I recently got married and one of the things on our registry was a springform pan. I’ve never made my own cheesecake, but I’ve always loved how rich and creamy it is and figured having my own pan would be a great way to make a healthier version of one of my favorite desserts. But after almost one year of marriage, I had yet to pop open the pan. That is, until the latest issue of Cooking Light landed in my mailbox.
Cheesecake is typically high in fat and calories and bursting with flavor. I’ve tried a few healthier versions of cheesecake in the past, but I’ve been disappointed with the taste. So when the cover line from this issue read, “Our richest cheesecake,” I knew I had to try it and see if this Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake not only tasted like a full-fat version, but was also worthy of the coveted cover spot.
Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 45 min + chill time and cooling time
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min
4 ounces chocolate graham crackers
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup Chambord (raspberry liqueur)
3 tablespoons water
1 cup sugar
2 (8-ounce) packages block-style 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (4 ounces) block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites
1. Preheat oven to 375°.
2. Wrap outside and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil.
3. Place crackers in a food processor; process until finely ground. Drizzle with oil; pulse until combined. Press mixture into bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 8 minutes; cool on a rack.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
5. Place cranberries, sugar, liqueur, and water in a saucepan; boil. Cook 8 minutes or until cranberries pop and mixture is syrupy. Cool 20 minutes. Place mixture in a food processor; process 1 minute or until smooth.
6. Combine 1 cup sugar and cheeses in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Add whole eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
7. Place 2 egg whites in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form using clean, dry beaters. Fold beaten egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour filling over crust. Spoon cranberry mixture over filling; swirl together using the tip of a knife. Place springform pan in a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan. Add hot water to pan to a depth of 2 inches. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until center of cheesecake barely moves when pan is touched.
8. Turn oven off. Cool cheesecake in closed oven 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven. Run a knife around outside edge. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill 8 hours. Serves 12.
*The recipe called for only 4 ounces of chocolate graham crackers, but if I made this again I would bump it up to 4.5 or at least 5 ounces. The crust got pretty thin in a couple places while I spread it out.
*The cranberry mixture was absolutely delicious and I would consider doubling the amount called for so I could use it for something else (ice cream, on toast, or even alone by the spoonful).
*I would have liked a little more clarification in Step 7: “Bake at 325° for 50 minutes or until center of cheesecake barely moves when pan is touched.” At 50 minutes, the cheesecake seemed almost as jiggly as when I put it in; it was far from “barely” moving. I cooked it for an additional 30 minutes and didn’t notice a change in movement, but the top was getting more and more brown, so I stopped the total time at 80 minutes and continued with the directions.Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 wedge
Calories per serving: 321
Fat per serving: 14.1g
Saturated Fat per serving: 6.1g
Sodium per serving: ,span class="sodium">333g
Fiber per serving: .9g
Protein per serving: 10g
Cholesterol per serving: 81mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 37.8g
Source: Cooking Light, December 2010
I served this to some of my girlfriends who all gave it rave reviews and even asked to take some home to their husbands. But the best part was how it tasted. I love that I could eat a slice and not feel too guilty about what I was consuming. The flavors mingled so well together that nobody would be able to guess this was a lightened up cheesecake.
Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?
Oh my, yes! I’ve made several recipes from Cooking Light and applaud them every time for how simple their recipes are, and this was no exception. I thought a cheesecake would be difficult to make, but I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this came together. Not to mention, the beautiful red swirl compliments the chocolate crust and white from the cheesecake—this dessert was made for a holiday get-together.