I came across a new book called, The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger. The name immediately drew my attention, as it goes right alongside my usual soap box speeches. :) I love her intro that talks about the fact that when we crave sugar, it’s because our bodies are looking for energy to sustain us. Since sugar is energy, it seems to always be the quickest thing to grab. Unfortunately, the boost lasts minimally, leaving us groggy, etc. Though I don’t tend to lean towards nutritionists, I really, really like her book because she doesn’t lecture [at all!] about what foods to eat, how much, your ideal weight, etc. It’s really a book full of great recipes that are healthy, both savory and sweet.
Along with my usual tactic, I flipped to the dessert section for my first run. After all, if someone can sell me on a healthy dessert, then I am sure I will enjoy all the other recipes in the book. Savory recipes can be healthy, as a general rule (when homemade, I mean). As soon as I saw the Ricotta Cheesecake recipe, I knew it was the challenge. You see, I’ve never made a cheesecake. I’ve heard more stories about failed cheesecake than anything else, so I’ve always shied away. However, as this was a ricotta cheese recipe, I knew it would be much easier (and much healthier!) than those made with mostly cream cheese.
Since I knew I didn’t want the full cheesecake (a 9″ cake, serving 8 people), I immediately proceeded to slash the recipe to a nice, two person recipe. As all small-batch recipes go, you need a few small-batch tools. In this case, I needed: Krups Convection Toaster Oven, one Kaiser Mini Springform Pan (or a set of four) and hand-held immersion blender with food processor attachment. As for the ingredient list, I conveniently had everything already in the house!
3.75 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese (1/4 of a 15-ounce container)
2 T reduced-fat sour cream (I suggest Daisy)
1 ounce reduced-fat cream cheese, softened (1/8 of the bar)
3 T granulated sugar
1 T all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon vanilla (I suggestpaste)
pinch of table salt
1/4 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 egg, well beaten (use only 3/4 of beaten egg; save remaining for omelette the next day)
Coat Mini Springform Pan with cooking spray.
Place the ricotta in a food processor attachment and process until smooth and creamy. Add remaining ingredients and process until smooth. Pour into prepared pan, smooth with spatula. Turn toaster oven to 325ºF with Convection Bake. Place on lower-rack and bake for 40 minutes, turning pan halfway through cooking time.
Transfer to cooking rack and allow to cool, then cover and chill for at least 3 hours before removing from pan.
—At this point, I stuck it in the freezer for 20 minutes because it looked and smelled WAY too good to wait anywhere near 3 hours!!—
I used some leftover lemon curd as a topping on the still slightly-warm cheesecake. As you may notice, there are no photos of the curd, finished cheesecake unmolded, or anything beyond. Ummm, that’s because I couldn’t wait. This is absolutely my new favorite dessert. It was the easiest thing I have ever made, I always have all these ingredients on hand, and it is so versatile!! A nice fruit sauce, chocolate sauce, poached pears, what have you—anything will make a great topping. Truly an amazing recipe.
I suggest you check out the book, The Food You Crave by Ellie Krieger
for this full recipe, and so many other fantastic desserts and meals!