Saturday, 19 April 2014 - , , , 3 comments

RECIPE : American Style Baked Vanilla Cheesecake

As you know, I love making your dreams come true and showing you that anything is possible even if you're trying to lose or maintain a healthy weight.
You don't need to feel deprived-there's always a solution to our cravings! So when my friend Jill told me that the food she missed the most from her pre weightloss days was baked vanilla cheesecake, I just had to rise to the challenge!


My baked vanilla cheesecake has a dense, velvet-textured creaminess on a lovely sweet biscuit base.
Most shop-bought American-style cheesecakes start at around 9-10pp/approx.400kcal for a small slice.
Mine is 4pp/approx.160kcal per slice!


My recipe has a traditional digestive biscuit base, but I've found a clever way to lower the fat content significantly by using 30% reduced fat biscuits and binding them with melted marshmallows instead of butter!
Read on, you'll see how to do it.
The cake is very easy to make but it takes time to bake and more importantly, time to cool down and chill before eating. This is really important otherwise the texture just won't be right-however desperate you may be to sink your teeth in!


YOU WILL NEED : (Serves 8)

8 reduced fat digestive biscuits
30g mini marshmallows
3 eggs
50g caster sugar
250g Quark
1 tablespoon vanilla extract/essence

A loose-bottomed cake tin 8"/20cms


How to make the base

Make sure that you use a loose-bottomed cake tin for this recipe as the finished cake is very moist and hard to handle!

Mist the inside of the tin with Frylight oil.

Count out 8 reduced fat digestive biscuits and pop them in a polythene bag.

Bash them with a rolling pin until you have fine crumbs.

Tip into a bowl. Any large pieces of biscuit remaining can be broken down with a pestle or wooden spoon.

Now for the clever part! 
Add the mini marshmallows and pop in the microwave for 30 seconds until they puff up.

Use a fork to mix the crumbs into the melted marshmallow. It's very sticky at this stage but keep going until you can't incorporate any more crumbs.
It forms a kind of crummy 'dough'.

With clean hands, keep turning and pushing the crumb 'dough' into the remaining crumbs, pressing down so that they stick to any exposed marshmallow.

Keep going until you have a very dry but pliable mixture. If you have a few biscuit crumbs left in the bowl, don't worry, you can add them later.

Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture out into a rough circle to fit the base of your tin. It doesn't need to be perfect.

Press it into the tin. Don't worry if you have any small spaces.

Any remaining crumbs can be sprinkled over to fill the gaps.

Pop the base to one side.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas4.


How to make the cheesecake

Separate the eggs, put the yolks to one side.
Whisk the egg whites in a large clean bowl until firm.
Gradually incorporate the sugar, whisking each time.

You should have a lovely, thick meringue-like mixture. Place to one side.

 Pop the Quark and vanilla extract into another large mixing bowl.

Add the egg yolks.

 Mix well with a wooden spoon until smooth and silky.

Gently fold in the whisked egg white mixture one generous dollup-ful at a time! Use a large metal spoon to do this in a figure-of-eight motion. Dont beat the mixture, you want to keep as much air in it as possible.

When everything is beautifully blended, gently spoon the mixture over the biscuit base.

Using a spatula, smooth the mixture right to the edges.
Bake for 15 minutes at
then once a lovely golden colour, turn the oven down to
and bake for a further 25 minutes.
Turn off the oven, open the door slightly and allow the cake to cool in the oven for as long as possible.

The cake will be this beautiful rich caramel colour. Don't worry if it cracks slightly. It will also have a 'mousse'-type appearance, which will sink and condense down slightly as the cake cools.
Once cooled in the oven, place in the fridge to chill for around 2-4 hours.

Chilling thoroughly not only improves the texture of the cake but will make it easy to remove from the tin.
Simply run a knife around the edge of the cake then push the loose base up. I always leave my cheesecake on the metal base on the serving plate as it is quite delicate to handle.

Cut into eight equal slices. I love the cracked, rustic appearance. You could always dust with a tiny sprinkling of icing sugar if this bothers you.

Serve simply with fresh strawberries.


Slimmified cheesecake!



Try serving with a WeightWatchers Greek style lemon yoghurt, or mix some Total 0% with some lemon curd.


Try adding lemon zest to the cheesecake mixture before baking.


Top with sliced banana, strawberries, raspberries or blueberries.


Try WeightWatchers biscuits in the base. You'll need 4 packets of 2 biscuits. I used ginger and lemon flavour which was delicious. Chocolate chip would be good too. 
This doesn't affect the propoints per slice.


For a denser, 'heavier' textured cheesecake, add 200g Lightest Philadelphia to the Quark mixture and beat well to remove any lumps. Bake more slowly at 140C/275F/Gas1 for 1 hour as this version cracks more easily.
This adds another 1pp/40kcal to each serving.
(My taste testers all preferred the original, lighter version!)



Leo35 24 November 2014 at 10:15

We tasted your cheesecake, above, it was simply delicious!! I think we had a slice of the one which had Lightest Philadelphia added - superb! Thanks.

faye and david 11 December 2014 at 07:23

Hi im doing weight watchers plan and would like to try making the cheesecake could I use sweetner instead of sugar and what else could I use for replacement of mellows im a diabetic and try to keep my blood low :) any input would be fab many thanks faye

Janey 11 December 2014 at 08:36

Hi there Faye and David! Without experimenting I couldn't be sure this would work but you should be able to substitute the sugar for sweetener ( you will need less as artificial sweetener is much sweeter than sugar) . You should be able to diabetic marshmallows, if not, replace with a little low fat spread . Hope this helps love Janey xx

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