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Guilt-Free Holiday Dessert? Yes, There's Such a Thing
by: Shawn Ferrando
This bound to delight guests dessert has only 223 calories.
This bound to delight guests dessert has only 223 calories.

Q: With the holidays around the corner, is there a healthy pumpkin pie recipe I can make without all the guilt?

-D. Potter, Foothill Ranch, CA

A: Absolutely. Only 233 calories, this holiday dessert presents the familiar irresistible spicy flavor of pumpkin pie without an excess of calories, cholesterol, and fat. To lighten it up and not deter from the flavor and texture, a combination of nonfat ricotta cheese, light cream cheese, and beaten egg whites reduced the calories by half and produce a smooth texture. The results speak for themselves: the best-tasting and best-looking pumpkin cheesecake possible. This pumpkin cheesecake will win over any body at your holiday dinner table-guilt free!

Pumpkin Cheesecake:

  • Vegetable cooking spray
  • 1- cup nonfat ricotta cheese
  • 2 (8-ounce) tubs light process cream cheese product
  • 1-cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon ground gloves
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (16 ounce) can mashed cooked pumpkin
  • 4 egg whites
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided

1. Coat bottom of a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray. Wrap outside bottom and sides of pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, set aside. Position knife blade in food processor bowl; add the ricotta cheese and cream cheese, and process until smooth. Add brown sugar and the next 6 ingredients; process until smooth. Pour into a large bowl; stir in pumpkin, and set aside.

2. Beat 4 egg whites (at room temperature) and cream of tartar at high speed of an electric mixer until foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg white mixture into pumpkin mixture. Gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.

3. Pour into prepared pan; place in a large, shallow pan. Add hot water to larger pan to a depth of 1 inch. Bake at 300 degrees for 50 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool in water bath for 1 hour. Remove springform pan from water; remove foil from pan. Cover and chill at least 8 hours.

4. Place 3 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Caramelize by stirring often until sugar melts and is golden (about 5 minutes). Rapidly spread mixture onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Cool completely.
Break mixture into small pieces. Position knife blade in processor bowl; add crystallized sugar. Pulse 6 times. Sprinkle over cheesecake.

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: 1 wedge). Calories 233, Protein 9.4 grams, Fat 7.5 grams, Carb 33.7 grams, Cholesterol 59mg.

949.292.1799 | 30555 Trabuco Canyon Rd. # 101, Trabuco Canyon, CA

Owner of Shawn Ferrando Studio Fitness, Shawn Ferrando, has over 24 years professional experience in the health and fitness industry. Shawn has numerous National certifications including the National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Advanced Specialization Sports Fitness Specialist, National Academy Of Sports Medicine Certified Core Stabilization Training, O.C.C. Fitness Specialist/Personal Trainer, Apex Certified Trainer, AA Nutrition Education, Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Indoor Cycle Certification. Shawn has extensive experience in rehabilitation training (post injury/pre-post surgery), sport specific training and is CPR/AED Certified through the American Heart Association. Shawn is also a member of the world’s largest associations of Health and Fitness Professionals, Idea Health and Fitness Association and the American College Of Sports Medicine. To contact Shawn directly, please email her at

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