My kids love cream cheese, so I usually pick up a tub of light cream cheese for their almost-daily bagels. Lately, I’ve noticed a product on the shelf, right next to the tubs and blocks of Philadelphia-brand cream cheese, offering the ultimate in convenience desserts: Philadelphia’s Heavenly Classic Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling. And by "ready-to-eat" they mean no baking is required. The package suggests to simply buy a ready-made 9-inch pie shell, pour in the ready-to-eat cheesecake filling, add some "Baker’s chocolate, fresh berries, or Oreo crumbles," and voila! Your cheesecake is ready to go. A super-quick, no-bake cheesecake. But is the convenience worth it?
Saturated Fat Nightmare
Cheesecake is hardly central to a low-fat diet, but a little indulgence from time to time may, paradoxically, keep you on the dietary straight and narrow. So is Philadelphia's Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling a product you should consider for fulfilling those secret cheesecake urges? In short, no.
The fat content is staggering. Without the crust, one-eighth of the filling delivers 17 grams of total fat (26 percent of daily value), 10 grams of saturated fat (50 percent of daily value), plus 240 calories with 150 of them coming from fat.
And that's just the filling! Add in the crust, and those daily values increase to 42 percent for total fat and 65 percent for saturated fat. This assumes you use a regular Honey Maid brand graham cracker crust. If you happen to choose a Keebler crust, the fat content, including trans fats, is much higher. You can, of course, buy a reduced-fat graham crust, but given the fat content of the filling, you are not going to save a whole lot of fat and calories overall.
Low-Fat Taste at a High-Fat Price
All this fat is crammed into a 370-calorie dessert (including the crust). If you can eat your remaining daily 1200-1600 calories without consuming any more fat, then go ahead and enjoy your slice of cheesecake. But, personally, I think I’d rather use my treat calories eating a thin slice of New York cheesecake, or having a scoop of my favorite premium brand of ice cream.
Plainly said, the taste and texture of the cheesecake filling don't justify the high-fat content. At least with a slice of real cheesecake or a scoop of ice cream, you can understand why they are so high in fat: they taste rich and are dense and creamy. But this ready-to-eat cheesecake filling is too light and tastes artificially smooth—characteristic of many low-fat products, which this clearly is not. There is simply not enough body and taste to justify ingesting all of those fat calories to satisfy a cheesecake craving.
So, however appealing a no-bake cheesecake may be, using Philadelphia's Heavenly Classic Ready-To-Eat Cheesecake Filling is sure to disappoint. Better you go the traditional route or use a reduced-fat or fat-free cream cheese for a satisfying yet guiltless dessert.