Saturday Do-It-Yourself – Almost Guilt-Free Cheesecake

by TSGal on Sat, July 20th, 2013 at 11:00 am

Happy Weekend!  Last Saturday we splurged on decadent Oreo Peanut Butter Brownies so it is only fitting that this Saturday we ease up on the sugar with this Almost Guilt-Free Cheesecake recipe submitted by mollyparnis.  But before we get started baking – don’t forget to send in your favorite recipe or DIY activity for a shot at 500 Swag Bucks!  I’ve got inside information that this is a pretty easy win, all you have to do is send your submission to contests@swagbucks.com.  Include a picture or two and it increases your chance of being featured in an upcoming Saturday blog post!

Almost Guilt-Free Cheesecake by mollyparnis

 

 

I’m sharing one fantastic almost guilt-free cheesecake recipe. It uses the natural zero calorie sugar substitute zsweet, the best tasting and most versatile no calorie sweetener I’ve tried. This recipe makes a huge cheesecake but it freezes very well so you can cut it into individual serving portions and pop them in the freezer for later. The portions defrost quickly in the fridge maybe an hour or so before they’re ready to eat. I make a low-carb nut crust using either ground almonds or hazelnuts (hazelnuts are my favorite but some people find their flavor a little strong). You will still get some fat calories from the cream cheese and sour cream, but the sugar and carb count is cut way back by eliminating sugar and a graham cracker crust. I wouldn’t recommend using low-fat cream cheese or sour cream. If you want a drier New York style cheesecake you can add five eggs instead of three. I usually prefer a drier cheesecake but for this particular recipe I think it’s better using just three.
This recipe is easily adaptable and I plan on trying more flavors — I’m thinking blackberry next, then raspberry (blueberry, and lime would be good too). If you want to try chocolate you’ll have to experiment, I’m guessing that would require adding more zsweet to the recipe. And you may also want to add 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder to the nut crust.
If anyone is thinking “I’m going to make my favorite angel food cake using zsweet think again. Zsweet has a low melting point and liquifies quickly during cooking, so it’s not suitable for any recipe that requires leavening.
Strawberry Cheesecake
Filling Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (3 – 8 oz packages)
1 1/3 cups zsweet
3 eggs  (see note below)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons lemon juice
16 ounces sour cream
1/2 cup plain frozen strawberries, without any sugar or syrup added, thawed and pureed (reserve a few for garnish)
9 inch spring form pan (releasing sides and a removable bottom)
*NOTE: For a drier New York style cheesecake, add five eggs instead of three. I usually prefer a drier cheesecake but for this particular recipe I think it’s better using just three.
Topping Ingredients:
1 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons zsweet
Reserve a few of the better looking whole frozen strawberries
Low Carb Nut Crust Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups ground almonds (or hazelnuts, pecans, walnuts)
2 tablespoons zsweet
4 tablespoons melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pulse nuts in food processor until ground fairly finely but with a little texture left. Add zsweet, melted butter and pulse to combine. Gently press the mixture into a 9 inch spring form pan to form a crust. Bake at 350 degrees for ten minutes then remove and completely cool before adding the filling.
Prepare the filling:
Let cream cheese and eggs come to room temperature.
Beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually add the zsweet and continue beating until creamy. Add one egg at a time and beat well after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is thoroughly blended and smooth. Add the vanilla and lemon juice an mix well. Add the sour cream and beat until smooth.
Transfer 1 cup batter to a separate bowl and stir in the pureed strawberries — set aside.
Pour the remaining batter on top of the baked crust. Pour strawberry batter on top of the regular batter and lightly swirl the batters together. Bake on a center rack for 1 hour and 10 minutes at 325 degrees. Do not to open the oven while baking. You can also use a water bath  to help prevent cracking but its not necessary.
When done, turn off the oven and prop open the oven door. Leave the cake in the oven for one hour then remove it and run a knife around the edge to prevent cracking as it cools. Spread the sour cream mixture on top of the cheesecake — cool to almost room temperature on a rack outside the oven then cover tightly with foil. Refrigerate for 24 hours (DO NOT skip the step of waiting 24 hours, this cake needs to season before eating).
Sour Cream Topping:
Mix 1 cup sour cream and 2 Tablespoons zsweet until smooth.
When ready to serve after the cake has been refrigerated for 24 hours, decorate with the reserved whole frozen strawberries or fresh strawberries if you want to buy those for the garnish.
Thanks for sharing with us mollyparnis!  Not only do we now have a great dessert recipe to try out but some good feedback on artificial sweeteners like zsweet.  What about you, Swag Nation, have you found any good alternate sweeteners for your baked goods?  Share your feedback in the comments!
Have a berry good weekend!
~TSGal
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