Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake

Gluten Free Pumpkin CheesecakeSome may wonder what this is all about calling a cheesecake gluten free. It is referred to as gluten free because of the crust, as it is prepared  without gluten. We used graham cracker wheat flour, gingersnap cookies, and both contain no gluten. If you would like to read about the history of cheesecake, and the battle over if it is truly a cake or not, read our article titled Thank the Greeks for Cheesecake.

The article also offers another way to prepare a cheesecake crust gluten free, using almonds, flaxseed, and oats (make sure the oats are certified gluten free). It also offers images and step-by-step instructions on making cheesecake.

Here is what you will need for the featured recipe: Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake.

gluten free ingredients for a cheesecake crust10 gluten free gingersnap cookies, crushed to flour (makes about 3/4 cup)

3/4 cup gluten free graham cracker flour

1/4 cup sugar

8 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

adding and forming cheesecake crust to the bottom of a springform panIn a medium mixing bowl combine flours, and sugar. Add melted butter, and mix in well.

Prepare a springform pan with parchment paper, and place crust in the center and spread the crust out evenly, touching all sides of the springform pan ring. Bake  in oven for 8 minutes. Place on a rack to cool.

The cheesecake ingredients are:

2- 8 oz. cream cheese, soft

1- 14.5 oz. can organic pumpkin

1 cup Greek yogurt

3 eggs, large

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. pie spice

2 tsp. vanilla extract

¼ tsp. salt

processing cream cheese and sugarIn a processor place the cream cheese, sugar and process until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes.

adding pie spice and vanillaAdd the yogurt, pie spice, vanilla extract, and salt and process together until well mixed. Next add pumpkin and mix in till well incorporated.

Add eggs one at a time, processing after each addition, but do not over mix.

Pour mixture over cooled crust.

Bake cheesecake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until center is set.

For best results fill a roasting pan to ½ inch from top with hot water. Place the roasting pan on bottom rack and place spring-form pan on top rack directly over roasting pan.

Do not open oven at all until 55 minutes has past. Turn off the oven and jar the oven door for one hour more. Remove cheesecake and cool 30 minutes on a rack, run a knife between cake and sides of pan to loosen as it cools. Place into refrigerator for up to 24 hours but no less than 4 hours.

Gluten Free Pumpkin CheesecakePlate and enjoy your gluten free cheesecake topped with whipped cream, and chocolate sauce.

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Techniques for Cooking in the Kitchen

Techniques for Cooking in the KitchenMany that prepare food are orthodox cooks, or rather what we mean is they stick to the letter of the recipe, they follow it word for word, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes following a recipe without knowing why it calls for a certain ingredient including the amount, would leave out the possibilities of being able to enter change ingredients, either to improve on the recipe, or make it more to our liking.

eggs contain percentage of moistureOne such example would be the number of eggs, and the size. How so? A recipe that is for a cake as an example, needs a certain amount of moister, and egg yolks make up about 34 percent of the liquid weight of the egg, as well as the albumen or the egg white makes up about 66 percent of the liquid weight of the egg. The moister content depends on their size.

Therefore if the recipe calls for 3 small eggs, and you add large eggs, you will be adding more moisture to the recipe, offsetting the liquid content. If you did use large eggs, then you would have to add less milk or any other ingredient that would be considered a liquid.

Many of us that are regular chefs in our own kitchen have techniques for preparing recipes that we use regularly. If you are reading this article and are not a frequent cook in the kitchen, maybe you can share these tips with the person in your life who is the cook.

salted or unsalted butterSalted Butter vs. Unsalted Butter

Butter is available both with and without salt. The salt is added for extra flavor and to help preserve it so it has a longer shelf life. The problem is that sometimes the salt in butter can be more than a recipe needs.

Choosing unsalted butter gives you more control over how much salt your dish contains. If you only have salted butter, the best thing to do is omit approximately ¼ teaspoon of salt per ½ cup (one stick) of butter used in the recipe.

Kitchen Scissors

 

Use Kitchen Scissors

Right now you probably only use your kitchen scissors for opening packaging and bags of milk. But next time you’re trimming fat from a roast, opening pitas or cutting chicken into strips, consider using your scissors!

Chefs use them all the time for cutting meats and other food items. It’s probably best to have pair that is designated as food scissors only. Be sure you clean them very well after each use because they do have crevices where bacteria can hide.

Stop Foods from Sticking to the Pan

To keep food from sticking to the bottom of your pans, and this applies if your using butter or oil in the pan, avoid putting cold foods into a hot pan.

Reduce Grease Splatters

Few things are messier than splattering grease. And if it gets on your skin it can be painful. Reduce grease splatters by sprinkling hot grease with salt prior to adding the food to be fried. If this is not completely effective, you can buy grease splatter shields at kitchen stores.

Peel Garlic Easily

Peeling garlic can be frustrating unless you know this little tip that the pros use. Lay a clove flat on a hard surface and then pressing down hard on it with the flat side of a large knife. Once you’ve pressed hard enough you’ll hear a “pop” that tells you the peel has separated. Even with this trick your fingers will undoubtedly smell like garlic. Get rid of that odor by washing them well with salt.

Keep Your Recipes Organized

Nothing is more frustrating when you’re ready to start cooking then not being able to find your recipe. Keep things organized by finding a system for filing your recipes that you can keep close at hand in the kitchen.

Smart Phone and dropboxWhat we do at “Splendid Recipes and More” is use our –Smart Phone– and -Drop Box-.

We have a free account with Drop Box and load all of our recipes to the Box.

When we shopping for ingredients for a certain recipe, we just open the Box with our Smart Phone (internet access needed, you can also use your Tablet, Laptop, and PC) and look up the recipe.

The same is done in the kitchen to follow the instructions or procedures of the recipe, either for preheating the oven or how many eggs to use etc. Here is the link to Drop Box: https://www.dropbox.com/ .

Stop Cheesecake from Cracking

Cheesecakes often crack on the top because they lose moisture while they cook. If you’re adding a topping it doesn’t matter, but if you’re serving the cake without anything on top it’s nice to have it looking perfect. Avoid cracking by putting a small dish of water on the rack beside your cake while it is cooking. This will keep it moist and crack-free!

These are just some techniques we use in our kitchen. What tips or techniques do you use? Let us know in the comments section. Thank You.

 

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Blueberry Cheesecake in a Jar

Blueberry Cheesecake in a jar

Here’s a fun way to enjoy cheesecake. We used blueberries, though you could use any fruit you like. Enjoy!!

Here is what you will need:

1 ½ cups graham crumbs

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

2- 8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup plus 2/3 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup Greek yogurt

6 short wide mouthed mason jars

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil for a water bath.

Wash mason jars in hot soapy water. Let air dry.

Meantime, crush gram crackers in a plastic bag to equal 1 ½ cups (about 8 to 10 crackers). Fill each jar with ¼ cup of cracker crumbs, set aside.

Cream sugar and cream cheese together, using a food processor. Next add eggs, one at a time mixing in after each addition. Mix in lemon zest and vanilla extract. Add Greek yogurt and mix in till well incorporated.

Divide the cream cheese filling among the jars (about 1 cup per jar) and smooth the tops. Top with 7 to 8 blueberries.

Place the filled jars in a roasting pan and place pan in the oven. Pour hot water into roasting pan to come about 1/2 inch up the sides of the jars, taking care not to get any water into the jars.

Bake until the cheesecakes are set but still jiggle slightly in the center, 35 to 40 minutes for the taller jars, 40 to 45 minutes for the rounder jars.

Remove the jars from the water bath with tongs and let cool to room temperature. Chill for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight.

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Thank the Greeks for Cheesecake

Greece and we’re talking Ancient Greece where the world’s greatest, most amazing, unsurpassed dessert was first created. What is it you say with despair? It’s Cheesecake of course. The story starts on the isle of Samos about the seventh or eighth centuries B.C.E. It was there that the great inventors of dessert…OK I don’t really know if they are the inventors, but I get excited when it comes to dessert. So on the isle of Samos is were they  began pounding cheese into a thick paste, using honey as a sweetener and setting it into a crust of wheat. The age old question is though, is it truly a cake?

Will let me tell you about the first time I made a cheesecake. The recipe called for three tablespoons of flour. I thought only three tablespoons? And why not, most cakes call for 1 1/2 cups or more of flour. But the three tablespoons were added. My first cheesecakeWhen I make my second cheesecake, I opted to leave out the flour to see what happens. To my surprise, nothing. It bake up just fine like the first one. So off to Google to see why only a small amount of flour is added. I learned the never ending battle, that is if cheesecake is truly a cake. Flour was not in the original cake and if you have no flour, it cannot be called a cake.

So if it is not a cake than what is it? Some say a Tort. Which many torts are just made with cheese. Then there is custard, much like your French Crème Burlee or your Spanish Flan. The two which are made just like a cheesecake. How so? The principle ingredients being: milk and eggs. Of course sugar is added for sweetness. They also use a water bath, necessary to bake them. I have decided I’m not going to get involved in the dispute. Many things including food have a name that has nothing to do with what they are or look like.

Here is a modern day improved upon cheesecake, since the Greek’s first made one. Here is what you will need for the crust and the filling.

ingredients for crust

Also you will need 1/3 cup of flax seed. Place the seed in a food processor and pules on crush until you have a fine flour texture. Next add the almonds and process more and than add the oats. Make sure the grains and almonds are a flour texture. Once you have done this, in a medium bowl, spoon in 1 1/3 cup of the almond flour and add the melted butter and incorporate well. Line four 4 1/2 inch spring form pans with parchment paper.

cheesecake crust

Next place 1/4 cup of almond paste mix into each spring form pan and press out paste to reach the sides of the pan.

parchment line pans with crust

Place the pans in a heated 350 degree oven and bake for 7 minutes. When done remove and let cool. Meanwhile start to prepare the filling. Here is what you will need:

cheesecake ingredients

You will also need 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt. Here is how you incorporate the ingredients by step. Make sure your eggs and cream cheese are room temperature. Be careful not to over process the ingredients so no air is left in the cheesecake, with too much air incorporated into the filling, cracks are likely to develop while the cake is baking.

cheesecake order of ingredients

Note: after step four refer to recipe at the end of this post under STIR-IN IDEAS if you wish to stir in other ingredients. Now pour 1 cup of filling into each spring form pan. Now we need to make a cheesecake water bath.  A cheesecake bath is a fail-safe way to stop your dessert from cracking, it also keeps the oven moisture very high and allows the heat to be gentle on the cake, allowing it to cook more slowly and evenly. The water evaporates before it gets as hot as the oven, cooling the edges of the cake so it bakes at the same rate as the center. Using a roasting pan fill it half way with hot water and place it on the bottom rack of you’re your heated oven. Place spring form pans filled with cheesecake on top rack just over the bath water. Bake for 45 minutes or 60 minutes if you are baking a 7 inch or larger cheesecake.

pouring filling into pans

But today we are using our Nuwave oven. The hot water is poured into the pan. The racked is place over the water and the cheesecakes are placed onto the rack.

pouring hot water for cheesecake bath   placing prepared cheesecake on rack

In the Nu-Wave oven we only have to bake the cheesecake for 20 minutes. Half the time and thank thinking minds for modern inventions.

When the cakes are done allow 15 minuets to cool. Than place in the refrigerator for no less than 3 hours. Then with a knife loosen edges and remove from spring form pans. Top cheesecake with fruit or eat plain. Here blueberry jam was used to to finish the cake.

mini cheeseckes with blueberry on top

You can also make it a Almond Brickle-butter Cheesecake. Before baking add 1 cup crushed heath bars to mix. After cooling add some fresh whipped cream to top and sprinkle with crushed heath bar.

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At first it can be a choir to make cheesecake. But with practice it will become second nature. Things to remember: cheesecake relies on the proteins in the eggs to give it structure. The proteins coagulate as the temperature approaches 170 degrees. If it over bakes, the cheesecake becomes dry. Never bake cheesecake over 350 degrees. It is recommended using light colored pans to cook and bake with. Cheesecake is one of the exceptions, a dark pan uniformly absorbs heat.

Thanks for reading Splendid Recipes and More. Before you go I would like to recommend a website for your viewing, the name of the site is: Is it Really a Cake? . You won’t waist your time going there.

Mix N Match Mini Cheesecakes

Crust

1 cup almonds, slices, processed ¼ cup sugar

¾ cup walnut pieces, processed 8 tbsp. butter, melted

1/3 cup flax seed, processed

Heat oven to 350°F

In a small bowl mix crumbs, sugar and butter; press 1/4 cup crumb mixture onto bottom of each of 4 mini (4 ½ inch) spring form pans. Bake for 7 minutes.

Cake

2 8 oz. Cream Cheese, softened

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ cup sugar 1 tsp. lemon zest

3 eggs

1 cup Greek yogurt

With a food processor; cream the sugar and cream cheese. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each addition just until blended. Next add vanilla, lemon zest and yogurt and mix again. Pour 1 cup of the batter into each spring form pans. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until centers are just set. Run knife around rims of pans to loosen cakes; cool before removing rims of pans. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

 

STIR-IN IDEAS: Divide batter amongst 4 small bowls first; than mix 1 cup portion your chose of the following into each bowl.

1. Apple Pie Cheesecake; Stir in 1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon; pour over crust. Bake as directed. Top cheesecake with combined ½ cup warmed apple pie filling and ½ tsp. brown sugar.

2. S’Mores Cheesecake: Stir in 3 Tbsp. chopped Milk Chocolate; pour over crust. Top with ¼ cup Mini Marshmallows and 1 Tbsp. broken Graham Crackers.

3. Chocolate Chunk Mini Cheesecake: Stir in ¼ cup Milk Chocolate chips.

4. New York Mini Cheesecake: Stir in ¼ cup Sour Cream and 1 Tbsp. flour.

5. Cookies and Cream Cheesecake: Stir in ¼ cup chopped Sandwich.

6. Chocolate Royale Mini Cheesecake: Stir in 2 oz. Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted.

7. Peanut Butter Mini Cheesecake: Stir in 2 Tbsp. peanut butter and 1 Tbsp. milk.

8. Mocha Mini Cheesecake: Mix 1 tsp. Instant Coffee granules with 2 tsp. hot water. Stir into batter along with 2 oz. Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted.

9. Fruit Mini Cheesecake: Bake basic mini cheesecake as directed. Just before serving, top with 1/3 cup favorite pie filling or fruit Jam.

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Ferrara Orange Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake

Ferrara Orange Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake

A cheesecake based on the Ferrara Chocolate Orange Candy. We went a step further adding caramel. A step beyond that as well, because the Ferrara Chocolate Orange Candy doesn’t have a crust, but our Ferrara Cheesecake does. The crust is prepared of oats, almonds, and pecans. Then brought together with real butter and sweetened with sugar.

You can use orange zest or as we did real orange extract to mix into the cake. Real oranges are used to top the cake. They include their peel as well. Are you aware of the benefits of the orange peel? Most of the vitamin C is found there.The peel also is rich in vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, and minerals such as calcium, selenium, manganese, and zinc (read more here: Benefits of the Orange Peel). Selenium works hand in hand with CoQ10 to provide the energy your heart needs to keep pumping.

The Ferrara Orange Caramel Chocolate Cheesecake, a delectable dessert to enjoy any time of the day or week!!

Download Cheesecake tips here

 

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Sour Cream Blueberry Banana Cheesecake

Sour Cream Blueberry Banana Cheesecake

This cheesecake is touch and go. As we noted in our article “Cheesecake Tips” you cannot open and close the door during the baking process as it lowers the temperature and the oven has to spend time to reheat and this affects the cake or actually the cooking and setting of the eggs. So make sure the cake has baked at least 45 minutes before removing from the oven to add the blueberry sour cream topping. If the water-bath container you are using has handles, remove gently from oven place on stove top and quickly top with the sour cream mixture and return to oven.

 Crust

1 ½ cups quick-cooking oats, processed
½ cup walnuts, processed
½ cup packed brown sugar
8 tbsp. butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees

Mix together the processed oats and nuts. Stir in brown sugar and butter until well combined. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9-inch spring form pan prepared with parchment paper. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

Filling
2 – 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 cup Greek yogurt, plain
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
4 eggs

 In a food processor cream the sugar and cream cheese. Add the mashed bananas, yogurt, and lemon juice until well blended. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Do not over mix. Pour into the prepared crust. Bake for 45 minutes. While the cake is baking, prepare blueberry sour cream topping.

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Cheesecake Tips

Cheesecake tips

  1. Avoid over-beating the batter as this can incorporate additional air and tends to cause cracking on the surface of the cheesecake. To avoid the additional air or cracking be sure to eliminate all possible lumps in the cream cheese before you add the eggs. It is the eggs that will hold air in the batter, beat them in one at a time and mix as little as possible once they are added. It is best to add the eggs last. Just reverse steps 2 and 4 in the previous image.
  1. Avoid over-baking the cheesecake. Baking times are not always exact, due to variations in ovens. The cheesecake will continue to bake after it is removed from the oven. The center of the cheesecake should be just slightly moist when it is ready to be removed.
  1. Cheesecakes, like custards, rely heavily on eggs to set, which means they must cook gently and slowly. Otherwise the eggs will overcook and constrict when cooled, resulting in an undesirable split in your smooth cake. Quick changes of temperature upset the structure of the cake, which can also cause cracks. It is advised once placing cheesecake in the oven; do not open the oven door for any reason, except after it has reached the minimum 45 minutes baking time. Cheesecakes are baked in a water bath (a pan of water) to moderate the temperature. The water bath remains at a constant temperature, the cake sets slowly, resulting in a well-cooked cheesecake.
  1. Upon removing the cake from the oven, loosen the cake from the edge of the pan by running the tip of a knife or narrow spatula between the top edge of the cake and the side of the pan. This will allow the cake to pull away freely from the pan as it cools and also avoid cracking the center of the cake.
  1.  Baked cheesecakes freeze well. But cheesecakes with high water content, such as fresh fruit mix into the cheesecake, may become icy, so freezing is not advised. To freeze the cake cool completely and wrap it securely in heavy-duty foil or plastic wrap, but do not freeze cheesecakes with garnishes or toppings. The cake will keep its quality in frozen form for up to 1 month. When ready to serve remove cake from freezer and allow thawing to room temperature. Remove the wrapping place on a dessert plate. Top with your desired garnish, plate and serve.
  1. If cracking does accrue, fill the cracks with soft cream cheese or sour cream.  The image below shows a cheesecake cracked and was filled with sour cream. Cracks will happen time to time, even if you did everything right.
  1. Always use one egg per 8 ounces of dairy.
  1. fill cracks on a cheesecake with sour cream

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