Looking for a way to offer your health conscious customers one of America’s favorite desserts? An enticing, full-flavored, lower-fat cheesecake is easily at hand, if you follow some basic guidelines.
Fat contributes flavor, texture, and mouthfeel in recipes. "But it takes a lot of experimentation to substitute lower and non fat ingredients in recipes where high-fat ones are traditionally specified," says Barbara Gollman, M.S., R.D., L.D.
"Because lower fat ingredients are generally more watery than full fat ones and they don’t hold up as well when baked, you may end up with a less dense, too moist cheesecake with a soggy crust," she adds. To avoid this, consider these fat-cutting techniques.
For the crust: Use dried plum puree or egg whites to bind the ingredients together.
For the filling: Substitute 1/3-less-fat cream cheese or neufchatal in place of the full fat variety. For example, if the recipe calls for 16 oz. of cream cheese, use 12 oz. of neufchatel and 4 oz. of the nonfat cream cheese.
• Substitute tofu, yogurt, low fat cottage cheese and low fat ricotta, in part, for the cream cheese. If using tofu or yogurt, however, be sure to drain them well by lining a strainer with cheesecloth and letting the extra liquid filter out.
• Substitute low fat/"fat free sour cream and/"or low fat sweetened condensed milk for the sour cream.
• Use more egg whites, but don’t cut out eggs entirely as they help to give volume and help to "set up" the cake when baking and cooling. For example, use 2 whites per one whole egg listed in the original recipe.
• Reduce fat and add flavor by folding chopped, well drained fruit, like blueberries or strawberries, into the batter.
For the topping: Use low fat or nonfat sour cream or top with fresh fruit, plain or glazed.
Key Lime Cheesecake
Yield: 10 servings
3/4 cup crunchy nutlike cereal nuggets
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup dried plum (prune) puree
3 Tbsps. sugar
8 oz. fat free cream cheese
14 oz. low fat condensed milk
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 tsp. grated lime peel
2 egg whites
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
2/3 cup low fat nondairy whipped topping
Lime slices and peel for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. To prepare crust: In a food processor, process cereal, crumbs, dried plum puree and sugar until well blended. Press into the bottom and part way up the sides of an ungreased 81/2 or 9-inch springform pan.
3. To prepare filling: In a mixer bowl, beat cream cheese on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in condensed milk, lime juice, egg substitute and lime peel until blended.
4. In a small mixer bowl, with clean beaters, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Fold into cream cheese mixture. Pour into prepared crust. Bake in the center of the oven 20 to 25 minutes or until filling is set. Cool; refrigerate until cold.
Calories 320 (14% from fat); Fat 5g; Protein 13g; Carbohydrates 33g; Chol. 5mg (cholesterol per day 1%); Sodium 400mg (sodium per day 2%); Fiber 1g (fiber per day.5%)
Recipe from the California Dried Plum Board
Strawberry Marble Cheesecake
Yield: 12 servings
1 egg white, room temperature
1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. margarine or butter, melted
Nonstick cooking spray as needed
15 oz. low fat/nonfat ricotta cheese
8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
8 oz. nonfat cream cheese
1/4 cup cornstarch
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 large eggs
3 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1-1/4 cups finely chopped strawberries, drained
1. For the crust: Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat 1 egg white until foamy, add crumbs, sugar and melted margarine; mix well.
2. Coat the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray and press crumbs firmly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
3. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.
4. In a food processor or with an electric mixer, blend ricotta, cream cheeses, cornstarch and 1 cup of sugar. Add whole eggs and mix well.
5. In a separate bowl, beat the remaining 3 egg whites with the cream of tartar until foamy; add 1/4 cup sugar and beat to soft peaks. Fold egg whites and strawberries into the cheese mixture. Spoon cheese mixture on top of crust.
6. Bake 1 hour, then turn off the oven and leave the cake inside with the door closed 1 more hour. Remove from the oven; cool to room temperature 2 hours or longer. Refrigerate overnight.
Calories 243 (5% from fat); Fat 5.5g (sat 2.8g); Protein 12g; Carbohydrates 36g; Chol. 48mg (cholesterol per day 16%); Sodium 340mg (sodium per day 14%); Fiber 0.5g (fiber per day .025%)
Reprinted with permission. Gollman, an American Dietetic Association spokesperson, is author of The Phytopia Cookbook: A World of Plant Centered Cuisine. fm