Monday, October 1, 2012

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

First and foremost, allow me to apologize for not having step-by-step instructions for this recipe.  You see, I have for the last two years made this recipe for Christmas dessert; and I am always so overwhelmed that I rarely have time to capture step-by-step photos for anything that I am making.  This past year I managed to get a couple of recipes completely photographed, but this was not one of them.  I did, however, manage to get a photo of the final product.  My intention was to wait until this year and try again, but upon further reflection I really wanted to share this recipe well before November and December for those early planners out there. 

This recipe originally appeared in the December 2010 Cooking Light Magazine.  The original recipe called for a raspberry liqueur to be mixed into the topping.  As I am always looking to reduced the calories in all my recipes, I replaced this with a high quality cranberry juice.  I love out-lighting Cooking Light! I also chose to go with a standard graham cracker crust instead of the called for chocolate graham cracker crust because I really prefer a classic crust on a cheese cake.  

The Ingredients
Crust
4 ounces low-fat plain graham crackers
3 tablespoons unsalted butter. melted
cooking spray

Topping
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cranberry juice
3 tablespoons sugar

Cheesecake
1 cup sugar
2 8-ounce packages block-style 1/3 less-fat cream-cheese, softened
4-ounces block-style fat-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
2 large egg whites


  1. Preheat the oven to 375° 
  2. Wrap the outsides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a double layer of heavy-duty foil.  Spray the inside the springform pan with cooking spray until well coated.
  3. Place the graham crackers in a food processor; process until finely ground.  Drizzle the melted butter into the opening of the food processor while it continues to run, until the mixture is combined.  Press the mixture into bottom and 1/2-inch up the sides of the prepared springform pan.  
  4. Bake the crust at 375° for 8 minutes; cool completely on a wire rake.  
  5. Reduce the temperature on the oven to 325°
  6. Place the cranberries, 1/2 cup sugar, cranberry juice, and water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil.  Cook for 8 minutes or until the the cranberries pop and the mixture is syrupy.  Cool 20 minutes. 
  7. Combine 1 cup of sugar and the cream cheeses in a large bowl; and beat with a mixer (or use a stand mixer) at medium speed until smooth.  Beat in one at a time the yogurt, the vanilla and the salt.  Add the whole eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  
  8. Place the 2 egg whites into a bowl and beat them with a mixer until (if you used a stand mixer for the step above and don't have a stand mixer you will need to remove the cheese mixer and thoroughly clean the bowl of the stand mixer before doing this step---just buy a hand held mixer--it's easier) soft peaks are formed.  Gently, very gently fold the egg white into the cheese mixture.  Do not over mix, or you will lose that lift that the egg whites bring to this recipe.  
  9. Pour the mixture into the crust.  Spoon the cranberry mixture (like dots) over the top of the cream cheese mixture and then use a knife to swirl the cranberries around the top of the cheesecake.  
  10. Place the springform pan a large rectangular baking dish (large enough to hold your foil covered springform pan--test this out in advance).  Add hot water to the pan to a depth of 2 inches.  
  11. Bake at 325° for 50 minutes to an hour or until the center of the cheesecake barely moves when the pan is touched.  
  12. Turn oven off.  Cool the cheesecake in the closed oven for 30 minutes.  
  13. Remove the cheesecake from the oven, and run a knife around the outside edge.  Cool on a wire rack.  Cover and chill for 8 hours.  

Recipe Source: December 2010 issue of Cooking Light Magazine

Serves 12.  Cut the cake into 12 even servings

Calories 270
Protein 7 grams
Fat 11 grams
Sodium 253
Fiber 1
Potassium 54





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