Thursday, August 9, 2012

Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce

Mmmm…. Cheesecake. I don’t remember this being a go-to dessert in our house growing up – we usually had cakes, cupcakes, cookies… but the only cheesecake I remember is from my Aunt Charlene (I think it had caramel and pecans). Now that I mention it, I’m going to have to get that recipe from her and share it. I remember it being delicious! Save that thought for a future blog post. Moving on…
I used to be afraid of gluten-free cooking and baking – especially the baking because most of my creations include flour. But I’ve learned after lots of experimentation (not always successful), that gluten-free baking isn’t scary at all! Really, you can adapt just about any recipe by swapping out either the flour or the things made with flour (like graham crackers) for a gluten-free equivalent. Most markets and grocery stores are starting to carry larger selections of gluten-free products. So you should be able to find something that will work in the crust for this recipe if you want to make it gluten-free.  For this recipe, if you mix any type of cookie or sweet cracker crumbs with some butter and extra sugar, it will be delicious. So don’t be afraid of gluten-free!
Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Strawberry Sauce
For the crust:
1 3/4 cups gluten-free graham cracker crumbs or cookie crumbs*
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
*I used a bag of gluten-free cinnamon snap cookies that I found at my local market and smashed them to crumbs in a large ziplock bag (fun stress relief). You could use any type of crispy gluten-free cookie, gluten-free shortbread cookie, or gluten-free graham crackers. If you aren’t worried about making this cheesecake gluten-free, then you can just use regular graham cracker or ginger snaps or other crumb of your choice.
For the cheesecake:
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 eggs
1 cup sour cream
For the strawberry sauce:
1 1/2 cups strawberries, chopped*
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon corn starch
*You could substitute your favorite berry for the strawberries. Try it with blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. Yum!
Prepare the cheesecake…
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the crust ingredients in a medium bowl and press into the bottom of a springform pan. Bake the crust for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.
In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth and well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing between each addition. Blend in the sour cream, lemon zest, and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the prepared crust.
Bake the cheesecake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until the center is just set. Turn off the oven and leave the door slightly ajar, cool the cheesecake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Then remove the cheesecake from the oven and cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.
Prepare the strawberry sauce…
Combine all ingredients except for the corn starch in a medium pot. Cook over medium heat until the berries are soft and the liquid begins to thicken, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
When the mixture is cool, place in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the strawberry puree to the pot and place over medium heat. Whisk in the cornstarch and cook until thickened. Cool completely. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator until ready to use. 
Spoon the strawberry sauce over a slice of cheesecake and serve. Enjoy!

This recipe is my own creation based on various cheesecake recipes I’ve used in the past and a little kitchen experimentation.

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