Monday, September 14, 2009

Gluten Free Cheesecake with Almond Crust

The overwhelming winner of last month's recipe poll was Cheesecake with Almond Crust. I won't bore you with the details, but this was actually a recipe I hadn't made up yet. I always make my mom's cheesecake filling and just eat it without a crust, and I thought doing a crust with almonds would be so easy that it wouldn't take any time at all to whip up a crust and write about it. Just so you know and I keep myself honest here, there were several incarnations of this particular crust before I settled on one that I liked. There was the crust where the almonds weren't crushed finely enough and fell apart. There was the crust I used almond meal flour for that was too fine and didn't have enough texture. And there was the perfect crust that I baked in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes (What was I thinking?) and it came out black and smoking. But I am happy to report, I have come up with a great recipe that is remarkably similar to a graham-cracker crust without the help of the internet, all on my own! I always try to reinvent the wheel, it seems. But this is one time where it really paid off.

Almond Crust for Cheesecake

2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 stick (4 Tbsp) of melted butter

Place almonds and sugar in a blender or food processor. Chop until consistency resembles a coarse meal. Pour into a bowl and toss with melted butter. (Or pour butter into food processor as you pulse.) Place nut mixture into 9 inch pie pan. Press into sides and bottom of tin with a wooden spoon. Pat mixture down well on bottom of tin with spoon, just to make sure it's together. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 15 minutes, until nice and golden. Let cool completely.

No Bake Cheesecake Filling, also known as Cherry Cheese Pie
from the Philadelphia Cream Cheese package

1 package of room temperature cream cheese
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tsp vanilla

Beat cream cheese in stand mixer by itself until it is creamy and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add milk and lemon juice slowly to prevent spilling. Let beat for about 4-5 minutes until combined well, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Add vanilla, beat till incorporated. Spread into cooled almond crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour. (Hard to do, you'll just want to eat it right then!)
I've noticed that this crust holds up a little better the longer it is refrigerated. It is a little fragile right after baking. So if you're taking it to a party, make one the night before and let it set in the refrigerator for a day. This pie is so smooth and creamy and the crunch from the crust is the perfect complement. Happy eating!

1 comment:

  1. I'm gonna try a GF 'graham-esque' crust on a pumpkin pie… Why graham? First, I truly miss graham crust since going gluten free (not by choice!). Second, I hate a boring tasteless crust & the only other way I know to make a crust less bland is the Southern way: more sugar & about 1lb of butter (4x your recipe)!! Yum but sooo bad for you/me/everyone—I blame my 1/2 Southern roots for the intro to the truly tasty/naughty "tons of butter" way!

    And pumpkin is a flavor I love ANY time, plus I've got 1 can of pumpkin leftover from Thanksgiving :). I'll try to cheesecake next time—love that too (who doesn't??).

    It's funny—even before I went online I had a sense that brown sug/almond flour would work well as a GF sub for graham… So that's what I looked for & found *you*! (Btw—ground almonds = almond flour / almond meal. So, just buy that if you don't have time to grind up almonds/don't want to wear out your processor quicker.)

    But, there's 1 problem: I don't want a crumbly crust—I want it to be close to the real thg yet still healthy!! It's a big ask, but I'm gonna try an experiment… Instead of more butter, I'll add some grapeseed oil—perhaps 1/4c, more of less. Besides being a "good" fat, did you know it's abundant b/c grapeseeds are a product of winemaking? Not only that—this oil has a higher cooking point than coconut or olive, so it's best when cooking over 350°F.

    We'll see how much crumble mine has—I'll share results if I remember ;). Anyway, thx for your recipe! It saves me playing mad scientist in the kitchen w/almond meal & brown sugar etc, from scratch! (I do this often, but boy does it take longer!!)


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