Gluten-Free Creamy and Dense Cheesecake

  • Serves: Makes one 9- or 10-inch springform pan
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Variation: Gluten-Free Chocolate Ganache Covered Creamy and Dense Cheesecake


I made this gluten free cheesecake for my family and served it on Christmas Eve, 2010. I like my cheesecakes with a crust and have tried to make some with gluten-free graham crackers without much taste success. I wanted to make a suitable gluten-free crust I could enjoy with the cheesecake and one my family would not suspect was gluten-free to go with the luscious filling. I decided to use the cookies from my recipe for Sarah's Gluten-Free Classics Chocolate Chip Cookies, which have not been posted yet, for the crust base. The flavoring from the ground chocolate chips from the baked cookies was perfect, and you can use any gluten-free chocolate chip cookies! It paired perfectly with the ground nuts in the crust, along with the cheesecake's vanilla filling and complimented the zingy raspberry glaze on top of the cheesecake. The entire family raved about this classic dessert and we ate the whole dessert in one sitting! I failed to take photos because I just created the crust part of the recipe as I went along, but will do so when I make it again! The cheesecake filling part is from my Creamy and Luscious No Crack Cheesecake, and as promised, it did not crack.

Cookie Crust - Gluten-Free Variation: / Recipe alone
1 1/4 cups gluten-free chocolate chip cookie crumbs, finely ground; about five to six, 1 -ounce cookies will yield about 1 1/4 cups cookie crumbs
1/2 cup fine ground nuts, preferably pecans or walnuts; grind and then, measure
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
32 ounces (four 8-ounce packages) cream cheese; preferably Philadelphia Brand
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 large eggs

1 cup raspberry preserves, excellent quality
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice or water
1 teaspoon lemon peel, finely minced

1. Position the oven rack to the middle and another shelf, one rung down. You will later place a pan with a waterbath on the lower shelf.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Generously grease the bottom and side of a 9- or 10-inch springform pan with vegetable oil spray. Optionally, put a disk or parchment paper in the bottom and grease that. (Place pan on paper and trace around, cut).

3. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, grind gluten-free Chocolate Chip cookies into fine crumbs. Measure 1 1/4 cups into a medium bowl.

In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, pulse the machine and grind pecans until you get fine particles. Measure 1/2 cup.

4. Add the measured cookie crumbs and ground pecans back into the bowl of the food processor, fitted with the steel blade. Pulse to combine

5. Add the vanilla extract and pulse the machine to mix. And, add the melted butter and pulse the machine until the mixture becomes a wet dough.

6. Press the crust dough mixture right into the prepared pan.

7. Set on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake crust for about 15 minutes or until the crust is just beginning to set and start to bubble a little. Take care not to let it burn.
The crust may leak butter; it's ok.

SARAH SAYS: The butter in my crust started to bubble a little during baking. Note the tiny holes around the edges of the crust. It's typical.

8. Cool crust slightly in its pan on a wire cake rack while you prepare the cream cheese filling.

Do NOT turn off the oven.

1. Place a 9- x 13-inch empty pan on the shelf below the middle rack. (You will later fill it with boiling water to produce steam in the oven.)

2. Blend sugar and cornstarch together in a small bowl.

3. Place one 8-ounce package of the cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the sugar/cornstarch mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment on low speed until creamy, about 1 minute.

4. Beat in the remaining 3 packages of cream cheese and the vanilla. Scrape down the side of the bowl.

5. With the mixer on low, beat in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of the sugar / cornstarch mixture.

6. Add the heavy cream in a steady drizzle at the side of the bowl.

7. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, until completely mixed after each one. Be careful not to overmix.
Stop the mixer and remove the bowl. Scrape and mix in any unblended ingredients. (If the batter has tiny lumps, it’s ok). Tap the bowl’s bottom on the countertop about six times to get rid of air bubbles.

8. Gently pour the filling into the prebaked crust. If the crust is still a little warm from baking, it's ok. (If using a solid cake pan, the batter will come to the rim.) Tap the pan on its side with the side of the handle of a wooden spoon about a dozen times to get rid of air bubbles. Smooth the top, otherwise it may crack along any overlapping batter.

9. Place the cheesecake on a foil lined baking sheet and put in oven. Immediately pour about an inch of boiling hot water in the heated pan below and shut the door.

10. After about 10 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.

11. Bake the cheesecake about 1 hour until the top of the cake moves as one solid piece rather than like liquid cream when tapped with the handle of a wooden spoon. The center circle will wobble a bit more and look wet, more than the sides, but not be soupy.
The crust may leak butter; it's ok.

When the cake is done, remove it from the oven.

12. Place it on a wire rack for 1 – 2 hours to cool. The cake will come from the oven slightly puffed and will fall back down and flatten as it cools.

13. Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and chill it at least 12 hours, preferably for 24 hours. The cheesecake tastes better if chilled overnight.

Remove the pan of water from the oven once the water in it has cooled.

1. Gently heat raspberry jam and lemon juice until the jam is fluid and hot. Let boil a few seconds. Remove from heat.

2. Press mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove seeds. Discard seeds. Stir in the lemon peel. Let remaining glaze mixture cool to room temperature.

3. Spread glaze onto top of chilled cheesecake still in its springform pan and return to the refrigerator for an hour so glaze sets.

4. To unmold, remove the side and bottom of the springform pan.
Or, if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate.

With a sharp and warmed knife, cut cheesecake into wedges and serve. To warm a knife, dip into warm water and dry with a towel. Use immediately.
Clean and warm before each new cut.

Store the cheesecake in the refrigerator or freezer for 4 - 5 days tightly covered with plastic wrap. It can be frozen for 2 to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator in its wrappers.
Cut before almost thawed for clean and neat cuts.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Ganache Covered Creamy and Dense Cheesecake

1-6-2011: SARAH SAYS: "We celebrated our daughter Liz's b'day last night - it was a little early, but one of her brother's (one of our 3 sons) had to return to college today!

Upon request, she wanted me to me to make her my Gluten-Free Chocolate Ganache Covered Cheesecake with a Chocolate Chip Cookie-Pecan Crust!
I also grated a small amount of orange peel on top before the ganache set! It was heavenly! It was all gone by the end of the night - shared by 6!

The cheesecake is really unbelievable! The chocolate ganache topping sets like a soft chocolate bar. The orange peel infuses into the chocolate with a very subtle flavor and scent.
And, it isn't sweet at all. Paired with the creamy vanilla cheesecake filling, and then, the crust is slightly crunchy and has a very subtle vanilla, pecan and chocolate flavor! The chocolate topping and the crust are the same thickness, so you feel like you are eating a cheesecake coated on both sides! OH MY GOODNESS!"

3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, or more if needed
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups Nestle's or Ghirardeli's semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated orange peel

1. Place chocolate chips in a medium-sized microwaveable bowl. Heat under 50% power for 30 seconds at a time in a microwave until SLIGHTLY melted.

2. Heat the cream in the microwave under 50% power for 30 seconds at a time until hot.

3. Pour over the warmed chocolate chips. Stir in one direction until the chocolate chips are fully melted. If the chips do not melt fully, microwave the chocolate / cream mixture on 50% power for a few seconds
at a time until the mixture is warmed. Stir, again.

4. Add in butter and stir in one direction. Add in vanilla extract and stir in one direction.

5. Sift 1 to 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar over the mixture and stir. Let cool slightly.

6. Spread ganache onto top of chilled cheesecake still in its springform pan. Optionally, grate an orange over the top of the ganache, so you get a few peels that fall into it, before it sets; you don't need a lot
to infuse the ganache with flavor.

Return to the refrigerator for an hour so the ganache sets.

4. To unmold, remove the side and bottom of the springform pan.
Or, if you wish, simply leave the cake on the removable bottom of the pan and place it on a serving plate.

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