From America's Test Kitchen Season 7: Lighter Cheesecake
Of all the desserts that people long for in low-fat form, cheesecake is probably the most popular—but it’s also the most difficult to lighten. Why? One modest slice of cheesecake boasts nearly 600 calories and about 40 grams of fat. Start removing the fat and sugar in the cake and flavor and texture can suffer terribly, as evidenced by the light recipes we tried. These cheesecakes were simply inedible—rubbery, gummy, and chock-full of artificial flavors. We set out to develop a light cheesecake worth eating.
Three key steps produced our desired results. We replaced full-fat cream cheese and sour cream with a combination of light cream cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, and low-fat yogurt cheese. And to ensure a firm, not loose, filling, we drained the cottage cheese—this rid it of excess moisture. We cut the fat further by using a reduced number of whole eggs instead of whole eggs and yolks. And, finally, we pureed the filling in a food processor for an ultrasmooth texture. The result? A rich, creamy cheesecake with about half the calories and three-quarters less fat than the original.
Be sure to use light cream cheese in this recipe—it is most commonly sold in tubs, not blocks. You can buy low-fat yogurt cheese (also called labne) or make your own with low-fat yogurt—allow at least 12 hours for the yogurt to drain. For a more lemony flavor, use the higher amount of lemon zest.