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Pear & Ginger Cheesecake

April/May 2006

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Softened dried pears give this low-fat cheesecake much of its body. For the best taste, let it rest for 24 hours in the refrigerator.


Pear & Ginger Cheesecake

Makes: 12 servings

Active Time:

Total Time:

Ingredients

  • 6 dried pear halves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup crystallized ginger
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup low-fat granola, (without dried fruit)
  • 16 ounces nonfat or low-fat cottage cheese, (1 3/4 cups)
  • 16 ounces nonfat cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
  2. Place pears, ginger and water in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer, cover and cook until the liquid has been absorbed and the fruit is softened, 10 to 14 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, process granola in a food processor or blender until finely ground. Pour it into the prepared pan; turn and tilt the pan to coat the sides and press down into the bottom to make an even layer.
  4. Transfer the pear mixture to a food processor; process until a coarse paste forms, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Let cool for 10 minutes. Add cottage cheese and cream cheese; process until combined. Add granulated and brown sugars; process until smooth, scraping the sides as necessary. With the processor running, add eggs one at a time. Add flour and vanilla; process until creamy. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Rap the pan against the counter a few times so the granola on the sides falls onto the batter, forming a decorative edge.
  5. Bake the cheesecake until set, without a jiggle at the center when the pan is tapped, about 50 minutes. Turn the oven off. Let the cheesecake stand in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1 hour.
  6. Transfer the cheesecake to a wire rack to cool for 1 hour. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. | Equipment: 9-inch springform pan
  • Cake-Baking Tips
  • When using cake pans, they must be greased and floured to create a thin layer of protection against the oven's heat. For greater convenience, use a cooking spray that has flour in the mix, such as Pam for Baking, Baker's Joy or Crisco No-Stick Flour Spray.
  • Whole-wheat pastry flour has less gluten-forming potential than regular whole-wheat flour, making it a better choice for tender baked goods.
  • To properly measure flour when baking, use a spoon to lightly scoop flour from its container into a measuring cup. Once in the measuring cup, use a knife or other straight edge to level the flour with the top of the cup. If the measuring cup is dipped directly into the container—a common mistake—the flour will be packed into the cup and result in extra flour being added to the recipe, yielding tough, dense baked goods.
  • Room-temperature butter for a batter is one of the biggest culinary missteps. In fact, butter must be below 68°F to trap air molecules and build structure. Otherwise, the fat will be liquefied and the cake will be flat. To get "cool" butter: Cut refrigerated butter into chunks and let them sit in a bowl for 5 minutes before beating.
  • Eggs must be at room temperature for the proteins to unwind enough to support the cake's crumb. Either set the eggs out on the counter for 15 minutes or submerge them in their shells in a bowl of lukewarm (not hot) water for 5 minutes.
  • Although you cannot overbeat the eggs, sugar and butter, you can overbeat the flour. If you do, you'll develop the gluten and create a quick bread rather than a layer cake. Beat the flour just until there are no white grains of undissolved flour visible but not until the batter is smooth.

Nutrition

Per serving: 209 calories; 2 g fat (1 g sat, 1 g mono); 58 mg cholesterol; 35 g carbohydrates; 13 g protein; 1 g fiber; 384 mg sodium; 153 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 2

Exchanges: 2 other carbohydrates, 1 very lean meat


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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Moderate
Total Time
More than 1 hour
Servings
8 or more
Preparation/ Technique
Bake
Meal/Course
Dessert
Ethnic/Regional
American
Publication
April/May 2006
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