The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Chocolate kefir cheesecake

Individual chocolate cheesecake

As our kefir grains expand, we have to culture more milk.  While growing a bud to send to my mother, I ended up with more kefir than we wanted to eat with our breakfast and decided to use the excess to make individual-serving chocolate kefir cheesecakes.  I decided to keep the recipe grain- and sugar-free, so I ditched the crust and came up with the recipe below for the filling:

  • 0.5 cups of strained kefir milk and cream.  (More on this below.)
  • 1 egg
  • scant 0.5 cups of cocoa
  • 0.25 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 0.25 cups of honey
  • strawberry freezer jam for the topping

Straining kefir
The first step was to strain the kefir to give it more of a cream-cheese consistency.  I had about a quarter of a cup of kefir sour cream leftover from another day's meal along with 0.75 cups of kefir made from whole milk, so I used both.  You could certainly just use kefir made from milk, although the result would be less decadent and probably a bit runnier.

To strain the kefir, I simply took out the grain and put it in a jar to start the next day's culture, then poured the rest of the kefir into a cloth napkin on top of a colander on top of a bowl.  Three hours later, quite a bit of clear whey had collected in the bowl.  I'm not sure what I'll do with this whey --- worst-case scenario, I'm sure the chickens will enjoy it.  The Greek-yogurt-like kefir that stays on top of the napkin is what you use for this recipe.

Cheesecake batter

Now preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit and beat all of the ingredients except the jam together.  Pour the batter into a greased muffin tin to make six mini cheesecakes, or into a 9-inch-square pan for one big cheesecake.  Bake for about 35 minutes until the top fluffs up and a knife in the center of one of the cheesecakes comes out nearly clean.  (You want the cakes to stay a little on the moist side, so I took them out about five minutes before I would have if they were normal cakes.)

Kefir chocolate cheesecake

Cool your cheesecakes, then top them with strawberry jam.  Although not precisely paleo, I think this decadent dessert is at least moderately healthy, and it's certainly delicious!  Plus, it would be pretty easy to source most of the ingredients on the farm.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Yum. Culturing kefir right now, as a change from the yogurt I was making. Yogurt probiotics only stay in your gut about 24 hours. Kefir will actually repopulate the gut, so it seems the bbetter choice. Plus it doesnt require electricity to warm it while fermenting.
Comment by Deb Thu Feb 20 00:40:45 2014
I've got mine in the oven right now. I didn't have the amount of cocoa powder you suggest, but I think they'll be good anyhow. :-)
Comment by Brandy Thu Feb 20 09:06:17 2014
Brandy --- You don't buy your cocoa by the 30 pound bag? How strange.... :-)
Comment by anna Thu Feb 20 10:34:41 2014
I know, strange. ;) It may come to that.
Comment by impossibleway [] Fri Feb 21 10:33:05 2014
My wife an I finally had time to try this today (we regularly culture our own Kefir products). It was fantastic! Definitely a keeper -- thanks for sharing.
Comment by David Forward Sat Feb 22 18:18:21 2014

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