Doesn't this cheesecake look lovely? It is made with local strawberries, picked last Saturday.
The crust is made with graham crackers and lemon Oreos. The filling has hand squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest lovingly grated by my spouse. And, there may be a secret ingredient in there, too.
Here's the story:
After making strawberry jam on Saturday, I decided I wanted to make a cheesecake. I made that decision while picking up a couple of last minute groceries on Saturday. I whipped out what spouse calls "the magic phone" (my iPhone 4S) to find a quick, low fat cheesecake recipe.
Now, please don't click away to another blog. Please! I fully realize that "cheesecake" and "low fat" should never appear in the same sentence. Or, in the same cheesecake. But, spouse and I both follow Weight Watchers, and we did need to make some concessions to maintaining our weight.
So, I found this recipe on Kraft's website. It's called Philadelphia 3 Step Low Fat Berry Cheesecake. Philadelphia? For my foreign readers, don't worry about it.
The key factors were
1. Three steps, about as many as I can handle (those steps, if my spouse isn't around, usually include "peel plastic back from frozen dinner. Then, microwave 5 minutes. Let sit." )
2. I had lots of strawberries - almost six pounds worth.
3. I was so in the mood for cheesecake.
It was time to
Have you ever tried fat free cream cheese and eaten it again? Me, neither. I bought neufchatel cheese instead. I decided, instead of three eggs, to use one egg and two egg whites. And the crust? 2 graham crackers for a 9 inch pie pan? Seriously? Why bother with crust at all? I decided to use a little less sugar. I kept the vanilla extract - cheesecake must have vanilla. There was also the lemon juice and the zest, which I will cover later.
I quickly turned to some lemon Oreos I had bought for the office to pad out the crust. The person of honor, who loves lemon everything, had decided she didn't like lemon Oreos after all, sticking me with about half the contents. They were getting soft, as Oreos will if they are open for more than 30 minutes. (OK, fess up, who keeps Oreos around for more than 30 minutes?). Just perfect for a crust. I also decided to add more graham crackers. This was a crust, after all.
Cookies went into the blender. Results (no butter or other fat) went into a metal pie pan, already prepared with organic canola oil. And then, into a large bowl, I dropped three packages of softened neufchatel cheese. American neufchatel cheese, that is, which is like a lower fat (but still plenty of fat) cream cheese.
Well, if you are waiting for one of those food posts where the author lovingly takes a picture of each step, this isn't going to be that post.
Things had gotten
Spouse squeezed the lemon juice and grated me some zest. He combined them into a...yes, you've guessed it. Another small, glass bowl. And they were both on the freezer top.
So when I got to the next step of my cheesecake, in went the...
I immediately (why is it always after you do something wrong?) realized my error and gave out a cry. "My cheesecake is ruined!", I wailed.
At the risk of insuring no one will ever visit my house again for dinner (or anything else), my spouse came over, surveyed the damage, and shrugged. "We can rescue it", he said. "And the lime won't hurt. Neither will the oil" I hadn't beaten the cheese yet, so the blocks were still intact. Most of the liquid had gathered under the bottom block, which was supported by the bowl in the way that the marinade and the cheese weren't really touching. Ok, a little, and there was some garlic on top of the neufchatel mound.
So spouse, oh so delicately, poured off the marinade, while I picked out the garlic, hoping that I was getting every little piece. "Don't worry", spouse said. "Remember when we ate that garlic ice cream at a local garlic festival? Wasn't it good?" (Yes, we are still married.) "And, the lime will just make it taste better."
So, prepared for the worst, I beat the cheese, added the lemon juice/zest, the sugar, the vanilla extract and then the eggs. Baked, cooled, chilled, added the strawberries mixed in with some of the low sugar jam I made the same day.
I think I detected one piece of garlic so far. But we are eating small pieces of the cheesecake, so we may run across some more.
So, that's the secret to a good cheesecake. Garlic marinade. Only kidding - I think!And it was pretty good. I think it's a bit dense - maybe next time I would add some no fat greek style yogurt. Or, another egg white.
Have you ever had a kitchen mishap?