I’m gonna say it. I’m not a fan of substitutions. For example, you know those lil’ break-out boxes in those terrible women’s magazines you pick up to read on the plane sometimes? They kill me. ‘Want a handful of m & m’s? Substitute….a handful of sultanas. Want a slice of pepperoni pizza? Substitute ¼ of a piece of mountain bread with low fat cheese and a slice of lite ham. Profriterole? Granny smith apple. These are not substitutions, any more than a frozen banana put through the blender is ice cream.

Even things that are similar are not. the. same. Brown rice may be a replacement for jasmine rice, but they are different in many ways. Brown rice doesn’t have the heavenly scent, soft texture and marry with south-east Asian food in a perfect union the way jasmine does. A glass of rice milk is nothing like a frosty glass of full-cream Jersey goodness. Cocoa nibs are not as delicious as a hunk of proper chocolate. And nothing, NOTHING is a substitute for butter, I don’t care what anyone says.

The folks out there telling you that they are sooo looking forward to that second plate of kale chips? Trust me, they’re not. And if you *are* looking forward to these kale-y snacks, please don’t call them chips. Call them dehydrated kale chunks and be done with it. If you’re looking forward to your quinoa salad, by all means look forward to it, but *as* a quinoa salad, not as a substitute for prawn risotto with lashings of parmesan. They’re not even in the same league.

So. I want to eat some cheesecake this week. And even though I still have a few kilos I would like to lose, I am going to have some. This is my actual cheesecake recipe, and it is actually a cheesecake. It doesn’t have a crust, but in all other respects, it is what it appears to be. The secret to making it ‘healthy’, whatever that means, is portion size. Make this into 6 tiny cheesecakes. Oh, and it’s piss-easy. So get baking.

Lau’s tiny baked cheesecakes for non-crazy people

This recipe serves 6 and is best made a day ahead.

250g cream cheese (room temperature)
2 eggs (room temperature)
1/3 cup caster sugar
The juice of one lime or lemon
The zest of one lime or lemon, grated
1 cup of appropriate fruit – I used frozen blueberries

Preheat oven to 150°c. Beat the cream cheese, sugar and zest together until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until well incorporated. Add the juice and beat for about 30 seconds. Split mixture between 6 individual ovenproof dishes and sprinkle with fruit chunks.

Boil a kettle. Place the six dishes into a large baking tray and fill the tray with boiling water to halfway up the outside of the dishes.

Bake for 35 minutes, turn off the oven and leave to cool with the door ajar. Remove from oven and, once cool, refrigerate 3+ hours (I made them a day ahead and we ate them over the course of a week).

Whaddya say, chums? Got any legit substitution suggestions?

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15 Responses to Would you like a rant with your cheesecake?

  1. Great idea, Lau. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    I find lemon water a good sub for soft drinks, but easy since I don’t like soft drinks much. On other drinks, I’ve completed subbed out vodka for gin, and life is good!
    Tina@foodboozeshoes recently posted…Australia’s Longest Reserve Table by Jacob’s Creek

  2. You need to be editor at large at one of those magazines. You’d rock.
    john@heneedsfood recently posted…Bagel Boy Cafe | the reuben list

  3. I recently put a cheesecake recipe on my blog too, we must have the same cravings :)

    I say eat everything in moderation, there is no substitute for life!

  4. Feel like bacon? Substitute with a kilo of prosciutto or just get into a massive pork knuckle covered in crackling. Craving gone!
    Helen (Grab Your Fork) recently posted…Animal Restaurant, Los Angeles

  5. milkteaxx says:

    love this post!i have a few kilos to lose too but ill still enjoy eating the actual thing rather han being miserable and unsatisfied over a substitute of it!
    milkteaxx recently posted…The famous NY times no-knead bread

  6. thesuzchef says:

    Sultanas will NEVER be a substitute for M&M’s – I’d rather poke my eyes out with a toothpick!

    I don’t believe in substitutions either… I recently had to manage my sugar intake (damn gestational diabetes) and in my desperation tried sugar free chocolate. PATHETIC. One bite and I spat it out. I’d rather go without than accept a substitution!

    Cheesecake looks fabulous. Now I want some. Lucky I can eat sugar again! :-)
    thesuzchef recently posted…Foodie friends!

  7. Trisha says:

    I hear ya! Everything in moderation and portion sizes. Life’s too short, have that chocolate, or ice cream, or full milk with your coffee. Oh and this cheesecake looks delicious, I may have to take my ramekins out for a spin!
    Trisha recently posted…Mr J’s Sunday Steak & Veggies

  8. There are some substitutions I think work (like replacing eggs with mashed banana in muffins to make them vegan friendly for example) but I completely agree that you can’t say just swap M&Ms with raisins and expect people to buy that! I’m all for educating people about their food choices but at the end of the day all things in moderation should work for most people!
    Liz @ I Spy Plum Pie recently posted…Spotlight On: Pana Chocolate

  9. All true. Though sometimes I wish I had a better sense of what local fishes work well when I’m looking at recipes from the N Hemisphere.
    Prick With A Fork recently posted…Drinking Problem

    • I know what you mean. Substitutions in recipes to account for availability of ingredients, while they may not always work, are a good idea. But I hate poor substitutions for the sake of it…

  10. Bahahaha. It’s so true.. Substitutions DO suck but when I’m trying to lose a couple stubborn kgs I can hear my brain echoing all those sentiments above in an attempt to be “healthy”. lol. There should be reverse subsitutions, like – feel like a piece of mountain bread with ricotta.. why?? Pizza is so much better! this will always be true. mountain bread < pizza
    Christine @ Cooking Crusade recently posted…Mooberry, Newtown

  11. Amy says:

    You put a smile on my face this morning… thank you:)

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