Thursday 24 March 2011

Chocolate Cheesecake Cheese-Fake GF & DF

A few weeks back I was set a challenge – could I make a gluten and dairy free cheesecake? Ermm yikes! Gluten free wasn’t going to be a problem as you can now buy gluten free digestive style biscuits in most supermarkets, but dairy free? Take the cheese and cream out a cheesecake and you’re left with a few biscuit crumbs and some eggs.

After my initial moment of panic, I remembered the delicious cheeseless cheesecake I made a few months back using yoghurt. Yoghurt obviously still contains dairy, but I knew that dairy free soya yoghurt was now readily available and it got me wondering if this would also work baked into a cheesecake. Only one way to find out!

I used sunflower spread with the crushed gluten free biscuit crumbs to form the base for my cheesecake which worked well. Just make sure your biscuits are also dairy free, as some I found weren’t. I decided to make the cheesecake a chocolate cheesecake as pretty much everything chocolaty tastes good, and I thought it would also mask any potentially odd flavours that might arise from the soya yoghurt.

The batter for the cheesecake was a little runny, but apart from that, came together well without splitting or curdling. It baked perfectly, with a smooth, slightly glossy surface and after a dusting of cocoa powder it was unrecognisable from the real thing, at least by appearances sake.

On slicing, it cut very cleanly, too cleanly really, as there was no thick creaminess to stick the mixture to the knife, but this can’t really be viewed as a negative. It was lightly speckled with flecks of chocolate where I obviously hadn’t mixed it sufficiently, but this added to its appeal.

Now came the vital bit – the taste! It was….ok, good, but not great. It ate well and had a good chocolate flavour but it just seemed to be lacking something. After several bites I decided what it was lacking was the creamy mouthfeel, essentially the dairy that helps give a cheesecake its thick sticky creaminess in the mouth.

The flavour of the cheesecake was great while you were eating, but seemed to dissolve into nothing the minute you swallowed. There was no lingering flavour or creaminess coating your mouth. It just sort of went. The friend who’d given me the challenge loved it – so I suppose it was good considering it was gluten and dairy free, but I don’t think things should be judged ‘good considering they’re…’ I think they should taste good to everyone, gluten/dairy free or not.

So my experiment has revealed that yes it is possible to produce a gluten and dairy free cheesecake, but without further experiments I’m not sure it was worth it. Maybe it was the soya or just the complete lack of dairy? Anyone got any ideas how to improve the creaminess without adding dairy?

Chocolate Cheesecake Cheese-Fake GF & DF
Ingredients – Biscuit Base
125g gluten & dairy free digestive style biscuits
50g Pure dairy free margarine

500g Alpro soya yoghurt
50g caster sugar
75g dark dairy free chocolate
20g cocoa powder
2 eggs
2 tbsp cornflour

Line a 6-6.5inch round springform tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 160C.
Place the biscuits into a strong plastic bag and beat it with a rolling pin until the biscuits are broken in crumbs.
Melt the margarine in a large bowl, add the biscuits crumbs and stir well to mix. Spread the buttery crumbs into the base of the tin and press down firmly to form a even layer. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the topping.
In a large bowl, mix the sugar, cornflour and cocoa powder together until well combined.
Pour in the yoghurt and beat to combine, followed by the eggs.
Melt the chocolate and whip into the yoghurt mixture.
Pour the mix over the chilled biscuit base and bake for 1hour – 1hour 10 minutes until slightly puffed and set around the edges, but still wobbly in the centre.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 1½ hours before chilling in the fridge for at least 4 hours.
When ready to serve, run a hot sharp knife around the rim of the tin to help release it from the sides.
Dust with a little extra cocoa powder and serve.


Rachel said...

Hats off to you for an alternative recipe from the regular sinful cheesecake. Despite you saying it was an ok one, it looks creamy and delicious.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

What a gorgeous cheesecake! This version is interesting.



Choclette said...

That is some challenge you set yourself there. Well done for coming up with something so good. May not quite be what us dairy lovers are after, but it's got to be great for those that can't have dairy.

Chele said...

Katie what are you doing to me!!! Must try ASAP!

Unknown said...

This looks really taste, kind like whipped chocolate moose(wrong spelling?) But maybe if you added another egg yolk? That might help it be more rich and creamy.

Monica H said...

I wonder if a silken tofu might make a difference. I keep wanting to tell you to add sour cream, but that's dairy!

I am impressed that you actually took on this challenge. I would say "dairy free cheesecake? what's the point?" but you did it!

Shoshana said...

This looks good. In my experience the best way to get a creamy non-dairy cheesecake is by using dairy-free cream cheese substitutes such as tofutti brand cream cheese. (I don't know if that is available where you are.) It comes out rich and creamy, but not quite as heavy as real cheesecake. If you want to try another dairy-free cheesecake check out my recipe for chocolate-mint cheesecake. There is nothing light about it, I promise.

Johanna GGG said...

well it looks great but my advice would be to try some nut butter or soaked and ground nuts (cashews are creamiest I think) - I have tried these in some vegan cheeses and I think they do give a similar fatty creaminess - though I am aware that some people can't eat nuts or seeds either - good luck with your experiments

Deborah said...

I'm so impressed! I don't think it would be possible to make a dairy free cheesecake that tasted amazing, so this is a total success in my eyes!

Anonymous said...

This looks delicious, I think chocolate cheesecake is a perfect dessert, can't wait to try it!

Rose said...

It looks lovelty!If you wanted to give a more complex flavour which is that tiny bit richer then you could use Brown sugar rather than caster. Also, add a dash of vanilla extract. Another thing which may make it that tiny bit creamier might be to nut butters/purees/ground nuts in the base, or even use gluten free oats and these nut products as a base! Vegan curd cheese could also be a solution in the chocolate mix!