Light Pumpkin Cheesecake

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Light Pumpkin Cheesecake

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: moderate
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This light pumpkin cheesecake is every bit as good as its high calorie and fat counterpart with results that are creamy and rich with a sweet pumpkin and spice finish.


Cook’s Note: Don’t fake room temperature! All refrigerated ingredients should be brought to room temperature so they will blend together smoothly.

Ingredients

non-stick foil
9- to 10- inch corrugated cake rounds – optional
10 to 12-inch round doilies – optional 
Crust
11 whole graham crackers, broken into pieces
4 tbsp. butter, melted
¼ cup sugar  
Filling
99% residue-free or non-aerosol cooking or baking spray
1 cup 2% fat cottage cheese at room temperature
1½ cups raw or regular granulated sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch
2 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. fresh ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
1/16 tsp. salt
2 8-oz. containers 1/3-less-fat cream cheese at room temperature 
1 15 oz. can solid-pack pumpkin
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs plus 1 yolk at room temperature, lightly beaten

Directions

  1. Crust: Adjust oven rack to center and preheat to 350 F. Line the bottom of a
    9-inch springform pan with non-stick foil. Spray bottom and sides with baking or cooking spray.

    2.  Using a food processor, process graham crackers with sugar into fine crumbs. Add butter and process, scraping down bowl as needed until combined.

    3.  Transfer mixture to pan. Using a measuring cup, press crumbs firmly onto bottom of pan. Bake crust until edges just start to color, 8 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and cool.  

    1. Filling: Reduce oven temperature to 325 F. Process cottage cheese in a food processor or blender until smooth, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.

    2.  In a large mixing bowl, blend sugar together with cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, cardamon and salt. Add cream cheese to sugar mixture blending until smooth. Add cottage cheese, pumpkin puree, and vanilla to cream cheese, blending on low/stir speed until combined.

    3.  Gently fold/stir in eggs until blended with other ingredients. Do not over mix; too much air in the batter can cause the cheesecake to crack.

    4.  Pour batter into pan. Bake at 325 F for 60 to 65 minutes or until the edges are set, but center still moves slightly. Turn oven off and let cheesecake continue to bake with door ajar for 1 hour.

    5.  Remove cheesecake from oven and cool for 3 hours. Run a knife or spatula around the outside edge of cheesecake each hour to keep it from sticking to the sides of the pan. Wrap cake securely and chill at least 3 hours to overnight.

    6.  To Serve: Remove the sides from pan and slice into piece with a clean sharp knife. If desired, top each slice with a tbsp. of real whipped cream.

    To remove springform pan bottom from cheesecake to serve:

    1.  Remove the sides of the pan. Carefully cover the top of the cheesecake with a sheet of nonstick foil or wrap followed by a cake round and quickly flip it over. Slowly remove the pan from the bottom of the cheesecake. Then lift the corners of the foil and gently peel it off the crust.

    2.  If desired, center a paper doily over the bottom of the crust followed by another cake round and carefully but quickly flip the cheesecake crust side down on to serving plate or stand, removing the cake round and cover from the top of cheesecake.

Nutrition

Nutritional Information: 260 calories; 12g fat; 33g carbohydrate; 2g dietary fiber; 6g Protein; 76mg cholesterol; 250mg sodium

High-Calorie Version: 490 calories; 30g fat; 55g carbohydrate; 3g fiber; 7g protein; 150mg cholesterol; 428mg sodium 

Nutritional Talking Points

This light version of pumpkin cheesecake has half the calories, cholesterol, sodium, and fat of the traditional recipe.

1. I reduced the number of graham crackers in the crust from 15 to 11 and cut the sugar and butter in half, from ½ cup each to ¼ cup. These cuts still produced a crisp cookie crust with plenty of butter to still hold it together. 
 
2. I substituted two 8-oz. packages of regular cream cheese for the same amount of a 1/3 less fat cream cheese and used 2% cottage cheese instead of whole milk cottage cheese.

3. I cut the sugar to 1½ cups from 2 with no noticeable difference in sweetness, but a reduction of 95 calories and 25g of sugar per serving.

4. I kept the 3 eggs called for and added an extra yolk. Eggs are a perfect food and they do not increase serum cholesterol. Eggs are also necessary to baking—they provide the structure and strength required to leaven baked goods. In addition, they add richness and flavor, helping to counterbalance the reductions in fats and sugar, resulting in a cheesecake that tastes every bit as good as the original recipe.

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