Baked Plain Cheesecake—Prototype 17:
At times I revisit the taste of "mainstream" (predominantly cream-cheese-oriented) cheesecake. When this happens, I may be moved to try a reformulation for my own, lower-fat alternatives. Less than a few weeks ago, I tried a nice New-York-style cheesecake from Trader Joe's (which I brought to the home of a couple of friends for a Shavuot/Shabbat dinner). Some kind of mellow or sweet taste of the batter, as well as a sweet, not-too-spicy crust flavor, prompted me to give my own basic cheesecake a mid-2017 update: less tartness on the batter (switch some of the yogurt cheese over to cottage), less cinnamon and—hopefully for tastier results—more sweetness on the crust. Here we go!
3-Cheese Blend (3CT-1NC-2YG [3 parts cottage cheese, 1 part Neufchatel cheese, 2 parts yogurt cheese]):
Prepare ahead of time 16 ounces of yogurt cheese, derived from one 32-ounce container of nonfat yogurt. If the resulting yogurt cheese falls below 16 ounces, add back enough of the whey (that was strained out from the yogurt) to make up the difference. To this yogurt cheese combine 24 ounces of whipped, lowfat cottage cheese and 8 ounces of softened Neufchatel cheese ("light cream cheese").

Grease a 9 1/2" (or 9") springform pan, but do not wrap foil around it yet (see below).

2 oz. melted, white chocolate
8 oz. (1 cup) 3-cheese blend (see above)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 oz. All-Bran, ground up

Place the resulting mixture in the greased pan and pre-bake without tub at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes, depending on the mixture's thickness (closer to 10 minutes if thin enough to be fully distributed across the pan's bottom by gentle shaking, closer to 5 minutes if thick enough to require spreading out this mixture by pressing on it with a utensil and/or fingers), then cool enough to comfortably touch at least the pan's upper sidewall.

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
40 oz. (5 cups) 3-cheese blend (see above)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (5 tablespoons altogether) arrowroot
5 eggs

Wrap the pan in foil just before adding the batter (to minimize the foil's disturbance and therefore its leakage risk, do not put it on any earlier).

Next, pour the batter over the crust and bake this cheesecake in a hot water tub at 300 degrees for 120 minutes (if using a 9 1/2" pan). Then cool the cheesecake down while still in oven (with this oven shut off) and in tub with door slightly ajar for an hour. Afterwards, remove from oven and tub and continue to cool down at room temperature for another 120 minutes, then remove from pan and refrigerate.

Plain Cheesecake—Prototype 17

This one, which was served on Father's Day 2017 at Living Hope Church (among a modest selection of other refreshments, including a good cake variety), was gone within about ten minutes—perhaps except for one slice, which itself was gone easily within the next five.

So how was this new formulation? The batter seemed to have a hopeful, mellow flavor, except that I sort of picked up a slight, possibly acidic (due to some tartness?) aftertaste. Was I loosing my desire for tartness? As for the crust, it seemed to have an encouraging, mellow taste as well, with the amount of cinnamon being about right (certainly without being overwhelming). I had contemplated increasing the crust's vanilla with this prototype, but I wanted to reduce the cinnamon and boost the sugar (brown, in this case) and try that first—before making any further changes (maybe next time).

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