The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. It’s the biggest celebration of summer, the cheeriest season of the year. Now I know I’ve been going on and on about summer and barbecues and how wonderful it all is but can you blame me? I mean, who wouldn’t love this holiday with all the red, white and blue decorating the sidewalks, fun gatherings and, of course, fireworks. Oh the majestic fireworks. I remember as a child my excitement all summer waiting for those vibrant pops of color bursting through the sky with their thunderous boom. How the world just seemed to melt away and get lost in the magic.
Now we all know that the 4th is a big food holiday (like any holiday isn’t?) but what I love most about it is that you can have all the fun and flavor of this barbecue fête without having to blow your diet. Most summer dishes are lighter and include fresh ingredients like fruits and vegetables. The only problem seems to come with dessert. Pies and cakes are usually made with high fat ingredients and even with a reasonable portion size can wreak disaster on your summer bikini bod.
Thankfully, I’ve fixed that problem wih my red, white and blue cheesecake bites. Not only are they lower in fat and calories than traditional cheesecake, they are portioned in perfect little bite-sized packages that are so adorbs everyone will go gaga over them! “Now, Barbara, low-fat cheesecake?” you say, “How can that be any good?” Well, you’re just going to have to trust me… and M’s grubby fingers! He ate a whole plate of them while my head was turned and said it was the best dessert he’s had in a long time. I promise you, they ARE dee-licious!
If you don’t want to make all three colors/flavors, feel free to only pick your favorite. Strawberry is the favorite in this house. If you want to make them gluten-free, then omit the crust or use almond meal instead. Also, if you don’t have a mini tart pan, you can use a regular non-stick cupcake pan and only fill the batter one-third.
Happy Independence Day, America!
Red, White & Blue Mini Cheesecake Tarts
Servings: 36 • Size: 1 tart • Weight Watcher Points+: 1
Calories: 46 • Fat: 2g • Carbs: 5g • Fiber: 0 • Protein: 2g
Sugars: 4g • Sodium: 34g • Cholesterol: 9mg
- 24 reduced fat vanilla wafers
- 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces light cream cheese (or neufchâtel), softened at room temperature
- 8 ounces fat free ricotta cheese
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 egg whites
- ½ cup blueberries (fresh is best but can substitute frozen & thawed)
- 6 strawberries (fresh is best but can substitute frozen & thawed)
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- Whip cream, sour cream or greek yogurt (my fave!) for garnish (optional)
- Extra blueberries, strawberries and mint leaves for garnish (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat a mini tart pan with cooking spray or oil mister with light tasting oil.
Crumble the cookies in a food processor or by placing them in a resealable plastic bag and using a mallet. Make sure they are fully crushed.
Melt the butter in a small bowl in the microwave for 2 minutes on 40% power, watching carefully & removing once melted.
In a medium bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs and butter with a fork until all crumbs are moistened.
Lightly press a heaping teaspoonful of the cookie mixture into the bottom of each cup of a mini tart pan using your fingers. Set aside.
With a stand mixer and whip attachment or large bowl and hand mixer, whip together the ricotta and cream cheese on medium-high until the two are fully incorporated. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue whipping until the mixture is light and fluffy. Slowly add the egg whites one at a time, waiting until the first is incorporated before adding the second. Continue whipping 2-3 minutes until the mixture is glossy and smooth.
Divide the mixture into three bowls. In a blender (I used my small smoothie blender), purée the blueberries and add them to one of the bowls. Stir to combine. Clean out the blender and repeat with the strawberries, adding them to a second bowl and stirring to combine. Add the lemon juice to the third bowl and stir to combine.
Spoon the mixture on top of the cookie crumbs to the top of the mini tart pan (1/3 if you are using a cupcake pan).
Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 1 hour. Run a knife along the edge of each cheesecake to help with removal. Garnish with a dollop of whip cream, sour cream or greek yogurt (my fave!) and a blueberry, strawberry slice or mint leaf to match the bite.