Monday, July 13, 2015

Vegan-ish Gluten-Free Lemon Strawberry Cheesecake with a Pretzel Crust

       A few weeks ago I baked up a Vegan Gluten-Free Cheesecake and it happened to be such a hit that I had customers begging me to come up with another variety.  So using the flavors of summer as inspiration, I came up with this delicious little beauty.  Enjoy the sweet tanginess of lemon and strawberry...
You’ll need:

1 package of Schar Gluten-Free Graham Cracker Cookies

1/2 cup pretzels,finely chopped

2 1/2 tbsp coconut oil 
       You can either crush the cookies and pretzels by hand in a small bowl, pulse a few times in a food processor, or put them in a nut grinder, which is the method I used.  I broke the cookies and pretzels in half then ground them on the 'fine' setting of my nut grinder.  Whichever method you choose, you will need to use all of the cookies from the package.
       In a bowl, combine cookie crumbs, pretzels, and coconut oil.  Stir until the mixture starts to hold together.  Press into the bottom of a greased 10" spring form pan and set aside until needed.

4  8oz packages of dairy-free Cream Cheese, room temperature  

1 2/3 cups sugar

1/4 + 2 heaping TBSP of tapioca flour

1 tbsp lemon extract

1 tbsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup coconut cream

Zest from 1 Large Lemon

       Preheat oven to 325°F.
      In a small bowl, rehydrate the strawberries with just a small amount of coconut milk, then set aside until needed.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the dairy-free cream cheese together, one container at a time until smooth, soft, and creamy.
       Beat in sugar, tapioca, and extracts, mixing well to be sure all the ingredients are completely incorporated.

       If you don’t have pure coconut cream, then open a chilled can of coconut milk upside down, and drain off the coconut water, leaving behind the cream.  I prefer to use the Thai Kitchen brand.  

       Now that you have coconut cream, beat it into the cream cheese mixture until smooth.  Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula then whip the ingredients again to make sure everything is blended and there are no more chunks of cream cheese or coconut cream.  Next, gently fold in lemon zest and strawberries.

       Pour the mixture into the prepared spring form pan and place the pan on a round cookie sheet (just in case you have any spillage!).  Put it into the oven and bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Once the cheesecake has finished baking, allow it to rest in the oven for another hour with the oven door shut. 
       After that, take it out of the oven and place it on a hot pad, then put it in the fridge so it can finish cooling.
       Now it’s time to cut, serve, and enjoy this refreshing summer treat!