Friday, July 12, 2013

Sweet on the Lips, Easy on the Hips!

Greek yogurt cheesecake tarts
Look at this great 4th of July spread!

I love sweets.  I also love not weighing 400 pounds.  We especially tend to be sensitive about our bodies this time of year.  Ah, summer.  Sunshine, sandals and swimsuits (although I think I've put on a swimsuit maybe twice this season...).  We tend to show off more skin, and therefore, we want to keep our meals (and the number on the scale) light. 

But company picnics, holiday barbecues and family vacations can make it hard to stay on track.  There's all sorts of tempting goodies: hot dogs, burgers, ice cream, s'mores, cheesecake.  Yes, cheesecake.  I love cheesecake.  I work in a cafe that sells Cheesecake Factory desserts, and let me tell you, that is an exercise in will power.  

I remember summers when my mom would make these fantastic little cheesecake tarts.  They're pretty simple, just scoop regular cheesecake batter into a lined muffin tin with a Nilla wafer on the bottom of each paper liner for the crust.  She'd also top them with fruit and whipped cream.  Man, oh, man.  And they're little, so you feel like you could just eat them forever.

Well, for last week's Fourth of July party here at the condo, I decided to make these tasty little guys, but with a twist: low(er) calories!

While fighting off a cheesecake craving at work one day, I thought, "Hmm, I bet there are some good recipes out there for cheesecake made with Greek yogurt." (I'm a big Greek yogurt fan.  Remind me to post my Greek yogurt banana nut muffins recipe!)  Well, guess what, there is!

After a good deal of research, I found this recipe and wow, is it good!  I tweaked it just a little, so here's my version:

2 cups fat free plain Greek yogurt (or vanilla if you like it sweeter)
3/4 cup sugar (or replace with the sweetener of your choice)
2 eggs (or 3 egg whites)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
Nilla wafers
fruit filling of your choice (ex: cherry or blueberry)
Cool Whip Lite

Preheat oven to 350F. In a blender or food processor, combine the eggs, sugar, yogurt and vanilla. Blend until smooth, then add cornstarch and pinch of salt and blend again. 

Place paper liners in a muffin tin, and place one Nilla wafer, right side up, in each liner.

Use a large spoon or ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into each paper liner.  Fill until just below the top, maybe 1/4".  They will rise in the oven like a muffin or cupcake, then collapse to make a little bowl for the fruit filling.

Bake for 25 minutes.  They probably won't really look done, but that's okay. It's important not to over bake them!

Let cool for half an hour then chill in the fridge for 2-3 hours.  Top with a scoop of fruit filling and a dollop of Cool Whip.

*Fresh fruit would be an even healthier option, and you could choose to skip the whipped cream.  Likewise, the cheesecake is sturdy enough, you could probably skip the Nilla wafer crust.  It's mostly there cause it's cute and adds a little texture.

I topped them with cherry filling, blueberry filling and Cool Whip so that they carried the red, white and blue theme for Independence Day.  I'm dying to make them again with a tiny little fresh fruit salad on top, or even a different flavor in the batter like almond or chocolate.

They are a fun treat for summer, portable, and easy on the waistline!  Give them a try and let me know what you think!

...and I didn't fill them up as much as I needed too.
The blueberry was the first batch...

The cherry turned out beautifully!
See the perfect layers of deliciousness?

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