Chef's Blog

A labor of gluten-free love.

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Chefs blog gluten-free cheesecakePies are the new cupcake, in case you haven’t heard.

Part of my job is to keep on top of current trends in the food industry, especially in desserts. What’s hot for this year? Pies. Grown-up versions of your favorite childhood snack cakes and candy bars. Desserts made with savory ingredients. Miniature desserts (again). But the trend that has popped up most frequently in my research is gluten-free food.

For those of you who have to eat a gluten-free or gluten-restricted diet, it has probably been a hot “trend” for many years, perhaps your entire life. When I was in my teens, my mother discovered she was unable to tolerate gluten. I remember scouring the internet for a gluten-free grocery in our area (I don’t want to date myself, but internet shopping was still rather new at the time). I recall baking an oddly-shaped birthday cake for her with a mixture of gluten-free flours and ground nuts.

It didn’t taste half bad with all the frosting I piled on.

It is only recently that gluten-free foods have become widely available in your local supermarket. Restaurants are adding special gluten-free sections to their menus. Food manufacturers are creating more gluten-free products, and they taste better than ever. We bake a delicious cheesecake here at Eli’s made with gluten-free ingredients. If you’d like to try baking your own, here is a recipe for a gluten-free cheesecake on a crunchy nut crust with a sophisticated caramel sauce.

Your gluten-intolerant loved ones will thank you.

Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Burnt Caramel Sauce

Nut Crust

1 ¼ cup roasted salted pistachios or favorite nut

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon butter (melted)

Instructions: In a food processor, pulse nuts with sugar into a coarse meal; mix in melted butter. Press the mixture evenly into the bottom of a greased 9 in. sprinform pan, lined with a disc of parchment paper (bottom of pan only).

Cheesecake Batter

24 oz (3 – 8oz. packages) cream cheese, softened

14 oz. sweetened condensed milk (1 can)

5 egg yolks

1 whole egg

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract (or to taste)

Pinch of salt (optional)

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 300º F.

Step 1: In a mixer with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese until light and smooth.

Step 2: Add ½ of the condensed milk and mix on low for 1 minute; scape down sides of with rubber spatular; continue mixing until smooth.

Step 3: Add remaining condensed milk and repeat mixing instructions in step 2.

Step 4: Add the remaining ingredients and repeat mixing instructions in step 2.

Step 5: Pour batter over the prepared nut crust. Bake for 30-40 minutes until it reaches an internal temp of 145ºF. Allow cake to cool until the pan is just slightly warm to the touch before removing the pan ring.

Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight before trying to cut. Serve each slice with a rosette of whipped cream and a generous drizzle of burnt caramel sauce (below).

Burnt Caramel Sauce

1 ½ cups granulated sugar

2 Tbs. corn syrup

½ cup water

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Directions: In a clean heavy saucepan combine sugar, corn syrup and water. Bring to a boil.

Continue boiling mixture slowly, brushing down the sides of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in clean

water to prevent sugar crystals from forming. Watch pot carefully for when the sugar begins to turn amber in color. When desired color is achieved, turn off heat and whisk in the heavy cream. Transfer caramel to a heat proof bowl and allow to cool until ready to use. Serve immediately with a slice of cheesecake.

Store leftovers in the refrigerator – microwave on high for 10-15 seconds before using.