Ah, cheesecake. I’ve already admitted that I consider it to be the ultimate indulgence. If I’ve committed to having dessert, a sinfully rich, not-too-sweet New York Cheesecake with raspberry topping is just something I can’t pass up. The magenta-hued berries offer the perfect pairing for this delightful dish. Their tart flavour beautifully balances the mellow creaminess of the cheesecake and their vibrant colour offers a visually arresting contrast against the warm white base. Divine decadence! And I still enjoy (and advocate for) having a full-fat, authentic slice of cheesecake heaven from time to time (ALL things in moderation). But what if I told you that I had a healthy cheesecake recipe? One that was gluten-free, low in fat, high in protein, free of added sugar but still full of rich, creamy cheesecake texture and flavour? You might jump for joy; you might weep with happiness. You might even double over in laughing disbelief. But, if you love cheesecake as much as I do, once you picked yourself up, any chance of a healthy version would have you:
Again, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably already skipped ahead to the recipe to see for yourself how such a miracle could be humanly possible. So, I’ll dispense with the pleasantries. I’m not kidding guys, you could have this cheesecake ANY time of the day or night, as part of ANY snack or meal (including breakfast!). C’mon, let’s be honest here, who has never had cheesecake for breakfast? Or at least thought about it? Uh-huh, I’m not the only one. But just look at those ingredients! It’s like having a bowl of high-protein Greek yogurt sprinkled with raspberries, a plate of scrambled eggs (with extra egg whites for good measure) and a few graham crackers on the side. Sounds like a balanced, healthy breakfast to me!
With no further ado (because this recipe is a big enough “to-do” by itself):
Healthy Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake (Gluten-free, High-protein, Low-fat, No added sugar)
Cheesecake lovers, rejoice! Let’s all get happy about this high-protein, low-fat, gluten-free recipe that swirls the fresh flavour of tart raspberries through a creamy-cool cheesecake-style filling on a classic graham cracker crust.
1, 8″ or 8 1/2″ round springform pan
1, 9″ x 9″ square baking dish
Mini food processor or blender
Electric whisk (or hand whisk)
For the crust:
1 1/4 cups (105g) graham cracker crumbs (or crushed graham crackers)- make sure these are gluten-free, if you require (I used Kinnikinnick Foods Graham-Style Crumbs*)
2 tbsp (28g) coconut oil, melted – I used Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil*, but any brand should do
1 tsp (5mL or 4g) butter extract
Pinch of sea salt
For the cheesecake filling:
2.5 cups (570g) plain non-fat Greek yogurt
3 large eggs
3 large egg whites (100g)
1 tbsp (15g) cornstarch, organic preferred (I recommend Edward & Sons Organic Cornstarch*)
4 packets powdered stevia – I used NuNaturals NuStevia White Stevia Powder Packets* (please consult a stevia/sweetener conversion chart if using a different sweetener or liquid stevia)
For the raspberry swirl:
1 cup (123g) fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, washed
Optional if you like your fruit and/or cheesecake on the sweet side: 2 packets powdered stevia (see notes on stevia, above)
To make the crust:
1. Preheat a conventional oven to 350F (185C) or a convection oven to 325F (165C).
2. Stir all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl, working until all crumbs are moistened and mixture starts to come together.
3. Press crumb mixture firmly into the base of the springform pan (pro tip: use a spatula/rubber scraper or the back side of a large spoon to flatten and firmly press the mixture for an even crust).
4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool while preparing the filling. Leave oven pre-heated for baking cheesecake.
5. Once pan is cool enough to handle, wrap with aluminum foil to ensure no water leaks into the pan during baking of the cheesecake in a water bath (see To make Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake, below).
To make the cheesecake filling:
1. While the crust is baking, begin preparing the filling.
2. Whisk Greek yogurt, eggs and egg whites in a large mixing bowl until fully combined, scraping down sides as required.
3. Add cornstarch and powdered stevia and whisk at high speed (or by hand) for 30-60 seconds.
4. Pour cheesecake filling on top of baked crust in prepared foil-wrapped pan, as above.
To make the raspberry swirl:
1. Heat the raspberries and powdered stevia, if using, in a microwave-safe bowl or in a small saucepan over medium heat until juices are released and berries lose their shape (30-45 seconds on High in microwave; 3-5 minutes in saucepan).
2. Allow to cool slightly, then pour berries AND juice into mini food processor or blender and process until smooth.
3. Use a spoon to dollop raspberry purée on top of cheesecake filling.
4. Drag a butter knife in lines through the filling to create desired “swirl” pattern, taking care not to cut into the crust.
To make Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake:
1. Fill 9″ x 9″ baking pan with 1/2″ – 1″ of cool water.
2. Place foil-wrapped springform pan with completed cheesecake filling and raspberry swirl inside baking pan (water level will rise so ensure baking pan does not overflow).
3. Bake for 55-75 minutes until edges of cheesecake are set but middle is still shiny and wet-looking and jiggles slightly when pan is moved. Note that there IS a wide variation in baking time depending on individual oven settings. Check early and often. If top of cheesecake begins to darken/brown before cheesecake is set, cover with aluminum foil and continue baking. Remove foil and check progress periodically. Do NOT over-bake. The center of the cheesecake *should* still be “jiggly” as the water bath will continue cooking the center after the cheesecake is removed from the oven.
4. Remove both pans from oven and allow the cheesecake to sit in the water bath until cooled.
5. Place the springform pan in the refrigerator until fully chilled.
6. Serve chilled and amaze yourself and your guests with this cheese-free cheesecake!
NUTRITION INFORMATION (1/8th of recipe)
Calories: 188 Fat: 6.8g Carbohydrates: 19.1g Sugar: 6.9g Fiber: 1.2g Protein: 12.1g
Have it for dessert; have it for breakfast; have it whenever your heart desires! Be warned, if you serve this to guests 1) they won’t believe it’s healthy and 2) you won’t have any leftovers!
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Some process shots: