An Amazing Low-Fat, Low-Sugar Lemon Cheesecake

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This lemon cheesecake is to die for delicious! Oh my gosh – it was completely devoured last Saturday night when we celebrated our Easter dinner with family and friends. The cheesecake was so light and creamy, and the lemon had the perfect balance of tart and sweet.Whenever I bake with lemon I am reminded of my grandmother, whom I called Emmy. This is because my grandma had a wonderfully prolific lemon tree in her small backyard. She made the most amazing lemon meringue pies! Actually, Emmy made the most amazing jelly rolls, cookies, and flan. I have tried to replicate some of her baked goods over the years, but they have never, ever turned out to be half as good as hers!  She tried to teach me how to make her famous cookies a few times – I called them her kitchen sink cookies. The recipe depended on what she currently had in the refrigerator and cupboards – they were never the same twice! Without a written recipe, I could never get the right consistency of chewy, gooey, sweet, oatmealy, chocolaty, and everything else she put into it – bite of goodness.

I have never attempted to make a lemon meringue pie. Just looking at the process seems overwhelming. However, we just planted a small lemon tree in our front yard. I am not sure how long it will be before it produces fruit, it is so tiny 🙂 When I look at my two foot lemon tree I can only hope that it will one day grow up to be that large luscious green-leafed tree that my grandmother had. A tree like hers with its far reaching branches up and over her back fence laden with bright yellow lemons. Yes, I hope. When I am able to harvest my own lemons, I just might try to make a lemon pie like Emmy’s.

Back to my lemon cheesecake…. Not only was it delicious, it was healthy 🙂 Really as far as cheesecakes go – it is! I made this one with low-fat cream cheese, non-fat sour cream, and Splenda. For those special occasions where you splurge and have dessert – this one is easy on the diet and the use of Splenda, instead of sugar, makes it a lower-glycemic recipe.

This is a cheecake that I will definitely be making again.  If the kids have their way it will most likely be sooner than later.

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Low-Fat Low-Sugar Lemon Cheesecake

INGREDIENTS

Crust:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 3/4 cups fat-free vanilla wafer cookie crumbs
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

Filling:

  • 3 (8-ounce) packages low-free cream cheese
  • 1 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 2 cups Splenda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Lemon Curd:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or sugar substitute (recommended: Splenda)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, or any fat-free butter substitute

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DIRECTIONS

Make crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Lightly spray a (9-inch) springform pan with cooking spray.
  3. Mix crumbs and melted butter in a bowl.
  4. Press crumb mixture onto bottom and 1 1/2 inches up side of pan.
  5. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly golden and crust is set.
  6. Cool on rack.

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Make filling:

  1. In large bowl with electric mixer on medium-high, beat cream cheese and sour cream for 2 to 3 minutes until fluffy.
  2. Gradually beat in sugar or sugar substitute.
  3. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, just until incorporated.
  4. Beat in zest and juice.
  5. Pour into crust.
  6. Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour, 15 minutes, or until center is almost set, but still slightly jiggly. (Do not overbake, as it will firm as it cools).
  7. Let cool completely.

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Make lemon curd:

  1. In the top of a double boiler, combine lemon zest, lemon juice, egg, egg yolk, and sugar or sugar substitute over gently simmering water.
  2. Whisk until hot and frothy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Gradually whisk in butter and continue whisking for 7 minutes or until thickened and coats back of spoon. Remove from heat and cool for 30 minutes.
  4. OR buy a jar of lemon curd and skip this step 🙂  Yes, I went through the steps to make lemon curd, and it really was not hard. Except for one thing… I stopped whisking the mixture to grab my camera and take a picture. Not a good idea.  The bowl was too warm, I had just put in the egg, and the egg started to cook.  My lemon curd had tiny bits of cooked egg white in it!  I really didn’t feel like making it again, so I ran to the store and bought the jar of lemon curd.  It was perfect! It was easy to pour out of jar, spread evenly, and tasted great.

When I took my cheesecake out of the oven it was quite cracked.  I was not worried about it, as I knew it would all be covered with the lemon curd.

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Completely cool and refrigerate the cheesecake. Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Remove from fridge and top with lemon curd.

I poured my jar of lemon curd on and spread it evenly with an off-set knife. I covered it with plastic wrap and placed it back into the fridge.  You can also spread lemon curd on right before serving. I wanted as much done as possible beforehand.

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30 Minutes before serving take cheesecake out of the fridge and let stand at room temperature. Run thin blade around the edge of the springform pan and remove sides.

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Transfer to a serving platter. The cheesecake needs nothing else, but with so many children in the house, I topped ours with some whipped cream.  The whipped cream was to go with the strawberries, but the kids wanted it on the cheesecake as well.

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Enjoy!
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