While I have a huge sweet tooth and I love to indulge, I'm a firm believer in moderation. And no matter how creamy, sugary, or chocolaty, desserts that have calorie counts in the quadruple digits just aren't worth it. Don't you agree?
Today's Cook the Book recipe, excerpted from Top Chef: The Cookbook, is for Low-Fat Berry Cheesecake. Created by chef Elia Aboumrad in season two, it was part of an entire meal that topped out at less than 500 calories. Health food staples such as a granola and flax cereal are combined with low-fat yogurt and cream cheese, and topped with sun-ripe berries and fresh mint. Trust me—you won't even miss the fat.
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- Yield:8 to 10 servings
- 1 cup organic plain granola (no fruit or nuts)
- 1 cup flax cereal (flakes; no fruits or nuts)
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin (measured from 2 envelopes)
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat strawberry yogurt
- Two 8-ounce packages low-fat cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups fresh blackberries
- 1 cup halved fresh strawberries
- Mint leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Put the granola and flax cereal into a large, heavy-duty zip-top bag. Gently crush with a rolling pin to form coarse crumbs.
In a medium bowl, lightly beat the egg whites. Add the cereal mixture and stir to combine. Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch spring-form pan and spread evenly over the bottom of the pan and a little up the sides, patting it down so it all stays together.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Pour 1/3 cup of water into a small saucepan and sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand for 10 minutes. Place over very low heat and stir until the gelatin dissolves.
In a food processor, combine the yogurt, cream cheese, and vanilla and blend until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the warm gelatin mixture in a thin stream through the hole in the lid.
Pour the filling over the crust. Cover with plastic and chill overnight to set. Run a dull knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, then release the pan sides and transfer to a serving platter.
Scatter the top with the berries and garnish with the mint leaves. Cut into wedges and serve.