This ricotta cheesecake is an excellent holiday dessert and has a lot less fat than traditional cheesecake.
– 1½ cups plus 2 tablespoons ground-up cookies* (put them in a plastic resealable bag and pound on them or put them in the food processor and pulse until they are crumbs)
– 2 tablespoons melted butter (regular or nondairy)
– 2 tablespoons apple juice
– 8 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
– 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese
– ⅓ cup raw sugar
– 2 tablespoons vanilla soy milk
– 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
– 2 eggs
* The cookies in this recipe are truly use-what-you-have. You could use vanilla wafers or graham crackers or even chocolate chip or cinnamon Teddy Grahams, if you have little kids and always have those around.
1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Combine the cookie crumbs, butter, and apple juice in a bowl. Spray a springform pan with cooking spray and cover the outside tightly with foil (you are going to put it in water and you don’t want the water to leak into the cheesecake). Pat the cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan and press down on it so that it is flat and evenly distributed.
2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, cream cheese, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs until they are fully incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared crust.
3. Put the cake pan into a larger baking or roasting pan and put the whole thing into the oven. Carefully pour water into the baking pan so that it surrounds the cheesecake pan in a water bath about 1 inch deep. Be careful not to get water into the cheesecake. This step might seem complicated, but it will keep your cheesecake moist.
4. Close the oven and let the cake bake for 60 to 75 minutes. Start checking on it after 50 minutes. When the edges of the cheesecake are just beginning to turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly (but not completely) clean, the cake is done.
5. Very carefully remove the cake from the oven so that you don’t spill hot water on yourself. Let the cake cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve with the Fruit Topping (recipe follows).
This topping adds nutrients and delicious juicy fruit flavor to the cheesecake.
– 2 cups cherries, pitted and sliced
– ¾ cup water
– 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
– 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon raw sugar
– ½ cup apple juice
Mix all of the ingredients together in a small nonstick pan and heat over medium-low until the topping begins to thicken slightly. Serve over the cheesecake before cutting, or put a spoonful on each slice.
This is an excerpt from The Skinnygirl Dish by Bethenny Frankel, available on Amazon.com.