Eggless Paneer & Date No-bake 'Cheesecake'

 “A cheesecake in sight

Works every date-night
She takes a bite
It’s creamy yet light
Low-fat with no impact
But taste is oh so intact
She smiles, ‘what’s this?’
Her eyes light up in bliss
‘Special treat for you
With help of a blog or two’
She wants to tell her best friend
That she just tasted a new trend
Impressed, yes she is
And plants you with a willing kiss..”

The inspiration for this dessert comes from my friend's mum. 

A few years ago I had gone to visit her in Delhi. In between polite hellos, old stories, an overactive labrador and food hospitality, I found myself piling on slices of a creamy strawberry cheesecake, that I later discovered was 'cheese-free'. Even the dog was tamed by the look of it and sat by my feet in hope of a bite. Oh! how impressed I was! Cheesecake without cream cheese - now that's a real diet. I expressed my amazement, asked for the recipe, never took it, continued talking and finally said goodbye. 

A year later, on a night of sugar cravings, I asked my friend to get the recipe for me. Which she did. And then it lay archived in my mailbox for another year. But just as wine ages with time, so did the idea of using that recipe. I wanted to adapt it a little, and couldn't decide how. It was only after I discovered my love for the British classic, Sticky Toffee Pudding, that I realized the potential of dates in desserts. That's it. I had my inspiration. And an a recipe. So all that needed to be done was to put it to test. And so I did.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you a sugar-free, cream-cheese free and eggless cheesecake. Cooking is man-made magic, and this is testimony to it.

Fresh home-made Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) from 1 lt whole milk (method HERE)
½ cup fresh cream
1 ½ cups pitted dates, cut into pieces
½ cup whole milk
8 butter cookies (or any kind you have at home)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 packet (approx 0.25 oz) gelatin
1 teaspoon maple syrup
½ cup boiling water

Check my EVENTS page to see how you can taste one of my creations!

Mix the gelatin and water and keep aside till the gelatin has completely dissolved.

Crush the cookies and combine with melted butter. Press at the bottom of a cheesecake pan or muffin tray, and bake at 400 F for 5-7 minutes, till the biscuits begin to brown. Cool in a refrigerator and keep aside.

Blend the paneer, cream, maple syrup, dates and milk together till it turns into a thick and smooth mixture (some chunks of dates may remain and that's perfectly alright!). Stir in the gelatin and mix well. Pour the mixture on top of the cookie crust prepared earlier, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours till set. Serve chilled.