1 (9- or 10-inch) cheesecake (about 12 servings) Medium
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Ingredients (24)

For the crust:

  • Nonstick pan spray
  • 1/4 cup browned butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons non-hydrogenated shortening, such as Spectrum
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon liquid egg substitute
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

For the cheesecake:

  • 8 ounces (1 cup) reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup reduced-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 egg whites, from large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup low-fat ricotta
  • 2 tablespoons large pecan pieces, toasted, for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, for garnish

You might not expect to see cheesecake in a book called Sweet & Skinny, but the blend of pumpkin, ricotta, and spices puts this flavorful version low on the guilt scale. The shortbread cookie crust is based on my Yiayia’s (grandmother’s) kourabiethes recipe, the best buttery cookie around! If you are short on time, you can substitute any quick graham cracker crust you want.

Instructions

To make the crust:
  1. 1Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Coat a baking sheet with pan spray.
  2. 2Using a standing mixer and the paddle attachment, beat the butter, cream cheese, shortening, and powdered sugar on medium for 10 minutes. (Alternatively, use a handheld electric mixer.) Add the egg substitute and vanilla; beat for 2 minutes longer. Add the flour and salt; mix 10 minutes more.
  3. 3Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and pat it into a 1/2-inch-thick disk. Cut the dough into 4 strips in one direction, then 4 in the other, to make 16 pieces.
  4. 4Transfer the cookies to the prepared baking sheet, placing them 1/2-inch apart (they will not spread). Bake 30 minutes, until the bottoms are golden. Transfer the cookies directly to a wire rack until they are completely cool, about 1 hour.
  5. 5Process the cooled cookies in a food processor until they have the consistency of sand.
  6. 6Press the crumbs into the bottom of the pan specified in the recipe where it is used. Fill and bake according to the recipe.

To make the cheesecake:

  1. 1Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Coat a 9-inch springform cake pan with pan spray. Press the crust mixture firmly into the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
  2. 2Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and sugar on medium for several minutes, until it is completely smooth and well blended. Add the yogurt, eggs, egg whites, and vanilla; mix for 2 to 3 minutes longer to blend well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and cloves and mix for 1 minute longer. Add the ricotta and mix just until it is incorporated.
  3. 3Pour the batter over the crust and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cheesecake jiggles only slightly in the center when you gently shake the pan. (If the cheesecake browns too quickly or begins to crack, tent a piece of aluminum foil over the top, without touching the filling, for the remaining baking time.)
  4. 4Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, if needed, to loosen the cheesecake, then remove the outer pan ring and transfer the cake on its base to a serving plate. Cover the cake loosely with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. 5Just before serving, garnish with the toasted pecans and pomegranate seeds. Cut into wedges. Refrigerate any leftover cheesecake, tightly covered, for up to 3 days.
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