Gluten-free has become very popular and many feel so much better now they have eliminated it from their diet. I am not sure if more people are developing an intolerance to wheat due to the genetic modifications in the crop or the pesticides but something is obviously triggering this gluten-free movement.
My friends with Celiac Disease greatly appreciate it when I serve food they can actually eat, especially dessert. Fortunately, now there are many recipes where you can substitute wheat and other gluten foods and still create something delicious. Catherine Saint Louis at the New York Times just wrote about hosting a dinner party with gluten-free food and not sacrificing on the taste (with the exception of the Quinoa pasta).
She mentioned baking an amazing cheesecake with a hazelnut crust and caramel sauce and since my father has so many cheesecake recipes, I thought I would share some that can easily be gluten-free without buying hard to find or expensive ingredients. I am going to make and post the Rocky Triple Nut Cheesecake with the C4C flour sold at Williams Sonoma (3 pounds at $19.95). It is quite pricey but it has to be amazing since it was developed at the French Laundry. I included the recipe for those of you who want to try it now. Please let me know how it tastes with the gluten-free C4C flour.
This Lemon Cheesecake actually calls for hazelnuts in the crust as well as shortbread cookies. If you cannot find gluten-free cookies then just use 1 1/2 cups of hazelnuts, 1/4 cup sugar, grated lemon peel, 1/2 stick of butter and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla for the crust and follow the rest of the directions below.
I know I just posted an Amaretto Cheesecake but this can easily be make into a gluten-free dessert so here it is again. Use 1 1/2 cups of finely ground hazelnuts instead of the graham crackers. Enjoy!
Preparation time: 35 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour, 35 minutes Chilling time: Overnight
1 ½ cup ground shortbread cookies or graham crackers
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked (optional)
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
½ cup melted sweet butter (½ stick)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
6 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
2 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
½ teaspoon salt
6 eggs, plus 6 yolks
¾ cup half-and-half
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Finely grind cookies or graham crackers, nuts, if using and sugar in food processor. Add lemon peel, butter and vanilla; process until moist crumbs form. Press into bottom and sides of 12-inch springform pan. Wrap outside of pan with foil. Bake until crust is golden, about 15 minutes. Cool. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. In large bowl of an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sugar, cornstarch and salt. Mix until smooth. One at a time add eggs and extra yolks, mixing well and scraping sides and bottom of bowl after each addition. Stir in half-and-half, lemon rind, lemon juice and vanilla; blend to a smooth batter. Pour filling into prepared crust and place pan in a larger pan filled with cold water to the depth of ½ to 1 inch. Place cake in oven and reduce temperature to 325 degrees. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes or until cake tester, when inserted in center, comes out clean. Cool in the pan before removing sides from the pan. Gently press down any raised edges of cake. If using topping, spoon on at this point. Return to oven and bake an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven, cool on rack and chill overnight before serving. Yield: 20 servings
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
In a small bowl, whisk together the sour cream, sugar, lemon juice and rind. Yield: 1 cup
Note: To remove from springform pan, run a small sharp knife around pan side to loosen cake. Remove pan side. Place cake on platter and serve.
Preparation time: 35 minutes Cooking time: 50 minutes Chilling time: 24 to 48 hours
1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
½ cup Amaretto
1 (8-ounce) carton commercial sour cream
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Amaretto
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds
1 (1.2-ounce) chocolate candy bar, grated
Combine graham cracker crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, cinnamon and butter; mix well. Firmly press mixture into bottom and ½ inch up the sides of a 9-inch springform pan. Beat cream cheese with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1 cup sugar, mixing well. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in 1/3 cup Amaretto; pour into prepared pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until set. Combine sour cream, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 tablespoon Amaretto; stir well and spoon over the cheesecake. Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature; refrigerate 24 to 48 hours. (Cheesecake is best when thoroughly chilled and flavors have time to ripen.) Garnish with almonds and the grated chocolate. Yield: about 12 servings.
Here is the recipe for the Rocky Triple Nut Cheesecake. Use the C4C flour instead of all-purpose.
Rocky Triple Nut Cheesecake
Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 55 minutes Chilling time: 6 hours
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup coarsely ground almonds
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
5 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/4 cup cornstarch
Juice of 1 lemon
1 pint sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup roasted, chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup roasted, chopped pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Combine the first four ingredients in a mixing bowl. Press the crust into a thin layer covering the sides and bottom of the prepared pan. Bake for about 8 minutes to set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese, sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, while mixing. Add the cornstarch and beat well to incorporate. Mix in the lemon juice, sour cream and vanilla. Pour the filling over the cooled crust. Bake for 40 minutes in the 300 degree oven. While the cheesecake is baking, combine the nuts, brown sugar, butter and whipping cream in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thickens. After the cheesecake has baked for 40 minutes, pour the sauce over its center; try to prevent any sauce from seeping down the sides. Return the cheesecake to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and leave the oven door ajar, allowing the cheesecake to cool completely in the oven. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving. Yield: 8 to 12 servings
From the Ultimate Cookbook
“For many of us, there are times when we crave something sweet. This craving can occur at any time including, but not limited to, mid-morning, lunch, afternoon, dinner and evening. In fact, some of us have been known to indulge in a midnight treat or even some sweets for breakfast. What about when your children have a party, sleep over or an impromptu get together? Some goodies and other munchies are usually a must to settle the restless crowd.
There may never be a bad time for this craving to occur; however, you may wish for a small portion of something light and not heavy, like a piece of cheesecake. Or, maybe that slice of heavenly cheesecake is what you want but you are willing to settle for a small delicious treat.”