Chocolate Cheesecake - gluten free
Good morning, it is a glorious autumn morning here on the farm, want to see?
We have had no autumn rains yet, so it is very dry, but the sun is shining and I am sitting on my deck with a cup of coffee chatting to you and there is no place in this world I would rather be.
Now. Cheesecake. This is a lovely cheesecake, a really simple all rounder that you can mix and match the flavours in to make it your very own. It is gluten free, but not dairy free. I have seen a lot of dairy free cheesecakes around, but sadly not a single one that has floated my goat. My goat remains stubbornly, all four feet on the ground, so this has cheese in it, because, well CHEESEcake.
80 g raw walnuts
60g almond meal
30g pitted dates
45g caster sugar
75g melted butter
15 g cocoa powder
375g cream cheese, softened
250ml pouring cream
160g caster sugar (extra)
10g powdered gelatine
10g cocoa powder (extra)
Toasted almond flakes
So first you will need a large round springform tin, do not try to do this with a regular cake tin, you will never get it out in one piece, we need a tin that comes away from the sides of the cake. Line the bottom of the tin with baking or greaseproof paper.
Pulverise the nuts, dates, the first lot of caster sugar and cocoa powder in a food processor, once that is crumbly, pour in your melted butter, whip until it forms a lumpy paste. Press that out into the bottom of your springform tin. Pop that in the fridge.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, place the cream cheese, extra sugar and extra cocoa.
We are going to use the caster sugar like mini mixers to break up this cream cheese, so get in there with a whisk or with your beater attachment and give it a really good pounding until it looks like this.
Right, now, got your skates on? From here on we have to move fast! A cold set cheesecake waits for no woman at this stage.
We need to ready our gelatine. Gelatine is both controversial and tricky to use. Yes, it is an animal product, you need to be aware of that if you are feeding a vegetarian, and it comes from the same part of the animal that meat comes from, so if you eat meat, you may be okay with eating gelatine. If you are not okay with that, or you are cooking for a vegetarian, there are plenty of vegan alternatives to gelatine, but none of them give quite the same result. For me, texture wise I prefer gelatine, taste wise I prefer agar agar or Jel-it-in. Anyway, this cheesecake is made with gelatine, so let’s now talk about how to make it behave itself. The trick with powdered gelatine is that you must not let the powder clump, or clumps of chewy gross gelatine is what you will have, and a runny cheesecake because we need it evenly dispersed for it to work.
So, this is how we do that. First, measure your gelatine out into a cup, there is no way you will get this all absorbed before the numbers go out on your scales. Put your water in a wide bottomed jug or bowl and sprinkle a little gelatine over the water, it will start to dissolve before your eyes, sprinkle until it starts to show some grains that are not dissolving, now STOP!
Right, as soon as those grains look like this, give it a stir, they will sink to the bottom and then off you go again, sprinkle, sprinkle, STOP!
Right, once your gelatine is all soaked pop that into the microwave on high for about a minute, it will become clear, and you do want it hot but not boiling.
Back to our cheesecake mixture, give the bowl a good scrape to get any unmixed cream cheese from where it is hiding on the sides or bottom of the bowl and then start up your beater again, on a medium speed this time, pour the cream in and give it all a good mix.
Stop and scrape it down again, when it is fully combined and smooth, pour in your gelatine mixture while it is beating, turn the speed up and give it a good bang about.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, one more beat and pour over your chilled cheesecake mixture. Smooth out the top, sprinkle on toasted almond flakes and chill until set.
Mmmm. Lovely cheesecake, how I miss you.