Monday, January 26, 2009

Cheesecake Revisited

When we were young, our grandmother used to make this fantastic cheesecake with a ready graham cracker crust and blueberry pie filling. Natalie and I would make it in college pretty regularly for our dinner parties. Recently, I was given the task of making a dessert for a baby shower. I tried to make an updated, lighter version of this by using fresh fruit and healthier ingredients. It was a hit. And, the leftover cake kept nicely for a few days in the fridge!

2 cups store bought reduced fat cinnamon graham crackers
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
5 packages reduced fat cream cheese (room temp)
1 1/4 cup egg substitute
3 cups blueberries
powdered sugar for dusting
zest of one lemon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9" spring form pan with non fat cooking spray and line the outside with heavy duty foil to create a seal. Crush graham cracker crumbs in food processor for about 15 seconds. In a bowl, combine crumbs, 1 T sugar, and butter until well blended. Press mixture into the bottom of the spring form pan.

In a bowl fitted with a flat mixer, beat cream cheese on high until whipped (about 5 min), reduce speed to low, add two cups sugar and continue mixing for 3 more minutes. Slowly pour in the egg mixture and beat for another 3 to 5 minutes until batter is fully combined and creamy. Add the zest of 3/4 of a small lemon to the mixture.

Pour the mixture into your spring form pan, place the pan into another larger pan filled with water about half way up the sides of the spring form pan. This will keep the cheesecake from cracking and ensure that it is incredibly moist. Cook for about one hour and fifteen minutes or until cake is just loose in the center (this will set up in fridge). Let the cake cool one hour prior to placement in fridge for at least 3 hours.

To serve, remove from fridge and let set for 20 minutes, top with fresh blueberries, sprinkle the top with remaining lemon zest and about 1 T powdered sugar.

Other Things to Try:
  • During the holiday season, use ginger snaps instead of graham crackers
  • Omit lemon zest and use 1t vanilla bean concentrate (I have found this at Trader Joe's)
  • Top with any fruit you like

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