Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

20170227_000907Cheesecake is a delightful dessert rich in flavor and smooth on the palate. As much as I enjoy a slice of cheesecake I absolutely despise making it on my own. Cheesecake is up there on my list with Creme Brulee & Souffles when it comes to a severe inclination to avoid said recipes. It is not that I can’t make them it is just more tedious and I don’t enjoy making them like I do cakes and cookies. Baking is an outlet for me to reduce stress. Cheesecakes tend to create stress by wondering if the darn thing is going to crack despite doing everything correctly. There is only so many times you can get scalded by the hot water bath before you throw even cooking out the window. However, after taking a look at what I have prepared lately I was starting to see too much repetition. I decided I needed to venture out of my comfort zone and give myself a challenge like I had when in culinary school. The first item that came to my mind was the dreaded cheesecake.

20170227_001556My favorite flavor of cheesecake is cherry and I have made it a thousand times. My love of cherry cheesecake in particular stems from my childhood when I would make the No-Bake Jello brand Cherry Cheesecake box mix. Although it was a heck of a lot easier cheesecake to make, it wasn’t necessarily a real cheesecake (probably why I enjoyed baking it growing up). Besides the taste the cherries lend cheesecake, I also love the appearance. The red is a great contrast to the light cheesecake base and makes for a stunning dessert every time. I wanted to replicate this stunning look but with something other than cherries. That is where cranberries come into play.

20170226_172628I had some leftover cranberries frozen at their peak and needed to use them up so it seemed like a perfect fit. I made this for Valentine’s Day but it can be made for many other events such as anniversaries, Christmas, Independence Day, or even Go Red for Women parties which bring awareness to heart health. Although this is a skinnier recipe than traditional cheesecakes, I highly doubt the American Heart Association would define it as a heart healthy recipe. On average, cheesecakes similar to this one run about 575 calories and 22 grams of saturated fat while this cheesecake is 321 calories and 6 grams saturated fat (saving over 250 calories and 15 grams saturated fat per slice).

Although I enjoyed this lightened up version of a traditional cheesecake I would make a few changes next time to appeal more to my own taste. I think I would prefer a regular graham cracker crust to the chocolate, despite my love of the stunning color contrasts the chocolate crust provides. If you follow the recipe as is you will witness how much a simple swirl of tart cranberries provides an elegant touch to rich filling encased in a chocolate graham crust. Enjoy!

Cranberry Swirl Cheesecake

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. Chocolate Graham Crackers
  • ¼ cup Olive Oil
  • 1 ½ cups Fresh or Frozen Cranberries (thaw if frozen)
  • ½ cup Sugar
  • ¼ cup Raspberry Liqueur (Chambord or Smirnoff Raspberry Vodka)
  • 3 tbsp. Water
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 12 oz.(2 ½ pkg.) Block Style 1/3-less-fat Cream Cheese; softened
  • 1 cup Plain Fat-Free Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1/8 tsp. Salt
  • 3 large Eggs
  • 2 large Egg Whites

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Wrap outside and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan tightly with a double layer of heavy-duty foil (or place in a turkey size oven bag and seal at top). Grease pan lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place crackers in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Drizzle with oil and pulse until moistened. Press mixture into bottom and ½ inch up the sides of the prepared pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a rack.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 325°. Place cranberries, sugar, liqueur, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cook 8 minutes or until cranberries have softened and mixture is syrupy. Cool for 20 minutes. Puree mixture until smooth with an immersion blender or pour contents into a food processor and pulse 1 minute.
  4. Combine 1 cup sugar and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Beat with stand or hand mixer at medium speed until smooth. Beat in yogurt, vanilla, and salt. Add the whole eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the 2 egg whites at high-speed until soft peaks form. Fold beaten egg whites into cream cheese mixture. Pour filling over crust. Spoon cranberry mixture over filling & swirl together using the tip of a knife. Place springform pan into a metal baking pan larger than the springform pan. Add hot water to the pan to create a depth of about 2 inches. Bake for 55 minutes or until the center of the cheesecake barely jiggles when pan is touched.
  6. Turn off oven. Cool cheesecake in closed oven for 30 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and run knife around the outside edge. Cool on a wire rack. Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least 8 hours.

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: ANN TAYLOR PITTMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2017

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No-Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

20161124_115845As fall approaches ever closer to its end and we begin to shift gears in preparation of winter, it is the best time to satisfy any last autumn inspired cravings. There are many flavors indicative of fall but none satisfy quite like a pumpkin pie does. Pumpkin pie has a way of pleasing the masses with its warm spiced flavor, which is why it is served by most Americans on Thanksgiving. Well I am one of those Americans that require pumpkin pie be at the table on Thanksgiving. However, as much as I adore pumpkin pie, I still have a dilemma every holiday.

20161124_115850You see, I love trying new things and I get bored making the “same old same old,” but I also can’t afford to not make my annual favorites. I have no shame and will openly confess I am forever conflicted when it comes to this. This year I managed to solve my dilemma with a reasonable compromise…….the pumpkin chiffon pie. This pie still has each of the traditional components (pie crust, spiced pumpkin filling, & dollop of whipped cream) all while taking pumpkin to a whole new level of awesome.

20161124_115945What separates this pie from the classic is the creamy filling. This version features a fluffier core, a welcoming change from the very dense original filling. It is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any fall holiday gathering as it was at Thanksgiving this year for my family.

Note: 

  • This recipe yields 2 pies. Each pie produces 10 servings with serving size being one wedge.

No-Bake Pumpkin Chiffon Pie

Ingredients:

  • 1 (2-Pack) Frozen Pie Crusts
  • 1 ¼ cups Canned Pumpkin
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • ¾ tsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
  • 2 Large Eggs; separated
  • 2/3 cup Evaporated Low-Fat Milk
  • 1 envelope Unflavored Gelatin
  • ¼ cup Pure Orange Juice
  • 1/8 tsp. Cream of Tartar
  • 5 tbsp. Granulated Sugar; divided
  • 3 tbsp. Water
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Cinnamon (for dusting); optional

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven according to pie crust package directions. Place pie crusts on a baking sheet. Pierce bottoms of pie crusts with a fork. Bake pie crusts according to package directions for a no-bake pie (approximately 10 minutes). Cool completely on a wire rack.
  2. Whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and 2 egg yolks in a medium saucepan. Stir in the evaporated milk and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer mixture, stirring frequently, for 4 minutes or until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove mixture from heat.
  3. Place orange juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Sprinkle gelatin over the orange juice and let stand 1 minute. Microwave gelatin mixture on high for 15 seconds, stirring until the gelatin dissolves. Stir the gelatin mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Cool.
  4. Meanwhile, place 2 egg whites and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixture (or large bowl if using a hand mixer). Beat egg whites with a mixer at high-speed until frothy. Gradually add 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, beating until soft peaks form. Combine the remaining 4 tablespoons (¼ cup) granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring sugar mixture to a boil. Cook sugar mixture, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reads 250°. Pour the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream over the egg whites with the mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently stir ¼ of the egg white mixture into the cooled pumpkin mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg white mixture and pour filling into the cooled crust. Refrigerate the pie for 4 hours or until set.
  5. Place the cream (preferably chilled) in a medium bowl and beat with a mixer on high-speed until stiff peaks form. Place into a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe rosettes along the outside edge of the pie (where the crust and filling meet). Sprinkle ground cinnamon on the rosettes if desired. Serve.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Caramel Apple Pie

20160730_131312Caramel apples are one of my favorite desserts that signify the beginning of fall. Being that we are still in the heat of summer, fall remains a long ways off (especially for Floridians). This may leave you wondering then why I’m bringing up fall already. To be quite honest, I’m secretly longing for much cooler temperatures because I’m 8 months pregnant and only a few weeks from my scheduled delivery. The heat has really gotten to me and has pretty much kept me indoors the majority of the past few months. If the weather turns cooler I’m allowed to be outside more and I’ve been going crazy being cooped up in the house on modified bed rest. A few days ago I began thinking of fall and how much fun it will be with a new little one. It was all downhill from there and I practically doomed myself into having a craving for a caramel apple.

20160730_131037Since caramel apples are scarce to find this time of year I decided to dress up an old-fashioned apple pie with the flavors of a caramel apple in order to quench my hormone induced craving (or at least that is what I like to blame it on). In a traditional apple pie, I like to add the warm spices typically associated with fall, like cinnamon and nutmeg. However, in this pie the traditional spices have been left out and I assure you with good reason. Simply put, caramel apples are not spiced with cinnamon or nutmeg and this pie is meant to be an equivalent to the sticky treat not an old-fashioned apple pie topped with a bit of caramel. If that is what you are expecting from this recipe then unfortunately this pie won’t be for you.

20160730_131602For those still willing to give it a try, I can practically guarantee this pie will disappear far too quickly. Who can really resist the perfect blend of sweet and tart apple filling drizzled with caramel and blanketed with a crunchy streusel topping? I can’t think of anyone either!

Note:

  • This recipe will yield 2 (9 inch) pies with 12 servings per pie (24 servings total).
  • If not serving immediately, do not cover pies until completely cool, otherwise streusel topping will become soggy.

20160730_131712

Caramel Apple Pie

Topping Ingredients:

  • 4.4 ounces Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Light Brown Sugar; packed
  • 8 tbsp. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter; chilled & cut into small pieces

Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 (2 pk.) Frozen Traditional Pie Crusts
  • ¼ cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 1 ¼ pounds Granny Smith Apples; peeled & thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 1 pound Fuji Apples; peeled & thinly sliced (about 3 cups)
  • Caramel Sundae Syrup

Preparation:

  1. To prepare the streusel topping: Combine flour, brown sugar, and butter in a food processor. Pulse the mixture until crumbly, approximately 10 to 15 pulses. Transfer topping mixture to a bowl, cover, and chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Remove frozen pie crusts from freezer and allow to thaw while preparing the filling.
  3. To prepare the filling: Place granulated sugar and cornstarch in a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until combined. Add apples to bowl and toss to evenly distribute sugar mixture. Distribute and arrange apple mixture evenly among the two pie crusts, mounding apples slightly higher in the center. Drizzle caramel syrup evenly over apple mixture, using as much or as little as desired. Bake pies for 25 minutes.
  4. Remove pies from oven and sprinkle both evenly with chilled streusel topping. Bake an additional 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with additional caramel if desired.

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: BILL JAMISON & CHERYL JAMISON
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016

Skinny Sour Cream Coffee Cake

20160409_165243To start the day off on the right foot, the average American wakes up, has a cup of coffee, and may or may not eat breakfast. For those that do want breakfast with their coffee, most coffee shops offer up alluring breakfast options such as doughnuts, muffins, bagels, sandwiches, and burritos. These offerings taste great but they are certainly not a healthy way to start the day. Although I would preferably like to always start my day with an omelet filled with healthy veggies and a handful of cheese, most days that is just not a feasible option. Rather than skip breakfast altogether one must look for more simple solutions.

20160409_165314-1A traditional pairing to coffee has always been coffee cake (hence the name)…because who doesn’t want to start the day off with something sweet. However, a traditional sour cream coffee cake does not fair any better than coffee house offerings. Just a slice of traditional sour cream coffee cake has around 500 calories and 32 grams of fat! Certainly not a way to start the day, especially if you already loaded the accompanying coffee with cream and sugar. In order to continue to enjoy this classic, it had to be slimmed down A LOT.

20160409_165257-1-1Without losing the moist and fulfilling taste of the original, this recipe adds plenty of whole grains and manages to cut off 225 calories and over 20 grams of fat per slice. Sure it is still not the healthiest option in the world but you can feel a lot less guilty eating a slice on days when you simply have no time for anything healthier. Even when you do have time for a healthier breakfast, this cake is sweet enough to be enjoyed as dessert too!

Skinny Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 oz. (¾ cup) Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats; divided
  • 4.5 oz. (1 cup) All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 oz. (¼ cup) Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 1 tsp. Baking Powder
  • ½ tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon; divided
  • ¼ tsp. Salt
  • ½ cup Granulated Sugar
  • ½ cup Light Brown Sugar; packed (divided)
  • 1/3 cup Unsalted Butter; softened
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1 (8 oz.) tub Light Sour Cream
  • 2 tbsp. Walnuts; finely chopped & toasted
  • 1 tbsp. Butter; chilled & cut into small pieces
  • Cooking Spray

Preparation:

  1. Coat a 9 inch springform pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°. Spread oats in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until oats are light brown and slightly fragrant, about 6 minutes.
  3. Measure ¼ cup of browned oats and set aside. Place the remaining oats in a food processor, processing until finely ground, approximately 4 seconds. In a large bowl, place the ground oats, all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ½ tsp. cinnamon. Stir with a whisk until combined.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, place the granulated sugar, ¼ cup brown sugar, and 1/3 cup butter. Beat with stand or hand mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla and mix until combined. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the addition of the flour mixture. Be sure to mix until just combined (do not overstir). The batter will remain slightly lumpy due to the oats. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
  5. Combine the remaining ¼ cup oats, remaining ¼ cup brown sugar, remaining ½ tsp. cinnamon, and nuts in a bowl. Cut in the chilled butter pieces with a pastry blender until well blended. Sprinkle the top of the batter evenly with the nut mixture. Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden brown and cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cool the cake in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove cake from pan and serve. Cake is best served warm but can be stored in an airtight container for 3 days.

NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION

(1 Slice)

SkinnySourCreamCoffeeCakeNutritionLabel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weight Watchers: 12 Smart Points, 7 Points Plus, or 6 Traditional Points

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: KATHY KITCHENS DOWNIE
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

 

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2016