Cheesecake is a favorite dessert for many people that is often served at this time of year. It is traditionally made with full fat regular cream cheese, whole eggs, sugar and sometimes even heavy cream. It is delicious – however, it is not very compatible with a healthy eating program, at least when made in the traditional manner. As a result, it should generally be reserved for special occasions and eaten in small amounts.
In an effort to provide a somewhat lighter, somewhat healthier, version of this holiday treat, I’ve substituted reduced fat cream cheese for the regular cream cheese, egg whites for one of the eggs, and nonfat Greek yogurt for the heavy cream. I also used nonfat sweetened condensed milk which does add sweetness from the sugar but saves on the fat. The crust is graham cracker crumbs and olive oil – the topping a simple raspberry compote made from frozen raspberries, a little sugar, water and some lemon juice.
The inspiration for this recipe comes from the chef at the Hotel Portillo in Portillo, Chile who makes cheesecake with full fat cream cheese, regular condensed milk, sugar in the graham cracker crust and no yogurt.
Here’s how to make the cheesecake with my modifications…
Individual Cheesecakes (makes 10)
- parchment paper
- 2 packs of graham crackers (approx. 10 oz)
- 3 – 4 oz. olive oil
- 8 oz. reduced fat cream cheese (room temperature)
- ½ cup nonfat Greek yogurt
- 1 15 oz. can nonfat sweetened condensed milk
- 2 egg whites
- 1 egg
- 2 tsp. vanilla
1. Place graham crackers in a plastic bag and crush into crumbs with a rolling pin.
2. Mix graham cracker crumbs and olive oil in a large bowl to make a crust. (Start with 3 oz. of olive oil, add more if needed.)
3. Trace the outline of a ramekin on parchment paper with the tip of a knife.
4. Cut parchment liners with tabs as shown in the picture to line the ramekins (this will make it easier to take them out of the ramekins when you are ready to serve them). You may need to cut them down a little more in order for them to fit inside the ramekins properly.
5. Place parchment liners in the ramekins and press the graham cracker crumb crust into the bottom and sides of each ramekin.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (350 degrees F convection). Blend cream cheese, nonfat Greek yogurt, and nonfat sweetened condensed milk on low speed in mixer until lumps are gone. Be careful to not add too much air to the mixture.
7. Add the egg whites and eggs and vanilla and gently mix until well blended.
8. Divide cheese mixture into the ramekins.
9. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20- 30 minutes until firm.
10. Remove from oven and allow them to cool. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve.
11. To serve, run the tip of a knife around the edge of each ramekin. Gently pull up on the parchment tabs to unmold the cheesecakes, remove the parchment paper and place on a dessert plate. If desired, top with raspberry compote and garnish with a mint leaf and a sprinkle of decorative holiday sugar.
Approximate nutrition information per serving (without topping): 400 calories; 18 grams fat; 4.6 grams saturated fat; 0 grams transfat; 36 mg cholesterol; 310 mg sodium; 50 grams carbohydrate; 0.7 grams dietary fiber; 9 grams protein.