These beauties hide a little secret or two. Number one, they are gobsmackingly good. They are so good you may tear up a little when you take your last bite. Number two, they are easy make-ahead gems that store in the freezer until an hour or two before you need them. Number three, they are lower in fat than traditional cheesecakes. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone! I stumbled on this recipe on the Cooking Light Simmer and Boil blog. The original recipe calls for rhubarb jam, but I am not a big rhubarb jam kinda girl, so I reworked it to make it a perfect dessert for the Fourth-of-July weekend.
The crushed amaretti cookie on top takes the place of the graham cracker crust in a traditional cheesecake. Placing it on top keeps it crunchy. While most imported amaretti cookies available in the USA are crunchy throughout, many other amaretti are soft in the middle. You don’t want those for this recipe. In this recipe you need crunchy, crumbly cookies. If you can’t find or don’t like them, you can use crushed vanilla wafers, biscotti or even granola. It takes about 20 minutes to get these guys in the pan to cook, after that, there is very little hands on time. Because the cheesecake steams, it is much harder for it to overcook and develop the dreaded grainy texture. And, since you top the cheesecakes with strawberries and amaretti cookies it also doesn’t matter if the tops crack.
Now, go and enjoy your summer. Eat lots of berries, soak up lots of sun (through heavily applied broad-spectrum sunscreen) and revel in warm breezes, sand between your toes and maybe a little cheesecake. Enjoy!
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 2 cups fresh or frozen sliced strawberries
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons water, divided
- 12 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 8 small amaretti cookies, crushed
- 8-8 oz jelly jars or tempered glass containers
- Add 1 tablespoon cornstarch to 2 tablespoons water and mix until the cornstarch dissolves. Combine blueberries and a 1/4 cup of sugar in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the fruit starts to release it's liquid and the juice is boiling, about five minutes (longer if you are using frozen fruit). Add the cornstarch mixture and stir to combine. Continue to cook until the mixture returns to a simmer and thickens, about two minutes. Scrape the blueberry sauce into a bowl and set aside. Rinse out the saucepan.
- Repeat the process of making the sauce with another tablespoon of cornstarch and two tablespoons of water, the 2 cups of sliced strawberries and the remaining 1/4 cup of the sugar for the berries. When the sauce has thickened, move it to another bowl and allow it to cool.
- Line a pot large enough to hold eight jelly jars with a heavy kitchen towel or rack. Set aside. Wash and dry eight 1 cup (8 oz) jelly jars or tempered glass containers and set aside.
- In the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer combine the cream cheese, salt and the remaining 2/3 cup sugar. Beat until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the yogurt. Beat for a minute on medium-high speed, scrape down the sides and add the vanilla and eggs. Again, beat until smooth, scraping down the sides to make sure no lumps form.
- Spoon the blueberry sauce evenly into the bottom of prepared jars. Divide the cheesecake batter between the eight jars. Tightly cover the tops of the jars with aluminum foil and place the jars into the prepared pot on top of the dish cloth. Pour water into the pot until it is about two inches up the sides of the jars (about half way). Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (about 20 minutes). Remove from the heat and allow to sit for ten minutes. Remove the jars from the water and allow to cool completely. Divide the strawberry sauce between the jars . Top each cheesecake with one crushed amaretti cookie. Serve immediately or freeze by covering the top of each jar tightly with plastic wrap. When freezing take out of the freezer about 1 1/2 hour before serving to allow the cheesecakes to thaw.