Thursday, June 20, 2013

(Lighter) Cherry Cheesecake with a Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust and Lemon-Honey Topping

When we went to Nashville for some fun Southern Vegetarian cookbook stuff a couple of weeks ago -- oh my goodness, will we ever be quiet about it? probably not for a while yet! -- we caught up with our friends Lilly and Jason. Of course, as a break from all the craziness and running around, we all decided to cook dinner together Friday night at their house. We are rarely too tired to cook! Lilly made an amazing sour cream blackberry pie for us, and it was so good that we took it as inspiration for this cheesecake.

Now, traditional cheesecake can be a bit...heavy. As a vegetarian, it's hard to justify choosing it at times since we (some of us? me in particular?) eat a little cheese on everything, and generally, we've already had our cheese allotment before it's even dessert time. So, here's a lighter cheesecake that's trying its best to lean in the right direction. Fresh cherries in the cheesecake and pistachios in the crust add some wholeness to this, and the Lemon Yogurt Topping may just be your new summer sub for whipped cream.

(Lighter) Cherry Cheesecake

1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
8 ounces neufchatel cheese
3/4 cup cane sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs (beaten)
juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 1/2 cups cherries (pitted)

Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust (recipe follows)
Lemon-Honey Topping (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In your stand mixer, combine ricotta and neufchatel well, for about 3 minutes. Add sugar, vanilla, and eggs and mix. Add flour and salt and mix. Stir in lemon juice. Pour half of filling into crust. Add a layer of cherries. Add the remainder of the filling on top. Bake for an hour and a half. Set it on the counter to cool and then refrigerate it a few hours or overnight before cutting it. Serve with Lemon-Honey Topping.

Pistachio Graham Cracker Crust

1 sleeve graham crackers (9 crackers)
1/3 cup salted, roasted pistachios
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/2 cup melted olive oil margarine

Combine crackers, pistachios, sugar in food processor. Mix until it's in crumbs. Add margarine and pulse. Butter a springform pan. Press crust firmly into the bottom of the pan.

Lemon-Honey Topping

(Better for you than good old whipped cream, this adds a nice citrusy kick to the finished cheesecake.)

1 cup Greek yogurt
fine zest and juice from one lemon
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt

In a medium bowl, whisk yogurt, lemon zest and juice, honey, vanilla, and salt and add to the top of chilled cheesecake.


JFloColman said...

all i can say is WOW...oh and YUM!

Serene said...

Oh my goodness - it looks absolutely scrumptious! Can't wait to try it.