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The ultimate makeover: New York cheesecake

Angela Nilsen rises to the ultimate challenge - keeping a cheesecake creamy and decadent while making it healthier and lighter

  • Prep: 25 mins
    Cook: 45 mins
    Plus 3½ hrs cooling and overnight chilling
  • Cuts into 10 slices
  • Easy
  • Cuts into 10 slices
  • Easy
  • Calories 315
  • Carbohydrates 37
  • Saturated Fat 8
  • Sugar 28
  • Protein 9
  • Fat 15
  • Fibre 1
  • Salt 0.89

Nutrition per serving

  • Calories 315
  • Carbohydrates 37
  • Saturated Fat 8
  • Sugar 28
  • Protein 9
  • Fat 15
  • Fibre 1
  • Salt 0.89

Ingredients

  • 35g butter
  • 85g reduced-fat digestive biscuits, finely crushed
  • 2 x 300g/11oz tubs light soft cheese, we used Philadelphia cheese, at room temperature
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp cornflour
  • 1½ tsp finely grated lemon zest, preferably using a Microplane grater
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs, room temperature, beaten
  • 150g fromage frais
  • 25g golden caster sugar
  • 225g punnet blueberries
  • ½ tsp finely grated lime zest
  • 100g fromage frais

Tip

Making it healthier
A slice of traditional cheesecake contains 519 kcalories, 38g fat (21g of which is saturated fat). My version contains 315 kcalories, 15g fat (8g is saturated fat). We made a thinner crust, used low-fat creme cheese and fromage frais instead of sour cream.

Method

  1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Line a 20cm loose-bottomed or springform tin with baking parchment and stand it on a baking sheet. Melt the butter and stir in the biscuit crumbs. Press the mix into the base of the tin, then bake for 10 mins. Remove from the oven and raise the temperature to 240C/fan 220C/gas 9.

  2. For the filling, beat the soft cheese just until smooth with an electric hand mixer on low speed. Gradually add the sugar, also on a low speed, then the cornflour without overbeating. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Slowly whisk in the lemon zest and juice, the vanilla, then the eggs. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then finally whiskin the fromage frais. The mixture should be smooth and quite runny.

  3. Pour the filling over the crumb base. Jiggle the tin to level the mix and squash surface bubbles with the back of a teaspoon. Bake for 10 mins, then lower the heat to 110C/fan 90C/gas ¼. Bake another 25 mins and, if you are using an electric oven, leave the oven door slightly ajar for the first 3 mins. After the 25 mins, shake the tin and there should be a wobble in the centre of the filling. If left until firmer it is more likely to crack later. Turn off the oven, keep the door closed and leave the cake in for 2 hrs. Open the door, loosen the top edges of the cake with a round bladed knife, then leave in the oven to cool gently for another 1-1½ hrs.

  4. Meanwhile, put the sugar for the topping in a small pan with 3 tbsp water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then let it bubble for 1-2 mins to make a thin syrup. Tip in the blueberries, gently stir and cook for about 1 min, just to slightly burst the fruit and release the purple juices. Stir in the lime zest, then leave to cool.

  5. Spread the fromage frais over the top of the cooled cheesecake. Cover with foil and chill for at least 4 hrs (or overnight). Remove from the fridge 1 hr before serving, loosen the sides of the cheesecake completely, remove from the tin, then slide onto a plate, peeling off the paper as you do. Slice with a sharp knife and serve each wedge topped with a spoonful of syrupy blueberries.

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