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So GoodJune/July 2010 Issue

Creamy, Dreamy Gluten-Free Cheesecake

A cool slice of decadence with a gluten-free, dairy-free twist

Cheesecake, voted the No. 1 dessert choice of restaurant diners across America, is off limits to many of us on special diets. There’s gluten in the graham cracker crust and dairy and eggs in the filling, not to mention the wheat flour often added as thickener. But here’s the good news. We’ve created delicious cheesecake recipes that are gluten free and some can be made dairy free and egg free, as well.

The idea of a cheese-based cake came to America with the early immigrants. Traditional New York-style cheesecake—the slightly dense, moist, sweet dessert made with cream cheese—appeared in the 1870s. It was around this time that William Lawrence, a dairyman in upstate New York, developed modern cream cheese. His cream cheese was originally sold under the name Empire Cheese Company, later known as Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese. Today, cream cheese is the essence of this classic dessert.

Cool, smooth and creamy-rich, a slice of cheesecake is an ideal way to end a summertime meal. And these recipes prove there’s no longer any reason not to indulge.

 


 

Basic Gluten-Free Cheesecake

SERVES 12

Modify this versatile recipe using different crusts and toppings to suit your needs. It’s fun to create different desserts using one basic no-fail cheesecake.

2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese or dairy-free cream cheese, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
2 cups Greek yogurt, sour cream or dairy-free sour cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 gluten-free crust of choice, pre- baked
- Topping of choice

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the sugar and continue beating for a few minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine. Then beat in remaining ingredients.

3. Pour the filling into a springform pan that contains a cooled prebaked crust.

4. Bake in preheated oven on the middle rack for 2 hours or until the top is golden and feels firm yet soft like a baked custard. Begin checking after 90 minutes. Internal temperature should be 150 degrees.

5. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake inside for about an hour. Five minutes after shutting off the oven, run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan to help prevent cheesecake from cracking as it cools and settles.

6. Remove cheesecake from the oven and cool completely before chilling in the refrigerator. Cover with toppings of your choice. Slice and serve.

Each slice with graham cracker crust contains 581 calories, 44g total fat, 24g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 205mg cholesterol, 373mg sodium, 42g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 11g protein.

 


 

Can Be Made Egg Free, Too

Dairy-Free Cheesecake

SERVES 8

The texture of this cheesecake is silky smooth. No one will guess it’s made with tofu.

1 (16-ounce) package silken tofu, drained
1 cup sugar
2 (8-ounce) packages dairy-free cream cheese
1 egg,* room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 gluten-free crust of choice, prebaked
- Topping of choice

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Place the tofu in a food processor and blend until smooth. Add the sugar and dairy-free cream cheese and blend. Add the egg and vanilla and blend.

3. Pour the batter into the prebaked crust.

4. Bake in preheated oven on the middle rack for 45 minutes. The edges will be firm, the center soft.

5. Turn the oven off and leave the cheesecake in the oven with the door slightly ajar for 1 hour.

6. Remove from oven and cool completely before refrigerating. Slice and serve or finish cheesecake with toppings of choice.

Each slice with graham cracker crust contains 405 calories, 20g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 49mg cholesterol, 279mg sodium, 52g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 10g protein.

*For Egg-Free, Dairy-Free Cheesecake, add 2 tablespoons cornstarch to processed tofu mixture and blend. In a small bowl, whisk 1½ tablespoons egg-replacer with 6 tablespoons water until frothy; mix into batter and continue with recipe instructions.

For Dairy-Free Chocolate Cheesecake, add ½ cup unsweetened cocoa to food processer when blending in the sugar. If making the egg-free version, it's not necessary to add the cornstarch.

 


Green Tea Cheesecake

SERVES 8-12

This special dessert is ideal for a ladies’ luncheon or a bridal shower.

1 gluten-free crust of choice, pre- baked
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
3 teaspoons Japanese green tea powder or 2 teaspoons finely ground green tea (removed from 4 tea bags)
¾ cup sugar
3 large eggs + 2 yolks, room temperature
½ cup mascarpone or crème fraiche
- Topping of choice

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Tightly wrap the outside of the pan containing the prebaked crust with 3 layers of heavy-duty foil, dull side out.

2. Using electric mixer fitted with paddle, beat cream cheese until fluffy, scraping sides and bottom of bowl.

3. Mix green tea powder into sugar. Add to cream cheese and continue beating.

4. Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed after each addition until incorporated and scraping sides and bottom of bowl. Beat in mascarpone, one tablespoon at a time.

5. Pour batter into prepared crust. Place the pan into a larger roasting pan and carefully add enough hot water to roasting pan to reach halfway up the outside of the springform pan.

6. Bake cake until set, about 1 hour. (Center should move very slightly when pan is gently shaken.) Remove cake from roasting pan. Cool completely at room temperature. Then refrigerate uncovered overnight to set before serving.

Each slice contains 355 calories, 32g total fat, 12g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 144mg cholesterol, 212mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 9g protein.

TIP Try Matcha Green Tea Powder, available at amazon.com.

 


Our Magazine Cover Recipe

 

Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

SERVES 12 TO 16

This luxurious treat has a brownie crust, a creamy filling and two ganache toppings. For a dairy-free version, make Dairy-Free Chocolate Cheesecake  with dairy-free variations of Brownie Crust and chocolate ganache toppings.

10 ounces good-quality dark chocolate
2 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 eggs + 1 yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
1 chocolate brownie crust, prebaked (below)
- Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Milk Chocolate Ganache

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2. Break both types of chocolate into pieces and melt over hot water or in the microwave. Set aside.

3. Beat the cream cheese until fluffy, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add sugar and continue beating for a few minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating until incorporated, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl. Beat in the vanilla. Mix in the cream. Slowly stir in melted chocolate until ingredients are combined.

4. Pour filling into cooled prebaked crust.

5. Place cheesecake in preheated oven and bake on middle rack for 2 hours or until sides feel firm and the center is soft like baked custard. Begin checking after 90 minutes. Internal temperature should be 150 degrees.

6. Turn oven off. Leave cheesecake in oven with door propped open for about an hour.

7. When cool, top with milk chocolate ganache. Then top with dark chocolate ganache.

Each slice contains 614 calories, 36g total fat, 21g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 140mg cholesterol, 185mg sodium, 73g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 8g protein.

 


Toppings

 

Cherry Topping

MAKES 2 CUPS

⅓ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen pitted dark sweet cherries, defrosted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons water

1. Mix sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Add cherries, lemon juice and water, stirring over medium heat until mixture thickens.

2. Remove from heat and cool before spooning over cheesecake.

 


Mixed Berry Topping

MAKES ABOUT 4 CUPS

1 cup raspberries
1 cup blueberries
½ cup blackberries, if available
2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
¼ cup sugar
1½ teaspoons white distilled vinegar

1. Pick through and wash the berries.

2. Place half the berries into a saucepan with sugar and vinegar. Bring mixture to a boil.

3. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Gently mix in remaining berries and spoon over cheesecake.

 


Dairy-Free Sour Cream Topping

MAKES ABOUT 1 CUP

1 cup sour cream or dairy-free sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Whisk together sour cream, sugar and vanilla.

2. Spoon topping over baked cheesecake.

3. Return cheesecake to 325-degree preheated oven and bake for about 8 more minutes or until topping is set.

4. Cool in pan on a wire rack. When cool, remove springform from pan, leaving cheesecake on the pan bottom. Set on a serving plate and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

 


Dairy-Free Milk Chocolate Ganache

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

9  ounces milk chocolate,* chopped
¾  cup heavy cream or coconut milk (not lite)
1½ tablespoons cold unsalted butter or dairy-free margarine

1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat cream and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour boiling mixture over chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes without stirring.

3. Swirl mixture until blended and smooth. Let sit until it begins to thicken. Pour over cooled cheesecake, spreading to cover.

*TIP For dairy-free chocolate, try Enjoy Life chocolate chips, enjoylifefoods.com.

 


 

Dark Chocolate Ganache

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup heavy cream or coconut milk (not lite)
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter or dairy-free margarine

1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium stainless steel bowl. Set aside.

2. Heat cream and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour boiling mixture over chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes without stirring.

3. Swirl mixture until blended and smooth. Let sit until it begins to thicken. Pour over cooled cheesecake, spreading to cover evenly.

 


Dairy-Free Coconut Topping

MAKES 3 CUPS

¾ cup heavy cream or coconut milk
½ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
½ cup unsalted butter or dairy-free margarine
1 (3½-ounce) can flaked coconut, about 1⅓ cups

1. Over medium heat, bring the cream, brown sugar and butter to a full boil. Immediately remove from heat.

2. Stir in coconut.

3. Cool to room temperature. Pour over cooled cheesecake, spreading to cover.

 


Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Crust

MAKES ONE 8- OR 9-INCH CRUST

To vary the flavor of your cheesecake crust, substitute any type of crunchy gluten-free cookie. Try crushed gingersnaps, vanilla or chocolate sandwich cookies, biscotti, shortbread, vanilla cookies—even brownies!

1½ cups (6 ounces) gluten-free graham cracker crumbs or crushed cookies of choice
½ teaspoon cinnamon, optional
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or Earth Balance or dairy-free shortening of choice, melted

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a springform pan. Set aside.

2. Mix graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon and melted butter together.

3. Press mixture into prepared pan.

4. Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on a rack before adding cheesecake filling.

 


Gluten-Brownie Crust

MAKES ONE 9-INCH CRUST

8 tablespoons butter or dairy-free shortening, of choice
4 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
1½ cups sugar
2 eggs
¼ cup milk of choice (cow, rice, soy, nut, hemp)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup gluten-free flour blend of choice
½ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease and flour the sides and bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

2. Melt butter and chocolate in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm.

3. Add sugar to chocolate mixture. Stir in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in milk and vanilla.

4. In a separate bowl, combine flour and salt. Stir into batter until blended.

5. Spoon batter into prepared springform pan, spreading evenly. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until center is firm to touch. Cool on rack before adding cheesecake filling.

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