No cooking chiffon cheesecake (Jean Nidetch Weight Watchers Cook Book, 1966)

Before anyone gets too excited about a Point-friendly cheesecake, I'll spoil the ending: the recipe was, quite literally, a flop. 

Choosing this recipe to try was born of necessity. Long story made medium, I like to have cottage cheese and some fruit for a snack after work (lately it's been strawberries since they're coming back into season here). My favorite cottage cheese is from Good Culture, because it is thick and rich and very, very delicious - and only 2 Points for a single-serve cup of it. They carry it at the Target I pass after picking up my son from school, so whenever I'm running low, I'll place a drive-up order so we can swing by quickly on our way home.

But the other day, there was a bit of a snafu with the drive-up folks, and my order was given to someone else on accident. They apologized (it happens! First issue in years of doing drive-up, that's not bad at all!), then reshopped my order. Except ... they were now all out of the 5 oz. cups of Good Culture cottage cheese, so they gave me 16 oz. containers instead at the same price.

And because I had ordered four of the 5 oz. cups, they gave me four of the 16 oz. ones. Four of them!

So I set out to find a recipe (or a few!) using cottage cheese. Being the 60s/70s, I knew there would be quite a few, and I was certainly right. Breakfasts, sauces, dips - and desserts.

It seemed easy enough - and almost no Points, too, so I found a reduced fat graham crust that would only be about 5 Points a serving, to made it a bit lovelier.

I am not much of a baker - that's my husband. He bakes, I cook. But since this promised no baking, I figured I could handle it!

It smelled like my grandmother's cheesecake, which I know I have the recipe for somewhere but I've never made on my own. The blended cottage cheese had the same scent as her cream cheese and sour cream mixtures.

What should have been a first warning for me was the volume of the cheese mixture - it easily filled the pie crust plus half a Pyrex baking dish!

Since the recipe said it took a while to set, we had it in the fridge for 24 hours before checking on it. Excited to dive in, we took it out of the fridge, tried to cut a slice, and ...

Soup! Ugh. Into the trash it went. The portion that wasn't in the pie shell was just as soupy still, so I don't think the crust had anything to do with it.

Lesson learned: if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. I'm not giving up on it just yet, though - I have a couple of theories on what went wrong:

  1. The recipe lists one envelope of gelatin - but does not specify a weight or volume. I'm going to check with the Internet and my Midcentury food group to see if there's any hints about how much gelatin would have been in an envelope in 1966, because my gut tells me that's why it didn't get solid enough.
  2. The recipe also calls for sugar substitute, which for me in 2022 means liquid stevia but likely meant a powdered sweetener 50-something years ago. I don't know that a teaspoon made the big difference in how much it firmed up, but it's worth considering.
  3. Maybe "very gradually" means more than 24 hours and we just weren't patient enough?

When I get this to work, it will be a nice go-to for when we need to bring desserts to events or want something special and sweet.


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