Thursday, March 1, 2012

No Bake Cheesecake - Gluten free, Grain Free, Sugar Free, Egg Free

One of the most delicious things I have ever made is Cheesecake. 
It's so cheesy and thick and cold and creamy and yummy. The best part about cheesecake is it kicks my sugar craving without doubling over in carbs.
I did think I was going to have to go most of my life without ever going to the Cheese Cake Cafe ever again. Then one day I remembered I used to make a no-bake cheesecake with my mom when I was little.
So I went onto Google and searched for a no bake basic cheesecake recipe. They are relatively low in sugar anyways so I just simply substituted the bad sugar with good sugar, and the bad fat with non hydrogenated fat.

The first few times I made this recipe I made it with Gluten Free Graham Crackers which I found at my local grocery store around Christmas time. They are seriously 10 times more delicious than a regular Graham Cracker made from graham flour and refined sugar. They are firm and crunchy and golden brown. MMmm.
The crust came out relatively the same texture and crumbly as a traditional graham cracker crust. Then I decided we were eating it often enough that it was important to make it sugar and grain free.
The Gluten Free Graham Crackers are pretty good for you on there own. However I am always striving to look for any way to reduce sorghum and rice flour from our diet. Also, the brown sugar used in them is the bad sugar that I am always talking about so I definitely don't want to eat if I can help it.
At first I thought I would have to look for a grain free Cracker recipe and then I thought, well really that just seems like a bunch of very unnecessary work when all I am going to do is turn the crackers into a crust. But then I thought of course I could just bake the cracker recipe into a crust and skip the cracker making. However, that was completely steering away from my no-bake less work easy to do Cheesecake.
So I came up with this recipe. Late that night Kyle came home after hockey and had some without knowing the difference in the crust. He loved it and said he actually likes it better (He always says that ) lol but I did think it was quite delicious. Here is the well anticipated recipe for my mom:

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free Cheese Cake (No- Bake)

In a mixing bowl combine:
1 C almond flour 
1/2 C dried unsweetened organic coconut (no preservatives)
  •  I added the coconut as an attempt to reduce the carbs. I didn't taste the coconut at all while eating the cake. If you are a coconut phobic simply substitute Almond Flour

1/4 melted Organic Butter (No GMO) or coconut oil
1/2 C palm sugar/Brown sugar sucralose blend** (do not use a liquid sweetener)
1 T cinnamon
2 dashes nutmeg
Pinch salt

Mix the dry ingredients well in a mixing bowl and slowly pour in the melted butter just enough that the crust all sticks together. If needed add more butter up to 1/2 C in total.
Press into a well greased (with Grapeseed oil) 9 inch pie plate all the way up the sides.
Place into the refrigerator immediately.

*Using splenda will take away from the brown sugar taste or Graham Crackers. If you are going to use Splenda I recommend using 1 t of molasses to bring out the flavor.
*Using palm sugar granules to sweeten the crust allows for the crust to be evenly sweet throughout each bite versus if you use a nectar such as agave. I am not sure what the result will be if you use agave.

2 bricks of Cream cheese (light or whole) Room temperature  
1 C whipping cream (do not use light or coffee cream it will not set up)
1/2 T real lemon juice*
2 T raw agave nectar/palm syrup
1 T clear vanilla extract*

In a cold mixing bowl cream together cream cheese and lemon juice until soft. Add in agave, and vanilla. Slowly whip in Cream until smooth and very well blended without any chunks (about 1-2 min on med high).

Pour filling directly into chilled firm crust and spread out the top till its flat and evenly spread in the pie plate. Place in the refrigerator for 3 hours or in the freezer for 2.
Only cut into the cake once the center is completely set or your center will run out into a sloppy mess when you take out a piece.

*The lemon juice is needed to help break down the cheese into a smooth texture it's not for taste. I suppose any acid could be substituted such orange juice, lime juice or apple juice.
*Using caramel vanilla extract will cause the filling to be a darker brown but will taste the same.

For the topping I used my home made sugar free freezer jam that I made from scratch in December. It's so delicious its the best jam I have ever had. It tastes like I poured pureed raspberries all over my cheesecake. Compared to the really sweet jam that you can't even tell what fruit was in it because there is just so much sugar. Its really good and it takes like 10 whole minutes if you have time I encourage you to make some.

I followed the recipe on the back of the package to the T. If you don't have these handy packages you can simple buy Pectin in the store and make jam following directions on the box but use palm sugar or Splenda or Stevia as the sweetener.

It was so simple, 4 cups of any fruit, 1 pack of Bernardin and stir for 3 minutes. Place into freezer jars (which i highly recommend you buy) and put in the freezer. Yum.
I will say that pectin does have gluten in the form of "Maltodextrin" in the package. But is a very miniscule amount and doesn't bother me.

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