Yes, cheesecake can be fat-free

With summer just under three months away, I know there are a lot of people starting to get worried about their bathing suit bodies—or lack thereof.
There not only is be an influx of people at the local gym in January, because of newly-made resolutions, but also as we approach warmer weather.
Let’s face it, however. We all love to indulge every now and then, so I thought I would share with you a recipe for fat-free cheesecake.
I wrote this recipe last year for the cooking shows I was hosting with fitness guru Sharon Mann at the West Coast Women’s Show. I needed a recipe that she not only would approve of, but also recommend for healthy lifestyles.
This recipe was perfect. It is not traditional cheesecake, since it is not baked nor served in cake/pie form, but the taste resembles the creamy complexity that many love to treat themselves with for dessert.
Rather, it is served appetizer-style in small bites—great for a cocktail party where people can manage with one hand to “pop” them into their mouths.
This is extremely helpful when a drink is being held in the other hand and there is an abundance of standing and socializing.
If you prefer a more traditional “single serving” dessert, then convert the recipe by putting the graham wafers in the bottom of small individual ramekins, top with the chilled mixture, and garnish as mentioned.
It is important to not put the mixture on the graham wafers too far in advance as it will only make them soggy. Leaving them as crisp as possible helps to mimic more of a traditional cheesecake crust.
Even if you dislike cottage cheese, I dare you to try this recipe. Pureeing it in a food processor will smooth out the texture and the added ingredients will make it very flavourful.
Many “cottage cheese-haters” have told me personally that they love this recipe.
When my wife and teenage daughter first taste-tested this recipe, all they could say was “Wow”. I hope you enjoy indulging with very little guilt. . . .
< *c>Fat-free
< *c>Cheesecake Bites
(Recipe created by Chef Dez/Gordon Desormeaux)
If you love eating cheesecake, but are concerned with the amount of fat, calories, and cholesterol that traditional cheesecake offers, then this may be the solution.
Pureeing low-fat cottage cheese with lemon juice and sweetener gives it the feel of cream cheese and the taste of cheesecake. The graham wafer pieces replace the butter-laden crust that usually accompanies cheesecake.
Even eating six of these tasty morsels is still only 96 calories and less than 2 g of fat:
1 cup, 1% light cottage cheese
3 tablespoons Splenda brand baking sweetener
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely chopped lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 graham wafers, each broken into four equal pieces
Whole small berries, or thinly-sliced strawberries, for garnish
Add all of the ingredients, except for the graham wafers and berries, into a food processor.
Puree on high speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and process on high speed for another 30-60 seconds, or until the mixture is smooth.
Chill in the refrigerator for two or more hours to firm up the mixture.
Top each of the wafer pieces with two teaspoons of the cheese mixture and a small berry or strawberry slice.
Makes 24
(Each cheesecake bite has roughly 16 calories, 1.5 g protein, 0.3 g fat, and no trans fats).
Send your food/cooking questions to dez@chefdez.com or P.O. Box 2674, Abbotsford, B.C., V2T 6R4.
Chef Dez is a food columnist, culinary instructor, and cooking show performer. Visit him at www.chefdez.com

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