- Double Bonus
With its exquisite lemon-oil fragrance, lemon verbena adds a sophisticated accent to a creamy vanilla cheesecake. Lemon verbena is also a perfect complement to strawberries. A generous quantity of fruit and a slender slice of cheesecake make a balanced finish to a fine meal.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- For the Crust:
- 20 vanilla wafers (see Ingredient Note)
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- For the Filling:
- 16 ounces 1% cottage cheese (2 cups)
- 8 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), cut into pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lemon verbena or lemon balm (see Tip)
- For the Topping:
- 2 quarts fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- Lemon verbena or lemon balm sprigs, for garnish
- Ingredient Note: To avoid trans-fatty acids, look for brands that do not contain partially hydrogenated canola oil, such as Mi-Del Vanilla Snaps (found in natural-foods stores and large supermarkets).
Tip: If you cannot find lemon verbena or lemon balm, use 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest instead.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Coat a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap the outside of the pan with a double thickness of foil. Put a kettle of water on to boil for the water bath.
FOR THE CRUST:
Pulse the vanilla wafers in a food processor into fine crumbs. Add the oil and pulse to blend. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. (Rinse and dry the workbowl.)
FOR THE FILLING:
Process the cottage cheese in the food processor until very smooth and silky, stopping to scrape down the sides once or twice. Add the cream cheese and process until smooth. Add the sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, vanilla and salt; process until well blended. Add the eggs and pulse several times just until mixed in. Sprinkle in the lemon verbena (or lemon balm); mix with a rubber spatula. (Do not process.) Scrape the filling into the crust.
Place the cheesecake in a shallow roasting pan and pour in enough boiling water to come 1 inch up the outside of the springform pan. Bake until the edges are set but the center quivers slightly, 50 to 55 minutes. Turn off the oven. Let the cheesecake cool in the oven, with the door ajar, for 1 hour.
Remove the foil from the pan. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
FOR THE TOPPING:
About 1/2 hour before serving, rinse the strawberries. Set aside 3 whole berries for garnish; hull the remaining berries and slice into a bowl. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons sugar and toss to coat. Let stand until the strawberries are juicy, 20 to 30 minutes.
Place the cheesecake on a platter and run a knife around the inside of the pan; remove the pan sides. Make 3 lengthwise cuts in each whole berry; press lightly and arrange the fanned berries in the center of the cheesecake. Garnish with a sprig of lemon verbena (or lemon balm). Top each serving with strawberries and juice and garnish with another sprig of verbena (or lemon balm).
Recipe reprinted by permission of Publisher. All rights reserved.
nutrition information per serving
188 calories; 6g total fat; 3g total saturated fat; 51mg cholesterol; 226mg sodium; 27g carbohydrates; 2g fiber; 7g protein
These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.
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