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“One bite of this light and airy cranberry-lime cheesecake recipe and it will become your go-to recipe for dessert. Part-skim ricotta cheese adds a delicate texture and stands in for some of the higher-fat cream cheese. Be sure to use a large, wide piece of heavy-duty foil to wrap the pan—the foil helps prevent water from seeping into the cake as it bakes.”
1 cup graham cracker crumbs, preferably whole-wheat (see Tips)
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
2 8-ounce packages reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
2 limes, zested and juiced
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups fresh cranberries
½ cup water
⅓ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1To prepare cheesecake: Preheat oven to 325°F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Tightly wrap the outside of the pan, bottom and sides, with a large piece of heavy-duty foil. Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.
2Combine graham cracker crumbs and oil in a small bowl. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan.
3Process ricotta in a food processor (or blender) until smooth. Add cream cheese and puree until smooth. Add 2 teaspoons of the lime zest, 5 tablespoons of the lime juice, eggs, 1 cup sugar, vanilla and ½ teaspoon salt; process until smooth. Scrape into the prepared crust.
4Place the cheesecake in a roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come 1 inch up the side of the springform pan to create a hot water bath for the cake. Carefully transfer the roasting pan to the center of the oven. Bake the cheesecake until set around the edges but the center still jiggles slightly, 1¼ to 1½ hours.
5Transfer the roasting pan to a wire rack. Let the cheesecake cool in the water bath until the water is room temperature, about 2 hours.
6Remove the pan from the water bath. Remove the foil. Refrigerate, uncovered, until very cold, at least 3 hours.
7To prepare topping: Combine cranberries, water, ⅓ cup sugar and pinch of salt in a medium nonreactive saucepan (see Tips). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Combine 2 tablespoons lime juice and cornstarch; stir into the pan. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 1 minute. Let cool completely before spooning onto the cheesecake.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through Step 6, tightly wrap the cold cheesecake and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Hold topping at room temperature for up to 4 hours or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.
Equipment: 9-inch springform pan, heavy-duty foil
Make your own graham cracker crumbs, pulse graham crackers in a food processor or place in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. You'll need 6 to 7 graham crackers to make 1 cup of crumbs.
Be sure to use a nonreactive pan baking dish or bowl—stainless-steel, enamel-coated or glass—when cooking with acidic food (citrus, cranberries, tomatoes) to prevent the food from reacting with the pan. Reactive pans, such as aluminum and cast-iron, can impart off colors and/or flavors.