3. Low-Fat Cheesecake
Okay, I die for cheesecake. I like every possible kind, except for chocolate, strangely enough. This recipe uses strawberries – or, really, any topping you like. There are many ways to make cheesecake low fat, from the use of reduced fat graham crackers to fat-free cream cheese. With the addition of sour cream and Neufchatel, this version is creamy, dreamy, wonderfully thick, and still low in fat! Yay!
9 whole low-fat cinnamon graham crackers, broken in half
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 8-ounce packages Neufchatel cream cheese, softened
2 8-ounce packages fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 large eggs plus 3 egg whites
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Pulse the graham crackers in a food processor until crumbled. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water and the butter; pulse until moistened. Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil to prevent leaks. Coat the inside of the pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs onto the bottom. Bake until browned, about 8 minutes. Let cool, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, beat both cream cheeses and the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, 5 minutes, then beat in the sour cream on low. Lightly whisk the 3 egg whites in a bowl, then add to the cheese mixture along with the 2 whole eggs, flour, vanilla and lemon zest. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes. Pour over the crust.
Place the cheesecake in a roasting pan and add enough warm water to come one-quarter of the way up the sides of the springform. Bake until the cake is set but the center still jiggles, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Turn off the oven; keep the cheesecake inside with the door closed for 20 minutes.
Remove the cake from the water bath and transfer to a rack. Run a knife around the edge, then cool completely. Chill until firm, at least 8 hours. Top as desired.