large piece of foil and place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Break apart the rusks by hand. In the bowl of a food processor, crush the rusks with the cinnamon and sugar. Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened. Press the crumbs into the bottom and about 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake until the crust is slightly dry in appearance, and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the yogurt, cream cheese, eggs, sugar, flour, vanilla, lemon and orange zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor and process until well blended and smooth. Pour over the prepared crust and bake until the center is just set, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  4. After chilling the cheesecake, remove the spring-form ring. Slice and serve, topped with the drained spoon sweets and drizzle with a little of the reserved syrup. Garnish with mint and cinnamon powder if desired.

Notes

If using any of the citrus spoon sweets, chop them after draining to make them easier to spoon over the cheesecake.

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