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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Kitchen Mailbox: Readers' low-fat cheesecakes introduce levity at dessert time

Thursday, November 11, 1999

By Arlene Burnett, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

It's time to lighten up!

Our recipes today are low-fat cheesecakes. And we won't try to convince you that you would never know you're eating low-fat -- you'll taste the difference. So we ask you not to compare the recipes below to a standard cheesecake. Instead we ask that you judge these cheesecakes on their own luscious flavor and see if you don't find yourself taking the plunge into low-fat desserts.

All three cheesecakes have the obvious ingredient of cream cheese. Other ingredients, such as lemon gelatin, have been added for extra flavor. The addition of cottage cheese adds to the flavor and gives the cheesecakes a creamy texture. All in all, these cheesecakes are tasty and easy to prepare. Best of all, their fat content is considerably lower than a regular cheesecake -- so you can have two slices.

Elizabeth Elsesser of Pittsburgh requested a recipe for low-fat cheesecake.

This recipe for low-fat cheesecake from Rosemarie Glaser of Green Tree is a super creamy version and most like its fat-laden cousin.

Cheesecake

Crust:
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
8 tablespoons reduced-fat margarine, melted
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch cinnamon

Filling:
2 (8-ounce) packages light cream cheese
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
5 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Topping:
8 ounces light sour cream
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix all crust ingredients together and spread on the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch pan.

Cream together cream cheese, cottage cheese, sugar and vanilla; add eggs one at a time and mix until smooth. Pour mixture over graham cracker crust and bake for 1 hour at 300 degrees.

While the cheesecake is baking, mix the topping ingredients thoroughly.

At the final six minutes of baking, remove the cheesecake and spread with topping. Return to oven for the final 6 minutes.

Here's another delicious version sent in by Mary Scimmi of Greensburg.

Low-Fat Cheesecake

2 (8-ounce) packages fat-free cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
Egg substitute, equivalent to 3 eggs
1 cup (8 ounces) nonfat sour cream
1 cup reduced-sugar cherry pie filling

In a mixing bowl, beat cream cheese, 2/3 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until fluffy. Gradually add egg substitute; beat until smooth. Pour into a 9-inch pie plate that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until puffy and light brown around the edges. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine sour cream and remaining sugar and vanilla. Spread over cheesecake. Bake 15 minutes longer. Cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate. Before serving, top each serving with 2 tablespoons cherry pie filling. Makes 8 servings.

Nutritional analysis per serving: 214 calories; 342 mg sodium; 5 mg cholesterol; 37 grams carbohydrate; 14 grams protein; 1 gram fat.

"Taste of Home" magazine

If your tastes run more towards mousse-like pies, then this recipe is for you. It was sent in by Shirley Hood of Ambridge.

Lemon Cheesecake

2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs
1 package, 4-serving size, lemon flavor sugar-free gelatin, see note
2/3 cup boiling water
1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 (8-ounce) package light cream cheese
2 cups thawed whipped topping
1 cup light cherry pie filling

Spray a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of graham cracker crumbs; set aside.

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water in a small bowl, stirring 2 minutes. Pour gelatin and cheeses in a blender or food processor and on medium speed blend until smooth, scraping down sides occasionally. Pour into large bowl; gently stir in whipped topping. Spread into prepared pie plate. Sprinkle remaining crumbs around outside edge, leaving center plain.

Refrigerate 4 hours or until firm. Just before serving, gently spread pie filing into center of cheesecake.

Note: Any flavor gelatin may be used.

Nutrition information per serving: 160 calories; 8 grams fat; 20 mg sodium; 15 grams carbohydrates; 0 grams dietary fiber; 7 grams protein.

Requests

Lois Lyons of Munhall hopes one of our readers would have a recipe for Polynesian Chicken Salad. Lyons sampled this dish at the Holiday Inn at the Indianapolis Airport and thought it was delicious.

Elaine Balint of Bridgeville is looking for a recipe for Apples Squares or Patch Cake. This cake has a layer of dough, a layer of apples and another layer of dough and it's made in a 10 1/2-by-15 1/2-inch pan.

Luci Miller of Churchill lost her recipes for "Souper Suppers." Miller is hoping our readers might have these recipes and send them in. Souper Suppers are recipes for quick soups.

Mary Jane Scholl of Mount Washington would like recipes for focaccia, breads and rolls.

Letters

Here's a great letter from Gerri Hunter of Garfield:

"Being a single mother with four boys ages 27, 21, 7 and 5, the dinners tend to be repetitious. Is there a recipe that will fill them up and satisfy them but not be full of calories? My 21-year-old is 6 foot 4 1/2 inches and weighs 250 pounds and he keeps complaining to me that there is nothing new to eat -- tired of frozen pizzas, hot dogs. I'm looking for vegetable casseroles or anything you think might interest me ... something that would at least last for two meals.

"We are so tired of chicken, beef, fish, and pork. No matter how you fix it, they all seem to be the same. Please help!

"Also what types of food (quick and nourishing) could I buy to keep my refrigerator stocked? I work two jobs and most of the time they are coming from school, rushing from practice, and grabbing something on the run."


If you want to answer a recipe request from a reader or are looking for a recipe yourself, please write to Kitchen Mailbox, c/o Arlene Burnett, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh 15222, or e-mail to aburnett@post-gazette.com. Please include a name, neighborhood and a daytime phone number on all correspondence. All recipes are kitchen-tested by the Post-Gazette.



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