Wow! what a month! My kitchen was torn up and working at 1/4 to 1/2 capacity for too long! I sure missed cooking. I missed eating as well as I normally do too, but I really missed the creative process, the satisfaction of cooking for others and the feeling of well being that accompanies both. It is delightful to be back in the kitchen again and cooking up a storm! Let's start off with a cheesecake- low fat this time around.
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup melted butter
1 3/4 cup low fat cottage cheese
1 lb. low fat cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup pear puree
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, room temperature
6 ounces frozen raspberries
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 teaspoons instant clear gel
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Mix crumbs with butter and press into bottom of pan evenly. Bake for 8 minutes then remove from oven. Meanwhile, process cottage cheese in a food processor or blender until smooth. In a mixing bowl, combine cottage cheese, cream cheese, pear puree and sugar until well blended. Add almond extract, ginger, lemon juice, cornstarch and salt. Beat until thoroughly blended and fluffy. Turn down mixer speed and add eggs. Continue mixing just until eggs are incorporated. Pour filling over warm crust and place in oven. Immediately turn oven to 300 degrees and cook for 1 hour. Check to see if filling is set, (may need up to 10 more minutes) then turn heat off and leave cheesecake in oven with the door closed for another hour. Remove cheesecake from oven and run a knife around rim to loosen. Allow to cool completely then cover and refrigerate for several hours or over night. Prepare topping by allowing raspberries to thaw. Add almond flavoring to berries. Stir powdered sugar and clear gel together then stir into raspberries. Mixture will thicken immediately. Spread over top of cheesecake just before slicing.
Hints: Pear puree may be bought like applesauce or you can puree pear halves your self. If they are fresh, make sure they are very ripe. If they are canned, make sure they are in light syrup. How about substituting mango puree or apricot or peach or berry or kiwi? You could use less almond or no almond and up the ginger flavor or switch to mint flavor or lemon flavor. Top with caramel sauce or chocolate fudge sauce or lemon sauce. The possibilities are fantastic! Don't you love cheesecake?! Instant clear gel may be purchased at health food stores (I get mine at Bountiful Nutrition). It is the best for fresh berry pies and toppings as it thickens without cooking and so you keep that fresh taste. You can use low fat or fat free cottage cheese and cream cheese. Or you can use full fat--it's up to you.
Just finished Malcom Gladwell's book Outliers. Fabulous. Made me think about lots of things one of which is the hours I have spent cooking, studying cookbooks and planning how to use ingredients. I believe I have reached the 10,000 hour mark by now. I also believe that many women I know have as well. I guess we are experts ladies.