I don’t tend to try to follow diets. This is not to say I don’t watch what I eat and exercise, I do, mostly by refusing to eat fast food despite my love of curly fries. Ummm….curly fries. And I have this belief, which may be incorrect, that as long as I make it myself regardless of the amount of whipping cream or butter I use, it’s still healthy. I’m sure that logic is sound.
While this logic works for me, and a lot of Zumba, it does not work for everyone. In the last week or so I’ve had a few comments, both from my coworkers who beta test my food, and from a few people on line, that I might be a little too heavy handed with the whipping cream and butter. So I have decided to post something a little healthier, and because nothing can ever be easy, I’ve decided to make a healthy cheesecake. Yes, I said that right, this is a healthy cheesecake.
Those are two words that are probably not uttered together with any frequency, and it was the belief of one of my beta testers that it should not have been attempted, but he was actually satisfied with the result. By using cottage cheese and sour cream instead of cream cheese and whipping cream the cheesecake is significantly healthier, this is a desert that would not break your diet, though it would probably bend it a great deal.
The balance with these ingredients is that the cheesecake will be much lighter, not as dense or creamy as a traditional cheesecake, which is why I am calling it cheese pie, with a slight tart taste from the lemon. This makes it perfect for summer, and picnics to dazzle everyone.
Honey Graham Crackers
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
¼ cup sugar
1 quart strawberries
1 package cream cheese (8 oz)
¼ cup cottage cheese
1/3 cup powdered sugar
½ cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 325OF
Let all ingredients come to room temperature. Gagh I know, just get everything out and then watch Iron Chef for 30 minutes.
Crush the graham crackers to a fine powder in a blender or food processor. You will need 1 ½-2 cups of crushed graham crackers, which takes about ½ of the box. Take a cake pan and rub the butter stick around it liberally, buttering the cake tin.
Pour the graham cracker crumbs and the sugar into a mixing bowl. Add the butter, cutting it into small pieces. Mix by hand until the butter is fully incorporated. The final mixture will not be completely mixed like a pie dough, but will still be very much like graham cracker crumbs.
Take handfuls of the graham cracker mixture and scatter them into the cake tin. Press down firmly to the bottom and then turn the tin on it’s side and repeat around of the sides. Make sure there are no cracks and that the surface is well covered. This does not have to be perfect, if it’s not even on the bottom or the sides it will still bake just fine.
Wash the strawberries, cut off the stem, and cut the strawberries in half. Fill the bottom of the cake tin with the strawberries, in whatever pattern you would like. Refrigerate the crust while making the filling.
Blend together the eggs, cream cheese, and cottage cheese, this is much easier with a hand mixer than by hand. This will not make a completely mixed product, as the cottage cheese will not break up.
Add the powdered sugar, the sour cream, and the juice and zest of the lemon and mix well.
The zest of the lemon is the peeling, I find the easiest way to zest the lemon is to use a cheese grater, and to zest the lemon before cutting it.
Spoon the mixing into the prepared crust making sure to completely cover the strawberries in the bottom. If you overflow the crust a little, that’s okay, but don’t overflow the tin.
Bake for 45-50 minutes and then turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in. The cheesecake should be slightly golden on the top and the crust might be very dark. Don’t try to cook the cheesecake longer even if it isn’t completely set up, since this could lead to the cheesecake burning. Leave the cheesecake in the oven until the oven is completely cool, or at least 2 hours.
Refrigerate the cheesecake for 6 hours-overnight. Before serving garnish with additional halved strawberries.
I’d say this is a little bit of a more complicated recipe; the hardest part is making the crust, which isn’t difficult but does take some time. Total prep time is about an hour, and total cooking time, not including refrigeration, is about 3 hours.