This cheesecake is perfect without any topping. That said, there are some people out there that can’t have cheesecake without a topping. They might look at a plain cheesecake as naked and unfinished, having never reached its full potential. In this instance they’ll be wrong but to avoid tears over cheesecake at the table, serve this cheesecake with the lime slime on the side. On Halloween of course, the slime is mandatory for everybody.
This cheesecake recipe was so close to being gluten-free from the start that it only made sense to make it 100% gluten-free. This was completely to my benefit, not because I’m gluten intolerant but because Jen is and there was no way I was going to have to take home a cheesecake to eat by myself after a shoot full of desserts, some of which Jen couldn’t eat. Two days after the shoot she sent me an email to say that she’d eaten three quarters of my “STUPID DUMB CHEESECAKE”. Making someone else fat, is in my books, a success.
Cheesecake Recipe with a Coconut Crumb Crust
Makes one 8″ round cheesecake, serves 1-8
For the crust crumb**:
40g coconut flour
25g runny honey
35g unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
For the cheesecake:
unsalted butter (for greasing)
3 x 250g packages cream cheese at room temperature
zest from half a small lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
210g granulated sugar
125ml whipping cream (35% M.F.)
4 large eggs, at room temperature
50ml half and half (10% M.F.)
In a frying pan, add the coconut flour and toast over medium heat, stirring constantly for approximately 5-10 minutes, until the flour is a medium golden brown, reminiscent of graham crackers. Do not over toast. Remove the pan from the heat and scrape the toasted flour into a small mixing bowl. Add the rest of the crumb ingredients to the bowl and combine using a fork, until thoroughly mixed through.
Heat the oven to 375°F. Generously butter an 8-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment, so that the paper reaches just above the rim of the base. Now butter the top of the parchment layer. Next wrap the outside of the pan with two layers of aluminum foil so that the layers reach the top of the pan. At this point you should have all the assurance you need that the filling will not seep out and the water bath will not seep in. Sprinkle the inside of the prepared pan with the crumb, creating an even layer of crumb along the bottom and sides.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the cream cheese, lemon zest, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the sugar and whipping cream and continue to beat until just incorporated. Add the eggs, one at a time, being sure to incorporate each egg fully before adding the next. Beat in the half and half. The goal is to incorporate as little air as possible into the mix, eliminating much chance of the cake rising during baking and falling during cooling.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Set the filled pan into a larger pan (a 9 x 13 inch pan works well) and fill the larger pan with boiling water, enough so the water reaches just under the half way mark on the outside of the 8-inch pan. Place in the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the centre of the cake is just set. Take the pan from the water bath and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before unmolding. Allow to cool completely before serving.
*If you’re not in the mood to make gluten-free crumbs for the crust, you can substitute about 40g of store-bought graham cracker crumbs.
*If you want a more traditional bottom layer crust, double the crumb quantities and add an additional 80g of unsalted butter (for a total of 150g). Press this crumb into the bottom of the prepared pan and proceed.