11 febbraio 2013

Desserts with Dairy

Cheesecake Without Gluten or Guilt

Got Goat Cheese?  Goatcheesecake1 
Most of my recipes are dairy free. I don’t need milk, cream, cheese, or sour cream to make food taste great. I followed a vegan diet for 9 years and a mostly dairy-free omnivorous diet for many more years. I know how to make creamy soups without cream, delectable puddings, pumpkin pies, custards, and ice cream alternatives that rival the real thing.
However, some recipes just don’t work well without milk products. Take cheesecake. I don’t need it and I don’t live for it although I enjoyed  New York-style cheesecakes and Jell-0 brand cheesecake mixes from a box when I was growing up. Yet for years I didn’t eat cheesecake.

I’ll admit that during my early vegan years I made tofu cheesecakes. They tasted kind of beany and I knew they wouldn’t satisfy or fool people who really liked cheesecake. But I ate them and suffered beany side effects anyway. I was committed to a vegan diet at the time and very into tofu. One year when I worked for Larry’s Markets in Bellevue, Washington. I dressed up as a box of extra-firm tofu for Halloween, complete with tear off recipe pads. I didn’t have an extra-firm body at the time, but it was the thought (or wish) that counted. I had a license plate that said GO4TOFU and my phone number had TOFU in the suffix. Gone are those days.
 After I gave up my tofu kick and went omnivorous again, I enjoyed fruit based desserts and other treats that didn’t require cream, cheese, or milk. I might have stayed cheesecake-free were it not for my husband, who said his favorite dessert during his teen years was cheesecake. So last summer I searched the internet, found a few recipes, then set to work doing my magic: making substitutions so the recipe would be lower in fat, calories, and sugar, and gluten free. You probably didn’t know that many recipes use wheat in the batter (for texture) or in the crust.
Goat cheesecake2 I settled on soft goat cheese because it has such a smooth texture and you can find brands that contain far less fat that regular cream cheese without the off taste of fat-free or low fat cream cheese. Some people who can’t eat cow’s milk can tolerate goat’s milk products. Using goat milk products makes it easy to avoid Rbgh and Rbst, growth hormones given to conventional cow that migrate into their milk and have been linked to serious health problems for humans.
Next, I replaced the sugar with a combination of honey (agave nectar also works if you want a lower glycemic sweetener) and white stevia extract powder. I made a couple of batches with a gluten free crust, but I wasn’t happy with the results. I was trying to use coconut flour, which absorbs a lot of moisture and requires more tinkering than I had patience with. Because you have to bake cheesecake crust blind (with no filling) and then again with the filling, you have to make sure it has enough fat so it doesn’t dry out. I found a simpler solution: crumble gluten free ginger snaps over the cake and the plates before serving. Maybe I’ll go back and make a GF crust but it’s not a high priority for me right now. I get plenty of carbs in my meals, desserts, and intentional snacks.
I’ve made this recipe about six times including one party and one cooking class. I’ve played with different toppings. It needs something, even if its just fresh berries with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar. If you want something fancier I have a host of great sauce recipes made without refined sugar in my new book, The Ice Dream Cookbook. Great toppings include cherry, raspberry, apricot, peach, nectarine, blueberry, cocoa, carob, or caramel sauce. The pictures I posted had cocoa and caramel sauce on top along with crumbled, gluten-free ginger snap cookies.

Good news: This recipe contains enough protein to constitute a healthy blood sugar-balancing snack, just be sure to serve it with fruit on top for extra vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber.

My Goat Cheesecake        
Hands-on: 30 minutes/ Cooking: 40 minutes/Yield: 1 (9 to 10-inch pie); 8 to 10 slices

I used a recipe from as a starting point. I cut the fat and calories by using a brand of soft, spreadable goat cheese that contains only 6 grams of fat per ounce, a huge calorie savings over cream cheese and sour cream. Look for it in tube-shaped packages in the refrigerator section of Trader Joe’s Markets and gourmet and natural foods stores. I cut the amount of sugar by using a combination of honey or agave nectar and an extract made from the herb stevia.
Note: Use a brand of pure stevia extract powder with nothing added (no FOS, no erythritol, no maltodextrin, and no lactose). The label should say 100% steviosides or 100% pure stevia extract. Look for it on the supplement or alternative-sweetener aisle of natural foods markets, such as Trader Joes, Sprouts, and Whole Foods. My favorites include NuNaturals and Wisdom Natural brands.
FYI: You want all of the ingredients at room temperature, 68˚ F to 70˚F. Take the cheese and eggs out of the refrigerator 1 to 2 hour before baking to allow them to come to room temperature.
Coconut oil, clarified butter, ghee, or Spectrum palm shortening to grease baking pan
11 ounces mild, fresh, soft goat cheese, at room temperature
1/3 cup light colored honey or agavé nectar, additional tablespoon as needed
1/2 teaspoon pure stevia extract powder (see notes above)
1 to 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest (colored part only)
2 to 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or alcohol-free vanilla flavoring; double if desired
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/4 cup arrowroot or organic cornstarch; add 1 more tablespoon for a denser texture or if using agave nectar
Topping (select one or more):
3 cups mixed fresh berries, such as blueberries, raspberries, and quartered strawberries with
2 tablespoons honey or agavé nectar for garnish, optional
or 1/4 cup Karly’s Carob Sauce or Karly’s Cocoa Sauce (page 174 of The Ice Dream Cookbook)
or 1/4 cup Caramel Sauce (page 176 of The Ice Dream Cookbook)
or 1 cup of crumbled gluten-free ginger snaps (try Pamela’s, Mi-Del, or Trader Joe's brand)

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom of a 9 1/2- or 10-1/2-inch” springform pan with a removable bottom. Cut more parchment to line the sides. Generously grease the bottom and sides of the pan. Place parchment on the bottom and sides. Grease the top of the parchment to prevent sticking.
2.  In a medium bowl, combine the goat cheese, honey, stevia, lemon juice, zest, and vanilla. Beat at medium speed until smooth. For a sweeter taste, add an additional 1 or 2 tablespoons honey. Beat in the egg yolks, 2 at a time, incorporating them completely before adding more. Beat in arrowroot at low speed.
3. In another bowl using clean beaters, beat egg whites until firm but not dry, about 2 minutes on high. Beat one-third of the whites into the goat cheese mixture. Gently fold in the remaining egg whites with a wide stiff spatula.
4. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted  into the center of the cake comes out clean. Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.
5. Remove the sides of the Sprinform. Invert cake onto a large plate. Peel away parchment. Arrange berries on top and drizzle with honey or agave nectar. Or drizzle cheecake or berry topped cheesecake with Carob or Cocoa Sauce and/or homemade Caramel Sauce.
6. Slice cake and serve or, cover tightly and refrigerate until serving time. Use within 5 days. I store the sliced cake in round or oblong (glass) Pyrex or Corningware containers with fitted lids.

How big a piece do you want?

1 serving w/out topping (1/12 of pie):
139 calories, 7 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fat

1 serving w/out topping (1/10 of pie): 167calories, 8 grams protein, 13 grams carbohydrate, 9 grams fat
1 serving w/out topping (1/8 of pie): 208 calories, 12 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrate, 12 grams fat
*  For a simple fruit sauce: Lightly crush the berries with 2 tablespoons honey or agavé nectar and set aside for 10 minutes. Spoon over cheesecake and garnish with additional whole berries.

For a smoother sauce without any seeds:  Purée the fruit and honey in a blender or food processor, then press it through a fine mesh strainer with a flexible spatula. Have a bowl underneath to catch the purée.
Or try the fruit sauce recipes found in The Ice Dream Cookbook.
*    Replace lemon juice and zest with orange juice and zest in the cheesecake.
SOURCE: © Copyright 2008 Chef Rachel, The Healthy Cooking Coach 

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