Mary Anne here. Or should I say, Rich Doscher here! Rich is a registered dietician at the hospital where I work. Together with a physical therapist, the three of us give seminars at local senior centers and churches, instructing folks on keeping one’s joints healthy. For such a young “kid,” Rich has an amazing grasp on eating well and can recite, without hesitation, the absolute best foods to eat if one is looking for an anti-inflammatory, joint-healthy menu. I have to say, the 70+ set love his portion of our seminars, but I think it might have something to do with his boyish good looks and that twinkling, twenty-something smile! Just sayin’, Rich…
Anyway, since I’m the oldster in this joint union, I boss him around as much as possible. When he shared this recipe with me I didn’t ask, but rather I told him I needed his bio. So here’s a bit about the smart lad who figured out how to make cheesecake with half the calories (only 300 per slice) and a quarter of the fat – 10 grams as opposed to 40! Rich, creamy, and deceptively non-decadent, I defy my own mother to say this isn’t just as good as our own family Cheesecake recipe!
From his bio: Rich started in the food-service industry working in a German Butcher shop on Long Island when he was 12 years old. One day, one of the butchers didn’t show up and his boss needed a hand. He showed Rich how to hold the knife and filet the meat…and the rest is history. While in high school, Rich studied culinary arts and restaurant management. Upon graduation he attended Johnson and Wales University where he received an Associate’s degree in Culinary Arts and a Bachelor’s in Culinary Nutrition.
After college, Rich worked at Mario Batali’s restaurant, Babbo, as well as at Chelsea Piers where he was lead banquet chef for Abigail Kirsch Catering. It wasn’t long though before he decided to chase his passion for nutrition – his second love – and go back to school for a dietetic internship with Sodexo.
Rich is a tremendous asset whether he’s creating new menus for our patient population (80% fresh, homemade hospital fare!), instructing Baby-Boomers and beyond on how to keep their joints healthy, or dishing up delicious desserts such as this one. He does his mama proud, I am certain. Cheers, Rich and thanks for this fantastic recipe. We’ll be expecting more from you!
Rich’s Light New York Cheesecake
For the Crust
9 Whole graham crackers, broken into rough pieces and processed in a food processor to fine even crumbs (about 1 ¼ cups) – $1.01
4 Tbsp unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted – stock
1 Tbsp sugar – stock
For the Filling
1 pound 1% cottage cheese (small curd) – $2.29
1 pound light cream cheese, room temperature ( I used Neufchatel Cheese) – $1.50
1 ½ cups sugar (10 ½ ounces) – stock
1-cup (8 ounces) low fat strained, plain Greek yogurt (only Greek yogurt!) – $0.75
¼ tsp salt – stock
Grated zest from 1 lemon – $0.50
1 TBSP vanilla extract – stock
3 Large eggs, room temperature – stock
Grand Total Assuming a Well-Stocked Pantry: $6.05
Total Per Serving: $o.5o
1. Prepare the crust. In a medium bowl, combine the graham crackers crumbs, melted butter and sugar.
2. Transfer the mixture to a 9-inch spring-form pan and press evenly into the pan bottom and about halfway up the sides.
3. Line a bowl with a clean dishtowel or several layers of paper towels or cheesecloth. Spoon the cottage cheese into the bowl and let drain for 30 minutes. At the same time, strain the Greek yogurt through a fine-mesh colander placed over a bowl, also for 30 minutes. Discard the run-off liquid.
4. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees.
5. Process the drained cottage cheese in a food processor until smooth and creamy and no visible lumps remain, about 1 minute, scrapping down the work bowl as needed.
6. Add the softened cream cheese and strained yogurt and continue to process until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
7. Add the sugar, salt, lemon zest and vanilla and continue to process until smooth, about 1 minute, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
8. With the processor running, add the eggs one at a time and continue to process until smooth.
9. Pour the batter into the crust.
10. Bake for 10 minutes. Without opening the oven door, reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees and continue to bake until set, about 1 ½ hours.
11. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and run a paring knife around the edge of the cake to loosen.
12. Cool the cake at room temperature until barely warm, 2 ½ to 3 hours.
13. Wrap the pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.
14. To un-mold the cheesecake, wrap a hot kitchen towel around the pan and let stand for 1 minute. Remove the sides of the pan and blot any excess moisture from the top with a paper towel if the cake “sweats”.