16 November, 2016

Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake

Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake
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Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake

You must try this “Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake” recipe.  It is a definite keeper for your recipe box.  Your friends and family will love it and won’t even detect that is it low in fat and calories.  It’s cheesecake with a hint of Fall and it’s simply delicious.  This recipe will satisfy both your pumpkin pie lovers as well as your cheesecake lovers.   This, “Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake” recipe calls for a few ingredients, most of which you may already have on hand.  If not, stock up your pantry with items such as ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, non-stick spray, Splenda (granulated), brown sugar and canned pumpkin puree.  You will need one specialty item and that is a 9-inch springform pan.  These are fairly easy to find at superstores and on Amazon.com.  I have also baked this cheesecake in a 9-inch cake pan lined with tin foil and have had great success.  You will want to make sure that the foil is firmly pressed to the sides and bottom of the cake pan.  Spray the foil with non-stick spray and then press your crust into the pan.  What I have done when using this cake pan method is, once the cheesecake has been refrigerated for at least 4 hours, I carefully remove the cheesecake from the pan by grabbing onto the edges of the foil as handles and then carefully lifting the cheesecake up and out of the pan and onto a cake plate.   One important step in making this, “Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake” is to enhance the pumpkin flavor by caramelizing the pumpkin with the sugars and spices.  This process not only concentrates the pumpkin flavor, but helps to remove excess water from the pumpkin which will give your “Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake” that rich creamy dense texture so notable of traditional cheesecakes.


Caramelized Pumpkin


I created two different crusts you may choose to use.  The first is my original, “Low Fat Graham Cracker Crust” and the second is my “Low Fat Gluten Free Cinnamon Sweetie Pie Crust”.  The latter is a crust that I created as an option for our gluten free followers.  Both of these crusts are very good, so whether you are gluten free or not, give them both a try.  Oh, and by the way, if you are looking for a low fat chocolate graham cracker crust, click here to see my recipe for that crust.   The wonderful part of this recipe is the crust.  Once baked, the crust will release from the sides of your pan and make a convenient cavity for your filling.  As the cheesecake filling cools, it will shrink and pull inward from the sides of the pan.  If the crust is attached to the sides of your pan, your crust will not flex with the filling and then separate from each other causing rips or cracks in your cheesecake.  We eliminate this type of cracking by using these particular type of crusts.   Egg proteins like to be gently baked at low temperatures and then gradually cooled over a period of time, usually 2-3 hours.  It is the reason why we bake this “Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake” for only 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit and allow it to sit in the oven for another 1 hour without opening the door.  This is just enough time to get the batter hot and then allow the residual heat in the oven to continue baking the cheesecake and then allow it to start gradually cooling.  Cracks in cheesecakes can occur when the cheesecake experiences dramatic temperature changes or when the cheesecake has been overcooked.  We avoid dramatic changes in temperature by leaving the cheesecake in a turned-off oven for 1 hour after baking.  As added insurance that our egg protein will not over-coagulate and crack our cheesecake, we add in 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.  These starch molecules will actually get in between the egg proteins and prevent them from over-coagulating.  No over-coagulating, no cracks.

When It Comes Time To Make Your Crust, Use A Flat Bottom Glass Or Measuring Cup To Form The Sides And Bottom Of Your Crust.

  Low Fat Graham Cracker Crust

See How The Crust Pulls Away From The Sides Of The Pan.

It may be a little difficult to see, but the graham cracker crumb crust is pressed into the bottom and up about 1.5 inches on the sides of this springform pan.

  Low Fat Graham Cracker Crust

See How The Baked & Cooled Cheesecake Is Completely Detached From The Sides Of The Pan, that’s exactly what we want.

Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake

See the “Low Fat Graham Cracker Crust” on the sides and bottom of this scrumptious, ” Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake.”

  Best Ever Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake

Finish A Piece Of This Scrumptious, “Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake” With Either A Few Dollops Of Light Whipped Cream Or My Cinnamon Drizzle, YUM!

Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake


Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake
Nutrition Information
  • Serves: 12 slices
  • Serving size: 1/12 of pie
  • Calories: 148 Kcal
  • Fat: 3g
  • Saturated fat: 1g
  • Unsaturated fat: 2g
  • Trans fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 23g
  • Sugar: 14g
  • Sodium: 214mg
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 5g
  • Cholesterol: 6mg
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
  • Low Fat Graham Cracker Crust:
  • 9 full sheets of low fat graham crackers, or 1½ cup graham cracker crumbs (I used Honey Maid low fat cinnamon) [GF Folks, use gluten free graham crackers]
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
  • 2 tablespoons Splenda, granulated
  • 1 teaspoon molasses, honey, agave nectar, pure maple syrup or corn syrup
  • 2½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • "Gluten Free" Cinnamon Sweetie Pie Crust:
  • 2 cups gluten free Cinnamon Chex dry cereal
  • ½ cup gluten free bread crumbs (if not gluten intolerant, use white or wheat Panko breadcrumbs)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • Filling:
  • 1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar, packed (remove any lumps prior to measuring)
  • ⅓ cup Splenda, granulated
  • ½ teaspoon molasses, unsulphured
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4-ounce Neufchatel (1/3 less fat) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4-ounce fat free cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup Chobani nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 3 egg whites, room temperature
  • Cinnamon Drizzle (optional add 21 Kcals/teaspoon):
  • ⅓ cup honey or agave nectar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla or maple extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon pink Himalayan sea salt (or regular sea salt)
  • Speciality Equipment Needed:
  • 9-inch springform pan
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Place oven rack on the middle shelf.
  3. Spray the springform pan or cake pan with non-stick spray and set aside.
  4. Prepare either pie crust recipe by first grinding the graham crackers or dry cereal+breadcrumbs in a food processor. Place crumbs into a medium size bowl. Whisk the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl and drizzle over the dry ingredients and toss to thoroughly coat. Use your fingertips to break apart any larger clumps.
  5. Wash your hands. You will need clean and dry hands to press the crust into the pan. Press mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pan using your hands or a clean and dry flat bottom glass or measuring cup. If the crumbs start sticking to your hands or flat bottom tool, switch to another clean utensil or wash and dry your hands again. Once you get the hang of this crust, you will never use any other graham cracker crust, I promise :).
  6. Bake in the oven for approximately 10-15 minutes. Once the crust has slightly moved away from the sides and the top of the crust when touched has formed together and is dry to the touch, your crust will be done. Do not worry if you see minor cracks in the bottom crust. The crust will be just fine, just bake for a shorter time next time you make this crust. Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool. The crust will firm up as it cools.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit and place the oven rack on the bottom shelf.
  8. Mix together the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, Splenda, molasses, salt cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg and cloves into a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and cook the pumpkin mixture for about 10 minutes until the mixture becomes thick and caramelized and most of the water has been removed from the pumpkin (see photo in blog post). Constantly stir the mixture and be cautious as this mixture will sputter. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. While mixture is cooling, continue on to the next step.
  9. In a mixing bowl, blend together the cream cheeses until completely smooth. Add in the cornstarch and blend.
  10. When the pumpkin mixture has cooled, add in the vanilla and yogurt and blend using the moisture from the yogurt and vanilla to deglaze any of the pumpkin that has dried to the pan. Add this mixture into the cream cheese mixture and blend until smooth.
  11. Add in the egg whites and blend until just incorporated. Take care not to overbeat the mixture with the eggs.
  12. Pour the cheesecake batter into the baked pie crust and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
  13. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and DO NOT OPEN the door. Allow the cheesecake to sit in the oven for 1 hour. After 1 hour, remove the cheesecake from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack, immediately cover the top of the springform pan with a flat sheet pan. Leave the sheet pan on the top of the springform pan for about 30 minutes and then remove. This will allow the cheesecake to gradually cool. Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, refrigerate unwrapped for 4 or more hours then serve.
If for some reason your cheesecake should have some cracking on the top, no worries. You can top each piece with a dollop of light whipping cream or this delicious, "Holiday Cranberry Sauce". You can also top the whole cheesecake with the, "Holiday Cranberry Sauce". Follow the instructions except towards the end of the cooking, make a slurry of ¼ cup of water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add this into the sauce and stir until sauce thickens. "Holiday Cranberry Sauce" is just as delicious warm as it is cold.

Disclosure: By purchasing any products from affiliate links on our site, “Dieting With Chef Meg, R.D.” receives a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you. There is no obligation to use these links to purchase these items, but if you do, I thank you kindly for supporting this FREE dieting resource. ∼ Chef Meg ∼

I hope you enjoyed this “Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake” post.

Chef Meg

Chef, Registered Dietitian, Health Coach and Weight Loss Expert


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“Best Ever Light Pumpkin Cheesecake” post last updated 11/16/16

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