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Greek Yogurt Cheese Cake with Mastiha Tzizkeik me Mastiha

This Greek-American hybrid is an easy cheesecake to make. The faintly bitter, earthy flavor of the mastiha, adds an exotic dimension. You can try using crumbled Greek melomakarona cookies, available in Greek stores or online, as a base, too.
SERVES 8

Ingredients

  • 1 ¾ cups crumbled graham cracker or cinnamon cookies speculosa
  • 3 tablespoons Ikarian or other Greek honey
  • 1 pound / 450 g cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon Mastiha crystals pounded with a teaspoon of sugar in a mortar with a pestle
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 cups Greek yogurt

Topping:

  • Choice of Greek spoon sweets such as bergamot, orange rind, or pistachio or Greek honey

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 190C/375F.
  2. Combine the crushed cookies and honey in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Press into the bottom and up the sides of a 22-cm (9-inch) spring-form pan. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, with the paddle attachment whip the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar and continue whisking.
  4. Next, add the egg whites, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the vanilla, Mastiha powder, and salt. Add the yogurt and mix to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until set. The filling will still look soft. Leave in the oven with the door ajar for one hour. Remove from oven and let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for one hour. Chill for a few hours until completely set.
  5. To serve: top with a Greek spoon sweet of choice or with a drizzling of Greek honey.