the appetizer:

Making healthy desserts is a snap with Nick Malgieri's Perfect Light Desserts. Here are some "Perfect" Dessert Tips from the book, and sample recipes like Easy Chocolate Mousse, Crisp Chocolate Biscotti and Lemon Cheese Tart with Strawberries.

I Love Desserts


Lemon Cheese Tart with Strawberries

Makes one 9- or 10-inch tart, about 8 servings

The filling in this tart is like a thin layer of cheesecake. A traditional cheesecake usually weighs in at 500 to 800 calories a serving, but don't worry. This tart has all the richness of cheesecake at a fraction of the calories. The strawberries dress it up really well. Try raspberries or even figs, cut in quarters, when they are in season. By the way, if you forget to take the cream cheese out of the refrigerator, put it in a glass bowl and microwave it for about 10 seconds at a time until it softens.

1 recipe Sweet Pastry Dough

Cheese Filling

  • 12 ounces low-fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2/3 cup fat-free plain yogurt, preferably Greek
         (see Sources, page 291 of the book)


  • 1 pint strawberries, rinsed, drained, hulled, and halved
  • Confectioners' sugar for sprinkling
  • One 9- or 10-inch fluted tart pan with removable bottom

1. Set a rack in the lowest level of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.

2. Unwrap the dough and place it on a floured work surface. Knead it lightly to soften it slightly, then form it into a disk. Flour the dough and roll it to an 11- to 12-inch disk. Fold the dough in half and transfer it to the pan, lining up the fold with the diameter of the pan. Unfold the dough into the pan and press it well into the bottom and,sides. Sever the excess dough at the rim of the pan with a bench scraper or the back of a paring knife. Set aside the crust while preparing the filling.

3. Beat the cream cheese and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer set on low speed, using the paddle attachment. Beat for about a minute, or until the mixture is smooth. Stop the mixer and scrape down the bowl and beater. Add the vanilla, lemon zest, and one of the eggs. Beat again on low speed until smooth. Scrape down again and add the other egg. Beat and scrape again. Follow the same procedure for adding the egg whites, one at a time. The low-speed beating prevents the filling from absorbing too much air and cracking after it's baked. All the scraping down of the bowl and beater helps to prevent lumps from forming in the filling.

4. Beat in the yogurt smoothly.

5. Use a large rubber spatula to give a final mixing to the filling and scrape it into the prepared pastry crust, smoothing the top.

6. Bake the tart for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the crust is baked through and the filling is set and no longer wobbly in the center.

7. Cool the tart on a rack. When it has cooled completely, unmold it according to the instructions on page 107 and slide the tart onto a platter. Cover loosely with plastic wrap.

8. Right before serving, arrange the strawberry halves in a ring inside the edge of the crust. Sprinkle the berries lightly with confectioners' sugar.

Serving: You could always add a few more berries on the side of the tart wedge, but it certainly doesn't need anything more than that.

Storage: Keep the tart refrigerated and bring it to room temperature for an hour before finishing with the berries and serving. Wrap and refrigerate leftovers and bring to room temperature again before serving.

Per serving; 297 calories, 14 g total fat (42% of calories), 8 g saturated fat, 11 g protein, 33 a carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 115 mg cholesterol, 276 mg sodium


Perfect Light Desserts
Fabulous Cakes, Cookies, Pies, and More Made with Real Butter, Sugar, Flour, and Eggs, All Under 300 Calories Per Generous Serving

By Nick Malgieri, David Joachim
William Morrow
$29.95 U.S. / $37.95 Canada
ISBN 0-06-077929-2
Recipe reprinted by permission.

Buy Perfect Light Desserts


Perfect Light Desserts


This page created April 2007

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