Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Recipe: Low-carb / sugar-free pumpkin cheesecake

This delicious recipe is courtesy of Laura Dolson's excellent low-carb About.com website. Laura always offers tons of great advice. The original recipe is posted here.

(Note: My comments are in italics.)

Pumpkin cheesecake can make a nice change from pumpkin pie. This version is richly spiced. The crust is thicker than the regular low-carb cheesecake, but if you want a thinner crust, the other one can be used. If you want a cheesecake that isn't as rich, you can use lower fat cream cheese, though I haven't specifically tested it with more than 1 package of the cream cheese being low fat.

Ingredients:

Crust:

- 1.5 cups almond meal (I actually used pecan meal and it suited the recipe very well!)
- Half teaspoon each of ginger and cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 4 tablespoons sugar substitute (I used granular Splenda)

Filling:

- 3 8-oz packages cream cheese at room temperature
- 2.5 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger
- 1/3 teaspoon allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1.5 cups sugar substitute, or to taste (I used Sweetzfree, but you can also use granular Splenda or something else that you prefer)
- 1 can (about 15 oz) pumpkin (use pure pumpkin, NOT pumpkin pie filling)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 5 eggs, preferably room temperature (I used large eggs)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream (I used whipping cream)

Preparation:

Heat oven to 375 F.

Prepare springform pan: I (Laura) like to put a piece of parchment paper over the bottom of the pan -- no need to cut it to size, just snap it into place when you put the tighten the sides. Wrap the bottom and sides of the pan in heavy-duty foil. You'll be baking the cheesecake with the springform pan set in a baking pan half-full of boiling water, so you want to protect from leaks. (This is a "bain marie". Click here for a photo.)

1) Combine ingredients for crust, and press into the bottom of a springform pan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until fragrant and beginning to brown.

2) Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Scrape sides of bowl and beaters. This step will be repeated several times and is important. The mixture will gradually become lighter, and the denser stuff has a tendency to cling to the bowl. You won't be able to incorporate it as well later, so keep scraping. (I was very careful about doing this. Don't skip this step. I did it several times to ensure a very very smooth texture. Trust me, you'll thank yourself in the end.)

3) Add spices and sweetener. Beat again, scrape again.

4) Add pumpkin and vanilla. Beat well, scrape.

5) Add 3 eggs. Beat well (about a minute), scrape.

6) Add the other 2 eggs and cream and beat another minute. Pour mixture into pan over crust.

7) Place pan in a baking pan and pour boiling water around the sides, about halfway up ("bain marie"). Lower the oven temperature to 325 F. and bake for for 60 to 90 minutes, checking often after an hour. When the cake is firm to touch but slightly soft in the centre, or the centre reaches 150 to 155 F, remove from oven.

8) Let the cheesecake cool to room temperature, or up to 3 hours. Cover and chill, ideally for another 3 to 4 hours. Remove sides from pan after cooled completely. Run a knife around the edge of the pan to prevent sticking before you remove the sides.

Nutritional Information for full fat cream cheese, at 16 servings: Each serving has 4 grams effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber, 5 grams protein, and 285 calories.

This is a DELICIOUS recipe and got rave reviews from friends and co-workers with whom I shared the finish product. Try it!

Notice the topping in my photo? No, it's not cherries... it's cranberries!

This is very easy to make and goes as a topping for this cheesecake recipe very well.

- 1 bag of cranberries (12 oz / 340 g)
- 1 cup equivalent sugar substitute (if using 1 cup of Davinci's sugar-free syrup, no need to add water)
- 1 cup water
- 1/8 heaping teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/8 heaping teaspoon ground cloves

Cook at medium-high heat stirring constantly for 5-10 minutes. (5-6 minutes is usually plenty.) You'll notice the cranberries will pop and the mixture will thicken substantially. Cool and place in refrigerator for several hours until set. You can use this as cranberry sauce for use with turkey or chicken dishes, or use it as a dessert topping. It goes beautifully with this cheesecake recipe!

2 comments:

Rod said...

It sounds "Gluten Free" also!

Brian Cormier said...

Yes, it would be!