Classic Cheesecake

served in ramekins

 

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I have adjusted this recipe to be lower in fat than the original. And to really simplify the cheesecake I put the batter into ramekins. This makes for a really nice individualized presentation and is so much easier than creating a crust. If you would like to make a crust, you can do so and just use this recipe for the filling.

 

Cooking cheesecake:

It is important to cook cheesecake at a low temperature and to never use the convection feature on your oven. Slow and steady wins the race here. Also, I generally use a hot water bath to bake all my cheesecakes. This means you place your cooking vessel in another vessel that already contains hot water. Then the whole thing goes in the oven and your cheesecake bakes while sitting in the water bath. This helps provide even cooking without any browning. Now remember this is a very delicate cake – do not slam the oven doors or bang the pan around. You want the cheesecake to set, not rise. Remember, slow and steady.

 

Yield: about 12 individual ramekins

 

Rating: Easiest cheesecake to make.  Plus low-ish fat and low sugar.  Tastes amazing. I can polish off all 12 myself.  If you want to add a crust you can by do a graham cracker or even a tart shell.

 

Ingredients:

3 boxes of low fat brick cream cheese (aka Neufchatel cheese or 1/3 less fat Philadelphia cream cheese)

¾ cup sugar

½ teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 whole eggs

4 egg whites

2  six ounce containers 2% plain Greek Yogurt (I only like Fage brand)

1/3 cup milk (low fat or whole)

Berries for garnish

 

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Do not use convection mode.

 

Put a kettle of water up to boil.

 

Working with a standing mixer fitted with your paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in a large mixing bowl, beat your cream cheese on medium speed until really soft and smooth – about 5 minutes. With the mixer running, slowly add your sugar and salt, and continue to beat the mixture for another 4 minutes until the cream cheese is light and fluffy.  Beat in the vanilla for 30 seconds. Add all the eggs and egg whites only one at a time beating for 30 seconds after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the yogurt and milk.

 

Ladle the batter into the ramekins.  They will not rise when you bake so it’s ok to fill them up.  Take all of your ramekins and place them in a large roasting pan (disposable is fine) or 2 oven to oven-to-table dishes (like a Pyrex).  Insert your trays into the oven and pour your hot water from the kettle into the pan so that the hot water comes up half way on the ramekins.  This is your hot water bath.

 

Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour, or until the cheesecake is set. You want it to be uniformly puffed and no longer jiggly.  However, I try to avoid any browning or cracking on top. If you think it needs more time you can check every 5 minutes to add an additional 15 minutes. Remove the cake and put aside to cool.

 

When ready to serve, garnish the top with fresh berries or whipped cream.

 

Plan ahead:

Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the cheesecake will stay in the refrigerator for 3 days or the freezer for up to 1 month. To defrost, put the ramekins in the fridge the day before.