Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bake 52: Week 4


When I found out that I would be hosting in January, I knew I wanted to do a light(er) recipe for all of us New Year's dieters.  The New York Cheesecake called to me, and even though I usually don't consider 320 calories a "light" dessert, its definitely lower than your average cheesecake and it is loaded with healthy protein!  The recipe turned out a beautiful, texture-perfect cheesecake that was tangy sweet and left me wanting more!  And less.  Less time it takes to make it, anyway.  Nine and a half  hours was a little much--and that was without making the 12 hour yogurt cheese, er labne... (oh, you mean Greek yogurt?!).
Having said that, it was actually very easy to make.  And, I quite enjoyed finding yet another use for my beloved Vitamix! I blended all the ingredients in it and it used only a quarter of the time it would have taken in the food processor.   Plus, the result was a super smooth texture.  And now I'm sidetracked on my blender.  Back to cheesecake.  Did I mention it was good.  Very good.  Craving it now, good!  Here are a few tips first and then the recipe.
  1.  Greek yogurt can be used in place of the yogurt cheese.
  2.  Cover crust with plastic wrap before spraying sides of pan with vegetable oil spray.
  3.  Add a dab of red food coloring to the strawberry topping for a picture-perfect color.

LIGHT NEW YORK CHEESECAKE  (8+WW points, 10 with strawberry sauce)

9 whole graham cracker, broken into 1-inch pieces
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar

1 pound 1 percent cottage cheese
1 pound light cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces (1 cup) low-fat yogurt cheese* (see end to make yogurt cheese)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
Vegetable oil spray

4 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch salt
1/2 cup strawberry jam
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1.  FOR THE CRUST:  Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees.  Process the graham cracker pieces in a food processor to fine, even crumbs about 30 seconds.  Mix the cracker crumbs, melted butter, and sugar together, then pour into a 9-inch springform pan.  Press the crumbs firmly into an even layer using the bottom of a measuring cup.  Bake the crust until fragrant, 10 to 15 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack, about 30 minutes.

2.  FOR THE FILLING:  Meanwhile, increase the oven temperature to 500 degrees.  Line a medium bowl with a clean dish towel or several layers of paper towels.  Spoon the cottage cheese into the bowl and let drain for 30 minutes.

 3.  Process the drained cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth and no visible lumps remain, about 1 minute, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Dollop the cream cheese and yogurt cheese into the food processor and continue to process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Add the sugar, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute.  With the processor running, add the eggs one at a time and continue to process until smooth.

4.  Being careful not to disturb the baked crust, spray the insides of the spring form pan with vegetable oil spray.  Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet.  Pour the processed cheese mixture into the cooled crust and bake for 10 minutes.

5.  Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the cheesecake reads 150 degrees, about 1 hour and 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

6.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack and run a paring knife around the edge of the cake.  Let cool until barely arm, 2 1/2 to 3 hours, running a paring knife around the edge of the cake every hour or so.  Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.

7.  TO UNMOLD THE CHEESECAKE:  Wrap a wet, hot kitchen towel around the springform pan and let stand for 1 minute.  Remove the sides of the pan.  Blot any excess moisture from the top of the cheesecake with paper towels.  Let the cheesecake stand at room temperature about 30 minutes before slicing.

8.  STRAWBERRY TOPPING:  Toss the strawberries, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl and let sit, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries have released their juice and the sugar has dissolved, about 30 minutes.  Process the jam in a food processor (or blender) until smooth, about 8 seconds.  Simmer the jam in a small saucepan over medium heat until no longer foamy, about 3 minutes.  Stir the warm jam mixture and the lemon juice into the strawberries.  Let the topping coll to room temperature before serving, about 1 hour.  Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Per Serving:  Cal 320; Fat 12 g; Sat fat 8 g; Chol 80 mg; Carb 41 g; Protein 11 g; Fiber 0 g; Sodium mg
With topping:  Cal 400; Fat 13 g; Sat fat 8 g; Chol 80 mg; Carb 55 g; Protein 11 g; Fiber 1 g, Sodium 480 mg

*Making Yogurt Cheese:
Line a fine-mesh strainer, set over a deep container, with 3 paper coffee filters or a double layer of cheesecloth.  Spoon 16 ounces (2 cups) plain low-fat yogurt into the lined strainer, cover, and refrigerate for 10 to 12 hours (about 1 cup of liquid will have drained out of the yogurt to yield 1 cup of yogurt cheese).  Transfer the yogurt cheese to a covered container and refrigerate; it will keep for about 1 week.
or...you can substitute Greek yogurt and not make it:)


  1. I decided to whip this one up in my Vitamix as well and it was so slick! It's been interesting seeing how differently everyone else's has looked coming out of the oven....some barely brown and some really brown!

  2. Great job! Love all the step by step pictures to go along with the instructions! Looks so good!

  3. That is a good point about being protein rich! And jealous of the vitamix! :)

  4. Great post, thanks for hosting this week! I am so wishing I would have made strawberry sauce!! It looks soooo good!

  5. Great recipe! I thought it was such a fun one to make, and learning new things are always nice. Great pictures and explanation of steps. Thanks.