Friday, January 20, 2012

Light As Air Cheesecake

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Desserts don't have to be pretty to be good. Besides, it should be what it tastes like, not what it looks like, right? But of course, we can't help it if we eat with our eyes first. I just ask that you please look past this picture of a slightly lopsided slice of cheesecake. With this being a 'Light As Air' Cheesecake, it's not easy to get a perfect slice. This cheesecake is not only light on calories but texture too. Forget the super dense cheesecake you may be familiar with. Instead, grab a fork and take a bite of this fluffy, creamy slice topped with a sweet and smooth strawberry coulis...

Growing up, cheesecake was a rich and decadent dessert we'd have on our holiday table. But I'm switching things up to enjoy this sweet treat any time of year. It's even easier when I've made it slightly healthier with reduced fat cream cheese. You can lighten the recipe below even more by using reduced fat or fat free sour cream too. For the crust, I made it with almond flour to keep it gluten free but of course, your favorite graham cracker crust works just as well.

One thing that I love about this recipe is how light it is texturally. Part of this wonderful texture is the addition of 2 extra egg whites. When whipped with the other ingredients, it adds a lightness that transcends as it bakes. After this lovely cheesecake bakes, it's topped with a thin layer of strawberry coulis before chilling for several hours (overnight is best). So when it's time to cut a slice, don't worry if it doesn't exactly hold its shape perfectly like traditional dense cheesecakes do. Just enjoy how it tastes. That's all that matters anyway!

Light As Air Cheesecake
recipe adapted from Epicurious


Crust:
1.5 Cups Almond flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter (at room temperature)

Filling:
2 (8 oz.) package of reduced fat cream cheese (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup (8 oz.) sour cream
2 large eggs
2 large egg whites
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons cake flour (gluten free flour blend or regular flour)
1/4 cup strawberry coulis

Combine the almond flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and butter in a bowl until  Press mixture firmly over bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9 inch springform pan. Bake in a 350˚ oven until lightly browned for 10 minutes.

In clean food processor, combine sugar, both packages of cream cheese, 1 cup of the sour cream, eggs, egg whites, vanilla extract and flour. Process until smooth.

Pour cream cheese filling into crust. Return to oven and bake until filling jiggles only slightly in center when pan is gently shaken. (35-45 minutes) Cool in pan or on rack for 30 minutes.

Spread a thin layer of strawberry coulis on top of cheesecake. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold (at least four hours or overnight).

To serve, remove springform pan rim. Garnish with fresh raspberries or strawberries, if desired.

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