This velvety smooth and tangy cheesecake is so delicious that it's hard to believe there is anything light about it. Reduced-fat cottage cheese, light cream cheese and Greek yogurt team up to rival the original full-fat version without giving up any flavour or texture. Omit the candied lemon zest for an even lighter version of classic New York cheesecake.

  • Portion size 20 servings
  • Credits : Canadian Living Magazine


Candied Lemon Zest:


Candied Lemon Zest: Using vegetable peeler, peel off strips of lemon zest, without white pith, from end to end. (Reserve lemons for another use.) Cut lengthwise into scant 1/8-inch (3 mm) wide strips.

In skillet, bring 2 cups water to boil; boil lemon strips for 1 minute. Drain and set strips aside.

In same skillet, bring 1 cup water and sugar to boil over high heat; boil for 2 minutes. Add lemon strips; reduce heat and simmer until translucent, about 10 minutes. Let cool in syrup for 10 minutes; drain, discarding syrup. Place strips, without them touching, on rack over waxed paper; let dry, about 12 hours.

Grease bottom and side of 9-inch (2.5 L) springform pan. Line side with parchment paper. Centre pan on large square of heavy-duty foil; press foil up side of pan.

In food processor, pulse graham wafers with sugar to make scant 1 cup fine crumbs. Add butter; pulse until moistened. Press over base of prepared pan. Bake in 325°F (160°C) oven until firm, about 15 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Filling: Drain cottage cheese in strainer over bowl for 30 minutes; shake to drain any excess whey.

In food processor, whirl cottage cheese until paste. Add cream cheese and yogurt; whirl until smooth, scraping down bowl often, about 2 minutes. Add sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla; process until combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time and pulsing to combine after each. Spread over base, smoothing top.

Set springform pan in larger pan.Pour enough hot water into large pan to come 1 inch (2.5 cm) up sides. Bake in 300°F (150°C) oven until shine disappears and edge is set yet centre still jiggles slightly, 1-1/2 hours.

Turn off oven and leave door open a crack. Let cake stand in warm oven for 1 hour. Remove from water and transfer to rack; remove foil and let cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, 4 hours. (Make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)

Topping: Whip cream with sugar; fold in yogurt. Spread over top of cake. Refrigerate for 1 hour. Remove side of pan; arrange candied lemon zest around top edge of cheesecake.

Nutritional facts Per each of 20 servings: about

  • Fibre 1 g
  • Sodium 280 mg
  • Sugars 15 g
  • Protein 7 g
  • Calories 218.0
  • Total fat 13 g
  • Potassium 122 mg
  • Cholesterol 70 mg
  • Saturated fat 8 g
  • Total carbohydrate 19 g


  • Iron 2.0
  • Folate 3.0
  • Calcium 7.0
  • Vitamin A 15.0
  • Vitamin C 7.0
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Lightened-Up Lemon Drop Cheesecake