The Almost New York Cheesecake

Cheesecake may not seem like a healthy dessert, but this version, the not so classic New York Cheesecake can actually be quite good for you by swapping out the cream cheese with reduced fat ricotta cheese, or even European Quark.
By Michelle Tchea

The Almost New York Cheesecake

It’s true, texture will change, but it’s still a great dessert for times when you are craving something sweet.

Why cheesecake can be healthy? A great source of calcium and protein… just limit the amount you have to reduce the fat and calories in your diet – but hey, who is counting?

My dad loves cheesecake, so I’m adamant to put in a recipe that pays homage to his sweet tooth. New York has a love affair with two types of cheesecake, either Jewish or Italian. I’ve combined the two to produce a cheesecake with a Jewish-style texture and an Italian ingredient — mascarpone cheese. If using a springform cake pan, be sure to line the crust all the way to the top.

The Almost New York Cheesecake
 
Cheesecake may not seem like a healthy dessert, but try this version made with ricotta cheese or European Quark.
Author:
Recipe Type: Dessert, Baking
Serves: Makes one 22-cm (9-in) round cake
Ingredients
  • Cream cheese 750 g (1 lb 10 ½ oz)
  • Sugar 200 g (7 oz)
  • Eggs 3
  • Mascarpone cheese 225 g (8 oz)
  • Lemon zest from 1 lemon
  • Vanilla extract 1 tsp
Crust
  • Sweet Biscuits 200 g (7 oz)
  • Almonds 2 Tbsp
  • Butter 6 Tbsp, melted
Caramel Shards
  • Caster sugar 225 g (8 oz)
  • Water 2 Tbsp
Instructions
  1. Place a small tray of water on the lowest rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 230C (450F).
  2. Prepare crust. Blend biscuits and almonds in a food processor until they are crushed and resemble a sandy texture. Alternatively, pound with a mallet. Add half the butter and mix until you get a wet sandy consistency. Add remaining butter and mix until it comes together when you squeeze it between your hands. Press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom of a greased cake pan, or all around the springform pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  3. Prepare filling. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to mix well after each addition. Add mascarpone cheese, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Scrap the sides of the bowl and continue to mix until just combined and smooth.
  4. Pour filling into prepared crust and smooth the top with the back of a spatula.
  5. Place cheesecake on the rack above the water bath and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Reduce the temperature to 150C (300F) and continue to bake for another 30 minutes, until the cheesecake jiggles when moved.
  7. Leave to cool at room temperature before refrigerating.
  8. While waiting for cheesecake to chill, simmer ingredients for caramel shards over low heat until it turns a nice amber-gold colour. Drizzle hot liquid caramel onto a lined baking tray. Leave to cool until it hardens into crunchy caramel shards.
  9. Break caramel shards into pieces and use them to garnish cheesecake before serving.
Notes
Depending on the weather, the caramel shards may melt if left at room temperature, so prepare them only when ready to serve.

 

Makes one 22-cm (9-in) round cake

Cream cheese 750 g (1 lb 10 ½ oz)
Sugar 200 g (7 oz)
Eggs 3
Mascarpone cheese 225 g (8 oz)
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
Vanilla extract 1 tsp

Crust
Sweet Biscuits 200 g (7 oz)
Almonds 2 Tbsp
Butter 6 Tbsp, melted

Caramel Shards
Caster sugar 225 g (8 oz)
Water 2 Tbsp

  1. Place a small tray of water on the lowest rack in the oven. Preheat oven to 230?C (450?F).
  2. Prepare crust. Blend biscuits and almonds in a food processor until they are crushed and resemble a sandy texture. Alternatively, pound with a mallet. Add half the butter and mix until you get a wet sandy consistency. Add remaining butter and mix until it comes together when you squeeze it between your hands. Press the crumbs firmly onto the bottom of a greased cake pan, or all around the springform pan. Refrigerate until needed.
  3. Prepare filling. In a bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth and well combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to mix well after each addition. Add mascarpone cheese, lemon zest and vanilla extract. Scrap the sides of the bowl and continue to mix until just combined and smooth.
  4. Pour filling into prepared crust and smooth the top with the back of a spatula.
  5. Place cheesecake on the rack above the water bath and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Reduce the temperature to 150?C (300?F) and continue to bake for another 30 minutes, until the cheesecake jiggles when moved.
  7. Leave to cool at room temperature before refrigerating.
  8. While waiting for cheesecake to chill, simmer ingredients for caramel shards over low heat until it turns a nice amber-gold colour. Drizzle hot liquid caramel onto a lined baking tray. Leave to cool until it hardens into crunchy caramel shards.
  9. Break caramel shards into pieces and use them to garnish cheesecake before serving.

Note: Depending on the weather, the caramel shards may melt if left at room temperature, so prepare them only when ready to serve.

Michelle Tchea

Born and raised with a vegemite sandwich and chopsticks in the other, Michelle gathers her inspiration from artisan bakers, local farmers and talented chefs she meets on her travels. She writes for various international publications, covering food, health and nutrition, as well as luxury travel. Michelle's third book, My Little SoHo Kitchen celebrates her latest residence in SoHo, New York http://www.amazon.com/Little-SoHo-Kitchen-Michelle-Tchea/dp/981440862X

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