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5 holiday desserts made lighter

By: Enrique Gili on Dec. 18, 2012, 4:09 p.m.
Ricotta Cheesecake

Photo: Enrique Gili

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Ricotta Cheesecake

Here's how you can have your cheesecake and eat it too: Swap out high calorie ingredients for reduced calorie versions.

Prep time: 30 minutes  

Total time: 2 hours plus refrigeration  

Yield: 8-10 slices

Ricotta Cheesecake


  • 10 graham crackers, crushed
  • 1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup white sugar, divided
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus extra
  • 10 ounces part skim milk ricotta cheese
  • 16 ounces reduced calorie cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 ounces honey, plus extra
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 ounce toasted pine nuts, optional garnish
Cooking directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Wrap outside of 9-inch springform cake pan with two layers of aluminum foil, crimping edges tightly.
  3. In medium mixing bowl combine graham crackers, 1/4 cup sugar, and butter until moistened. Press firmly into bottom of pan, eliminating gaps. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes. Allow to cool.
  4. While crust cools, blend ricotta in a food processor until smooth. Add cream cheese in small portions. Blend until smooth.
  5. Add 2/3 cup sugar, honey and lemon zest. Blend until smooth. To ensure consistency, scrape down sides of bowl occasionally.
  6. Add eggs individually and pulse until just blended.
  7. Lightly coat sides of pan with butter. Slowly pour contents of food processor into cake pan until evenly distributed. Bake until golden brown around the edges and the center is set but jiggles slightly, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool at room temperature 1 hour.
  8. Transfer to refrigerator, cool 2 hours before serving. Drizzle with honey and garnish with pine nuts.