Baking a gluten-free cheesecake is a simple way to indulge yourself when you're confined to a gluten-free diet. Most crusts for cheesecake utilize flour or a cracker or cookie mixture containing gluten. However, the following gluten-free version uses a buttery ground almond crust.
Gluten-Free Nut Crust
The base of a delicious gluten-free cheesecake begins with a nut crust. This recipe uses blanched almonds for the crust, but you can experiment with other nuts, or grind up baked gluten-free shortbread cookies.
5 ounces slivered blanched almonds (or 1 1/4 cups)
5 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Place the slivered blanched almonds in a food processor. Process until the blanched almonds have been finely ground, scraping the bottom occasionally to ensure even grinding.
Transfer the ground almonds to a mixing bowl. Pour in the melted butter and add the sugar. Stir until well mixed. Transfer to a springform pan, and press evenly on the bottom. Take two large squares of aluminum foil and wrap the bottom of the springform pan. This will prevent the water from the water bath from seeping and soaking the crust during baking.
Reserve this for the cheesecake filling.
Cheesecake Filling Recipe
24 ounces gluten-free cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup gluten-free sour cream
Place the softened cream cheese in the bowl of a stand-up mixer. Beat on low speed until the cream cheese has been creamed and is smooth. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl several times to ensure that no lumps remain. Add the granulated sugar, and scrape the sides down.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract, the sour cream, and scrape the bowl again.
Pour the cheesecake batter onto the prepared nut crust. Set this onto a large baking sheet, then place in the center of a preheated 325 degree oven. Carefully add enough water to cover the outside bottom crust of the cheesecake, about an inch.
Bake the cheesecake for about one hour and 15 minutes, or until evenly and lightly browned on top. Make sure that the center of the cheesecake is puffed slightly and is set.
Remove the cheesecake from the oven and let cool before removing the springform pan sides.
Gluten-Free Cheesecake Variations
A gluten-free cheesecake recipe contains similar ingredients to that of a standard cheesecake. The main differences are that there are no other ingredients stirred into the batter, like crushed cookies, to grant extra flavor. The above recipe is rich enough by itself, but if you want to change the recipe a bit, it is important that any ingredients added do not contain gluten. Some spice mixtures contain other ingredients for binding, so read labels carefully before adding such items to the cheesecake batter.
You can easily flavor a plain cheesecake with different ingredients. Pure cocoa powder contains no gluten, but chocolate malt or chocolate powder mixes may be possible sources. Use fresh berries and fresh fruits rather than prepared canned pie fillings. You can also use a favorite gluten-free pie crust in place of the nut crust for your cheesecake.