I saw the recipe for this low-fat chocolate cheesecake on the Food Network this weekend. Today was the last day at work for one of our secretaries, and I know she likes cheesecake, so I decided to make it. It turned out beautifully - nice and creamy, rich, great dark chocolate flavor. It's not an every-day (or even every-month) recipe, but it has about 1/2 the calories of full-fat cheesecake, and - without a full-fat one sitting next to it - I don't think you would guess hmm, low-fat! if you were served a piece.
I used regular cream cheese (the only thing available at the local little market), 1% milkfat cottage cheese, and pre-made lower-fat graham cracker crusts (2), for portability (and because they were the same price as the cookies I was going to buy to make the crust).
The pre-made crusts are smaller than a springform pan, so I cut the baking time to about 35 minutes @ 350, then turned off the oven but left the cakes in the oven with the door closed for 15 minutes, and with the door cracked for another hour. These worked out beautifully, since I don't really have a pan large enough to have a waterbath around my full-size springform pan. (I need to buy one!)
One of the recipe reviewers recommended baking a full-size cake for 45 minutes rather than an hour because it became dried out when cooked for a full hour. The recipe really needs a food processor or a blender to puree the cottage cheese until it's smooth.
I also baked a crustless serving in an individual ramikin to make sure that it wasn't awful before bringing it to work. The pre-made crusts are 90 kCal per serving. Even with 12 ounces of full-fat cream cheese, the cheese cake itself was under 190 kCal/serving for me (I had 17: one in the ramikin, 8 per pre-made pie crust).
I would make them again for a dinner party in individual ramikins, along the lines of a souffle (but, easier and less... eggy? I hate eggs, and therefore assume that I would also hate souffles), without the crust. It's a lovely showcase for the chocolate flavor.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 2 hours
Yield: 12 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup low-fat chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (from about 3 cups)
1 tablespoon plus 1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon instant espresso, dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
12 ounces light cream cheese
24 ounces non-fat cottage cheese
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 egg whites
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch process)
1/4 cup sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line the inside of a springform pan with aluminum foil and smooth out as much as possible. Once lined, spray the inside with cooking spray. In a food processor, combine cookie crumbs, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, oil, and coffee and blend well. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan, and set aside.
In a food processor, combine cream cheese, cottage cheese, cornstarch, egg, and egg whites until very smooth. Add cocoa powder, brown sugar, sugar substitute, vanilla, and salt and puree until smooth. Finally, add melted chocolate and puree until smooth.
Blend well and then pour into crust-lined pan. Place pan in a shallow baking dish and place in oven. Carefully pour enough water into pan to come up halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake until edges are firm, about 1 hour. [NOTE: try 45 minutes instead. Keep an eye on it!] Turn oven off and let cake cool in the oven for 1 hour. [NOTE: try cracking open the oven door!] Refrigerate, uncovered, until chilled, at least 3 hours.
Nutritional Analysis per serving Calories 264
Fat 10 grams Saturated Fat 5 grams
Carbohydrates 36 grams Fiber 3 grams