Tuesday, November 20, 2012

~180 Calorie Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

This time of year always brings out my cravings for desserts, baked goodies, and, of course, PUMPKIN. And ESPECIALLY Cheesecake Factory's Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake. OHHH MAN.... That stuff is GOOD. But! Have you seen the nutrition information for it??!!? 1080 CALORIES PER SLICE!!


I really wanted to satisfy my craving, so I created my own version that was much healthier! I based my recipe off of these two recipes: using part of the "Eat Yourself Skinny" recipe to use as my crust and the filling for the "Bon Apetit" recipe to use as my filling (and made my own modifications).
I like using ricotta because it is much lighter and fluffier than cream cheese, sour cream, or mascarpone. Just be sure to blend it well, so the final result is smooth and not grainy (which seems to happen with ricotta). You don't get as much of the sour taste like in a traditional cheesecake, but I like that it makes the flavor and texture much lighter. Also, instead of a traditional crust, I just used the filling recipe for the pecan pies and pressed it into the bottom of a pan - this pecan layer will act as our crust!

**Note: for anyone that wants to make this with regular sugar, stevia, or any other sugar-substitute instead of Splenda, just make sure you conversions are correct so your final result has the right amount of sweetness! The granulated Splenda I used has an measures the same as normal sugar. But the Splenda brown sugar blend is twice as sweet as normal brown sugar, so if you are using normal brown sugar make sure to double what is in my recipe. If you are using stevia or any other sugar-substitute, convert appropriately based on what brand you are using.

Pumpkin Pecan Cheesecake

Crust Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup egg beaters
- 1/4 tsp maple extract
- 2 tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

 Filling Ingredients:
- 2 1/2 cups reduced fat ricotta
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp reduced fat cream cheese
- 1/3 cup Splenda, granulated
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- 2 tbsp Splenda brown sugar blend
- 1 tbsp unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line an 8 inch spring-form pan with parchment paper and wipe with some canola oil to prevent sticking.
2. Mix all crust ingredients in a bowl then press evenly in to the bottom of the spring-form pan.
3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until this layer has set. Set aside the crust and start working on the filling!
4. Change oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
5. Blend ricotta, cream cheese, Splenda, egg yolks, 1 whole egg, and 1/2 tsp salt. Be sure to blend well until it is very smooth or your filling may come out grainy.
6. Set aside 1/2 cup of this filling and pour the rest of the filling over the cooled pecan "crust."
7. Blend the remaining 1/2 cup of filling with the other whole egg, pumpkin puree, Splenda brown sugar blend, almond milk, pumpkin pie spice, and remaining 1/4 tsp salt.
8. Pour pumpkin filling in a layer over the ricotta filling and use a spoon to make decorative swirls.
9. Wrap entire cake pan tightly with foil (use one piece to cover the bottom to prevent water from seeping in and a separate piece to cover the top to trap in then later release steam).
10. Place cake pan in a roasting pan and fill roasting pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the cake pan.
11. Bake for 1 hour.
12. Open the foil over the top of the cheesecake to release steam every 15 minutes then reseal foil. The cake will need an additional 45minutes - 1 hour in the oven until the cheesecake is set.
13. Remove foil and allow to cool completely to set. It is best if it also has time to cool in the refrigerator to set completely.

I sliced pretty small slices (a good size for me) - getting about 16 small slices out of the entire recipe. This comes out to 178 calories per slice!!!! MUCH better than Cheesecake Factory's 1080 calories per slice!!

I liked having mine with a drizzle of some sugar-free caramel syrup and some Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Rooibos tea!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! Stay healthy! :)

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