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Gluten-Free Living

Gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake is perfect for late fall

Gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate.

(ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

Gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake with chocolate. (ALEXANDER COHN / Monitor staff)

I’ve learned many lessons during these last few years of gluten-free cooking: the versatility of rice, the value of good food blogs, the fact that garbanzo bean flour just isn’t for me. But one of my most significant discoveries is how much the quality of a recipe depends on the ingredients that are left out.

Such is the case with this simple cheesecake. It has just five ingredients and, because it’s crustless, there’s no fussing with multiple flours or hunting around for a box of palatable gluten-free cookies to crush. Instead, the result is silky smooth, just a little sweet and full of the flavors of late fall.

This recipe was inspired by two of my favorite desserts: Sicilian cheesecake and pumpkin pie. The part-skim ricotta keeps the dish light, and the pumpkin pie mix guarantees the right blend of spices.

It’s indulgent enough to serve as Thanksgiving dessert, but would also work well on a brunch buffet.

If the cake’s mild sweetness isn’t enough, drizzle slices with chocolate or caramel sauce or top with whipped cream.

You might also toss a few pecans or walnuts on the plate to add a bit of crunch.

This cheesecake is easy to assemble – and what cook doesn’t appreciate a few dishes like that on the holiday menu. Just blend the ingredients in a food processor, pour the batter into a springform pan and bake.

Once the cake cools, it will keep in the refrigerator for several days. It can also be frozen for longer storage.

Pumpkin Ricotta Cheesecake

2 pounds part skim ricotta cheese

15-ounce can pumpkin pie mix (Most brands are gluten free. I used Libby’s.)

1∕2 cup white rice flour

5 eggs

2 tablespoons vanilla

rice flour for dusting pan

cooking spray

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray a 9-inch springform pan and dust with a bit of white rice flour.

Add the cheese, pie filling, 1∕2 cup flour, eggs, salt and vanilla to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Blend for a few minutes until the batter is very smooth and a bit fluffy.

Pour the batter into the pan. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until the top is nearly dry and slightly cracked. Cool thoroughly.

Serve alone or with the topping of your choice. Caramel sauce, chocolate sauce, nuts and whipped cream all compliment this cheesecake’s flavors.

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