Making a delicious reduced-fat cheesecake: The secret is in the technique

March 27, 1994|By Susan G. Purdy | Susan G. Purdy,United Feature Syndicate

Richness and creaminess are virtually defined by the word cheesecake. But low-fat cheesecake? Too many taste chalky and bland -- they're nothing but an argument against tampering with this classic dessert. But it doesn't have to be that way.

The seductively creamy texture and rewarding dairy flavor of good cheesecake can be preserved even with dramatic reductions in fat. It all comes down to technique, and the secrets are revealed here.

Consider the classic cheesecake: the crust is a rich butter pastry, the batter probably includes a kilo of cream cheese, a half dozen eggs and a good-sized dollop of cream. One irresistible slice contains more than 500 calories and an ounce and a half of pure fat. However, if you cut back on the number of egg yolks, replace the full-fat cream cheese with a combination of reduced-fat cream cheese and low-fat yogurt, and use cereal crumbs for the crust, this dream dessert weighs in at 258 calories, with 7 grams of fat.

The fat in these recipes has been reduced by at least 50 percent.

Vanilla cheesecake with strawberries

Serves 12

CRUST:

3 tablespoons Grape-Nuts or Shredded Wheat cereal

1 tablespoon sugar

FILLING:

12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (1 1/2 cups), softened

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 large eggs, separated

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

16 ounces low-fat vanilla yogurt (2 cups)

1/2 cup all-purpose white flour

strawberry topping and glaze

2 pints strawberries, hulled, halved if large

1/2 cup red currant jelly

fresh mint sprigs for garnish

FOR CRUST: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray or lightly brush with vegetable oil. In a food processor, combine cereal and sugar; process until fine crumbs form. Place the crumb mixture in the prepared pan, tilt and rotate the pan to coat the bottom and sides with crumbs. Tap the pan on the counter so that the crumbs are evenly distributed. Set aside.

FOR FILLING: In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth with an electric mixer. Add 1 cup of the sugar, egg yolks, vanilla and salt. Beat until smooth. With mixer at low speed, gradually add yogurt and flour, beating until smooth. (Alternatively, blend all the ingredients in a food processor.)

In a large, clean mixing bowl and with clean beaters, whip egg whites until soft peaks form. Then, gradually add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, whipping until stiff, but not dry, peaks form. With a rubber spatula, fold the beaten whites into the cream cheese mixture. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cheesecake is puffed and the top is golden and dry to the touch. Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake inside with the door closed for 30 minutes longer. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the springform pan sides. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours or up to 2 days.

FOR GLAZE: Slice 1 cup of the strawberries and combine with the red currant jelly in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to simmer over low heat. Cover and cook for 3 minutes. Uncover and cook, stirring, until thickened and bubbly, 3 to 5 minutes.

Force the strawberry mixture through a sieve set over a small bowl. Let cool.

Shortly before serving, arrange the remaining 3 cups strawberries over the cheesecake. Brush with the glaze. Return the cheesecake to the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to set the glaze. Garnish with mint sprigs.

Per serving: 258 calories; 6 grams protein; 7 grams fat.

Cafe au lait cheesecake

Serves 16

CRUST:

3 tablespoons Grape-Nuts or Shredded Wheat cereal

1 tablespoon walnuts

1 tablespoon sugar

FILLING:

2 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso coffee powder

2 1/2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, such as Kahlua

16 ounces nonfat cottage cheese (2 cups)

12 ounces reduced-fat sour cream (1 1/3 cups)

12 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (1 1/2 cups), softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

6 tablespoons all-purpose white flour

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

16 candied coffee beans or chocolate shavings for garnish, optional

FOR CRUST: Heat oven to 300 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray or brush with vegetable oil. In a food processor, combine cereal, walnuts and sugar; process until fine crumbs form. Place the crumb mixture in the prepared pan; tilt and rotate the pan to coat the bottom and sides with crumbs. Tap the pan on the counter so that the crumbs are evenly distributed. Set aside.

FOR FILLING: In a small bowl, dissolve instant coffee powder in ** coffee liqueur and set aside. Place cottage cheese in a double layer of cheesecloth and gather the corners at the top; squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the pressed cottage cheese in a food processor and process until very smooth, about minutes. Add sour cream, cream cheese, sugar, flour, eggs, egg whites, cocoa, salt, cinnamon and the coffee liqueur mixture; process until smooth.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.