Is it a cake or a pie? Who cares, it’s delicious! Cheesecake is a real crowd pleaser and one of my all-time favorite treats. The filling of plain cheesecake is most often gluten-free itself, so the only obstacle to enjoying this dessert gluten-free is the crust. Fortunately, Kinnikinnick sent us some Gluten-Free Graham Style Crumbs, and I decided to test them out to see if they can deliver the sweet crumbly texture and taste that I expect from a regular cheesecake crust.
Right away, the crumbs captured the grainy, powdery texture of graham cracker crumbles. They’re made using pea starch, potato starch, and rice flour, among other things, and they’re sweetened with molasses, honey, and brown sugar. The package had enough crumbs for one gluten-free cheesecake crust, which I made using the instructions on the back of the box.
For the crust:
Add ¼ cup sugar and 6 tbsp of melted butter to the crumbs. Then press the resulting dough onto the bottom and up the sides of a round baking pan.
The hardest part was forming the crumbly dough into a pie crust along the edges of the pan. After refrigerating for one hour, the crust was ready for filling.
For the gluten-free cheesecake filling, I used an old recipe from my mom that is gluten-free and really easy to make.
8 oz package of cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 large egg
8 oz container of sour cream
(Make sure you buy gluten-free sour cream – some brands of this can be tricky. If you’re wondering what’s safe, The Essential Gluten-Free Grocery Guide lists 23 brands of gluten-free sour cream.)
Blend the sugar and cream cheese together. Add the vanilla and the egg, stirring well. Finally, blend in the sour cream and pour the mixture over the crust.
(Now, you can stop there if you want plain New York style gluten-free cheesecake, but I had some blueberries in the freezer to use up. After defrosting, I smushed 1/2 cup of the berries and then brought them to a boil with 3 tbsp of sugar. I drained the resulting syrup away from the blueberry skins. The syrup was then drizzled over the filling and gently swirled in with a knife. The result is very pretty!)
The cheesecake then goes into the oven at 350° for half an hour. Next, leaving the oven door closed, turn off the oven and let the cheesecake bake in the residual heat for another hour. Remove the cheesecake, let cool, and refrigerate!
You can dress up a plain cheesecake with some canned cherries or strawberries or drizzle fudge or caramel sauce on top. I topped mine off with a few fresh blueberries.
The final cheesecake was gluten-free and delicious! The crust crumbled and crunched just like a graham cracker crust should. The only problem I had was some separation of the crust along the edges, but that was more due to the pan I used than the crumbs themselves. The flavor of the crust was very graham-y and complemented the creamy cheesecake nicely. Granted, cheesecake is as unhealthy as desserts come. But with a gluten-free graham crust this easy to make, the whole family can enjoy this guilty pleasure!