Pumpkin Cheesecake with Praline SauceAdapted from caramel cheesecake created by Jan Curry, dessert winner in the GMA "Cut the Calories" Cookoff
3 Whole rectangle of graham crackers, made into crumbs
1 tbsp sugar
(You can substitute 10 Oreo cookies made into crumbs)
1 c (8oz) 1% low-fat cottage cheese
2 x 8oz packets of Neufchatel (30% less fat) cream cheese, softened.
1¼ c light brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 lb. solid pack pumpkin (not pie filling)
2tsp pumpkin or apple pie spice
¼ c flour
1 extra large egg
2 egg whites or 1/2c egg substitute
12 oz tin of evaporated milk (do not use skimmed evaporated milk)
2/3 c light brown sugar
4 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ c chopped, toasted pecans (optional) - bake in 350° oven for 10 minutes
Method1. Pre-heat oven to 325°, lightly spray 9 1/2" spring form pan with Pam on base and sides. Spraying sides prevents cheesecake top from cracking as it cools. Sprinkle graham cracker crumbs and sugar on base of pan. Put to one side.
2. In a food processor, process cottage cheese until smooth, with almost no lumps. Add Neufchatel cheese, brown sugar, vanilla and water. Add flour, blend until smooth, scraping down sides.
3.Add egg and egg whites or egg substitute, mix just until incorporated. Add pumpkin and spices. Blend. Carefully pour filling into pan. Smooth top and bake for about 50 minutes. The cheesecake should still wobble in the middle and not be totally firm when hot as it firms up as it cools. Turn oven off, and let cheesecake remain in oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool then chill for several hours.
4. For sauce: bring milk, brown sugar and vanilla to a boil, reduce heat and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. This prevents boil over and pan burning. Remove from heat, stir in pecans and cool. Cut cheesecake into portions and drizzle with sauce.
NotesThis is far lower in calories than a normal cheesecake but still tastes excellent. My favorite cheesecake has 1lb cream cheese, 3 eggs and 1 1/2 lbs. sour cream which is obviously far higher fat content. Cottage cheese can be substituted for sour cream in many recipes just by pureeing in food processor until almost a sour cream consistency with a tremendous saving in fat.
The addition of flour allows fewer eggs to be used as the thickening agent and again reduces cholesterol and fat content. 1 tbsp. instant coffee could be dissolved in the 1 tbsp.. water to produce a coffee caramel cheesecake.
Using no butter or margarine with the graham cracker base is a tremendous saving in fat and cholesterol since most graham cracker bases call for an entire plastic sleeve of crackers and about 1 stick (1/2 c or 4 oz) of butter. Then you find that unless you use a high amount of butter, most of the crumbs remain on the serving plate. Using this small quantity gives just an idea of crumbs without the fat content.
Oonagh Williams, proprietor of Royal Temptations, has a Culinary Arts degree, offers a Personal Chef service, teaches a variety of classes in International Cooking, and makes regular appearances on WMUR ABC Channel 9's Cooks' Corner. You can contact Oonagh at 603-424-6412.