Pastry chef shares a simple back-to-school cheesecake recipe

Filipinos simply love desserts. That is why almost all local restaurants include a few or several dessert entries in their menus to satisfy cravings for sweets of their customers.

However, consumption of too much sugar is becoming a rampant health issue as the number of diabetes and obesity cases continues to increase across the country.

In an effort to keep on pleasing every Filipino’s sweet tooth, nutritionists and chefs are now turning to various alternative sweeteners, which do not contain much sugar despite still providing the sweetness required in dishes. California raisins are among those healthier options that can be used as substitute for commercially available sugar.

“California raisins are fat- and cholesterol-free, low in sodium, and naturally sweet with no added sugar,” said Richard Lieu, Trade Promotions Director (Southeast Asia) of the Raisin Administrative Committee. “California raisins are versatile enough to be added as natural sweeteners to various recipes that children can take as baon’s for school.”

Raisin Administrative Committee Trade Promotions Director Richard Lieu and pastry chef Jackie Ang Po

Chef Jackie Ang Po, head chef and owner of Fleur de Lys Patisserie, agrees with Lieu. “California raisins can be used in various recipes, especially those that require sweeteners,” she said. “In fact, raisins can be staples in various back-to-school recipes that would still please kids and entice them to enjoy their packed meals.”

Now that numerous parents are preparing to send their children back to school, Chef Jackie is sharing a simple dessert recipe that can be perfect as packed baon for kids of all ages:

California Raisins Light Cheesecake Almond Tart

For the crust

110 g butter
60 g powdered sugar
1 piece egg yolk
170 g all-purpose flour

1. Cream butter and sugar until the mixture turns light.
2. Agg egg yolk and flour to the mixture. Equally divide into nine parts.
3. Shape each part into a ring.
4. Bake all nine at 180C for 25 minutes.
For the cheesecake layer

135 g California raisins (soak in hot water for 10 minutes and drain)
2 pieces egg yolk
35 g sugar
60 ml heavy cream
30 ml milk
1 tbsp vanilla
30 g grated cheese
30 g sugar (optional)

1. Make a crème anglaise.
2. Pour over cream cheese before blending.
3. Pour the mixture into the crust. Add raisins (about 2 tbsp per tart).
4. Bake for 10 minutes at 180C until set.
5. Optional: Sprinkle a small amount of sugar before placing into an oven toaster with top heat open or use a torch if available to create a brulee effect.
6. Enjoy the dessert warm or cold.

California Raisins Light Cheesecake Almond Tart with decors (almonds and white chocolate curls)

California raisins are available in leading supermarkets nationwide.