Since my celiac diagnosis and strict gluten free diet began almost two years ago, I have done quite a bit of experimental baking in my kitchen. Many things just didn’t “take the cake,” so to speak, and frankly, weren’t very pleasing to eat, let alone serve to guests. That’s one major sticking point about baking gluten free from scratch; it’s a lot of trial and error and sometimes, it just doesn’t turn out as planned. Bummer and #kitchenfail. However, let’s view this as the ‘glass is half full.’ Experimenting opens you and your kitchen up to trying all sorts of new ingredients and combinations, and when it works, it’s such an amazing feeling! This crust and cheesecake are examples of gluten free baking #kitchensuccess. The crust can be used for various baking applications, from cheesecakes to tarts. And the cheesecake filling itself is a blank canvas that can be modified to any flavor of your liking, from fruit to chocolate. Be sure to keep these two recipes safely filed away in your recipe box. I think you’re going to refer to them often!
Gluten Free Almond Flour Crust
- 1 large egg, preferably organic
- 2 1/4 cups super fine blanched almond flour (I used Bob's Red Mill)
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 3 Tbsp. sugar
- 6 Tbsp. butter, melted
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 2 Butter or grease your springform or tart pan.
- Step 3 In a large bowl, crack the egg and beat with a fork or whisk.
- Step 4 Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well using a wooden spoon or your hands.
- Step 5 When the dough comes together, place the ball on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap well. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. This makes it a little easier to handle the dough.
- Step 6 Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan, pressing down gently to ensure that the thickness is even.
- Step 7 Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool slightly before adding your filling.
- Step 8 Note: This recipe makes a nice amount of dough. It can be split into smaller portions depending on the size of your pans.
Cook’s tips: Adding the egg to this recipe really helps the dough come together and adds a lightness to it. While you can certainly make the crust without the egg, I suggest adding it. It enables the crust to act more like a regular pie crust. The dough can be kept in the fridge for up to one day. Allow it to soften slightly before working with it.
Now, without further adieu, the no-bake strawberry filling! This recipe would work with just about any fresh fruit, including blueberries or raspberries. You could even puree pineapple, which would be delicious. It’s all about experimenting and having fun in the kitchen!
No-Bake Gluten Free Strawberry Cheesecake Filling
- 1 16-ounce container of strawberries, preferably organic (hulled and sliced in half)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 Tbsp. unflavored gelatin (I used Knox brand)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 8-ounce brick of cream cheese, softened to room temperature
- 8-ounces mascarpone cheese, softened to room temperature
- 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
- Step 1 In a medium pot, add the strawberries, 2 Tbsp. of water, granulated sugar and 1/8 tsp. salt.
- Step 2 Cook over med-high heat until the strawberries soften, stirring often. The mixture should be bubbling.
- Step 3 When the strawberries are very soft, remove from the heat. Using an immersion blender, begins blending the mixture until it forms a smooth puree. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can pour the mixture into a regular blender (Very carefully since it’ll be hot) and blend until smooth.
- Step 4 In the meantime, place the other 2 Tbsp. of lukewarm water in a small bowl and add the gelatin, stirring gently. Allow it to sit and thicken.
- Step 5 Add the gelatin to the strawberry puree and whisk well, ensuring that the gelatin is dissolved.
- Step 6 Allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Step 7 In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, pour the heavy cream and beat until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a separate bowl.
- Step 8 Now, add the cream cheese and mascarpone to the mixer bowl, along with 1/8 tsp. salt and confectioners sugar. Beat on high using the paddle attachment until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Step 9 With the mixer on low, add 1 cup of the strawberry puree/gelatin mixture and beat until combined.
- Step 10 Very gently fold the whipped cream mixture into the cheesecake batter, using a spoon or spatula, taking care not to deflate the cream.
- Step 11 Add the filling to the pre-baked almond crust. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours, but preferably overnight.
- Step 12 Before serving, carefully untold the cake from the springform pan, gently loosening the sides with a butter knife. Place on a large serving platter and garnish with sliced strawberries.