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  • Reduced Fat and Sugar Vanilla Pomegranate Cheesecake Parfaits

    Monday, November 28, 2016

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    With the holidays in full-swing and much eating and merriment being enjoyed, I got to thinking about what 2017 has in store. I’m not someone who thinks the promise of a new start lies solely in the dawn of a new year with all of its competing anticipation and, maybe even, apprehension. Rather, I hold true to the belief that a new start can commence at any moment. All that said, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I really love New Year’s Eve. It’s my wedding anniversary…and, even more, it’s a beautiful reason to share the sacred tradition of ushering in new beginnings with friends and family.

    Here’s something to remember, hosting a New Year’s gathering doesn’t need to be a stressful, over-the-top affair complete with intricate hors d’oeuvres that you slave over for days or fancy cocktails that include so many ingredients, you’d need to apply for a liquor license. Imagine ringing in the new year with a few light and simple appetizers, a beautiful cheese plate, a simple champagne cocktail and a few old-school noise makers. Wouldn’t it be great to carry the spirit of simple pleasures and taking the time to be with the people you love most into 2017? I thought so.

    In the spirit of health and good luck in the new year, this month’s Recipe Redux challenge centers on foods that bring good fortune in the new year. Admittedly, I am not very well-versed in the culinary traditions of new year’s celebrations, so this month’s challenge required some research. What did we do before the Internet? With cup of tea in hand, I scoured the web for ideas. Turns out, there are lots of great foods that are thought to bring luck in the new year. 12 grapes at midnight in Latin cultures, lentils, which due to their coin shape, represent prosperity, and soba noodles, which symbolize a long life. Finally, I happened upon a tradition that spoke to me–Greeks smash pomegranates on the floor of the front door. The goal: for the fruit to break open and spill its seeds, symbolizing prosperity (the more seeds that are revealed, the better). I promise, no pomegranates were harmed in the making of this dessert…

    Vanilla Pomegranate Cheesecake Parfaits

    Vanilla Pomegranate Cheesecake Parfaits

    This quick, simple and light recipe is as beautiful as it is decadent. It starts with with light cream cheese that’s blended with non-fat Greek yogurt and just a touch of whipping cream (it is New Year’s, after all). It’s sweetened with just a bit of stevia and flavored with a generous amount of vanilla (which is so yummy with the pomegranate). I added a couple of tablespoons of homemade grenadine and some grated dark chocolate to make it worthy of a New Year’s celebration. Incidentally, any leftover grenadine and pomegranate seeds would make a lovely champagne cocktail :).

    So pretty for happy, healthy holidays

    So pretty for happy, healthy holidays

    My wish for all of you is a holiday season filled with love and laughter and a healthy and happy 2017!


    Reduced Fat and Sugar Vanilla Pomegranate Cheesecake Parfaits

    servings: about 6 small parfaits | time: about 10 minutes plus at least 2 hours for chilling

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    For the Grenadine

    1/2 cup pomegranate juice (UNSWEETENED)

    1/2 cup pure cane sugar

    1/4 tsp. fresh lime jiuce

    2-3 drops orange blossom water


    For the Cheesecake

    1 8-ounce package 1/3 less fat cream cheese at room temperature

    1/4 cup whipping cream

    2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

    4-5 drops orange blossom water

    1 cup non-fat Greek yogurt

    3 TBSP. granulated stevia

    seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate

    1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

    Grenadine syrup (for serving)

    Grated bittersweet chocolate of choice (for serving)



    For Grenadine (this can be made several days ahead)

    1. Heat the pomegranate juice in a saucepan over medium high heat just until it starts to bubble slightly around the edges (do not boil)

    2. Remove juice from heat and add the sugar. Stir to dissolve, about 5 minutes

    3. Add the lime juice and the orange blossom flower water. Stir to combine

    4. Allow to come to room temperature then store in an airtight container for up to one-month


    For the Cheesecake Parfaits:

    1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, whipping cream, vanilla and orange blossom flower water on medium until combined (about a minute). Turn speed to high and beat for 3-4 minutes, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl along the way

    2. add the yogurt and stevia and blend on high for an additional 2-3 minutes, again making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl

    3. Cover and refrigerate the mixture for at least 2 hours or overnight. In the meantime, remove the seeds from the pomegranate, add them to a bowl, toss with the lemon juice and store in the fridge in an airtight container (seeds can be stored for up to 2 days)


    To assemble the parfaits (this can be done several hours before you are planning to serve):

    1. Place 1 teaspoon of the grenadine in the bottom of a small class dessert or wine glass and add a few pomegranate seeds

    2. Add 2 tablespoons of the cheesecake filling and top with a few more pomegranate seeds

    3. Add 2 tablespoons of the cheesecake filling, top with 1 teaspoon of the grenadine, a few more pomegranate seeds and the grated bittersweet chocolate (I’d leave the chocolate garnish until just before serving)


    One response to “Reduced Fat and Sugar Vanilla Pomegranate Cheesecake Parfaits”

    1. bradhogan says:

      Great post!

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