Although skyr is sold as Icelandic yogurt alongside the global representation of yogurt varieties in the dairy case, Icelanders consider it a cheese. When you taste it, you can understand why.
Skyr is so gloriously thick it’s nearly spreadable, and has a subtle, fresh-cheese taste in the way that cream cheese or ricotta cheese do, but with a lovely yogurt-like tang from the active cultures it contains. Traditionally made with skim or low-fat milk, skyr is healthful too, making it a natural fit as the foundation of a fabulous, lightened-up cheesecake.
Here I combine it with regular cream cheese to create a cheesecake that strikes the just right balance of richly creamy, yet light and fresh-tasting. I use sugar sparingly, adding just enough so the cake registers as a true dessert while maintaining a gentle yogurt-y tang. And I make it crustless, which not only enhances its cloudlike appeal, but also makes the cake super-easy to whip up — just beat the ingredients in a single bowl, pour the mixture into a springform pan and bake.
The most difficult part of the process is waiting for the cake to chill for a couple of hours before unmolding it and digging in. When that time comes, each mouthful proves worth the anticipation — lusciously creamy and fresh, with a delicate hint of vanilla and lemon zest.
The cheesecake is a pleasure on its own, but I can’t resist topping it with a heap of fresh sliced strawberries tossed with a touch of lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar to soften the berries and draw out their juices. Totally manageable to make on a weeknight, it’s a stunning treat that’s also special enough for a holiday table.