Gluten Free Cheesecake Parfait Recipe
It's National Cheesecake Day this weekend and, though I’ve made many cheesecakes in the past, my goal was to put a new twist on the special dessert. Since we were invited to our friend Carol's home (she’s gluten intolerant), I decided to make my cheesecake gluten-free.
I made the mousse egg-free and flavored it with both raspberries and strawberries. For a contrast in texture, I added a layer of crunchy, diced yellow nectarines. And to make it look more fun, I topped the dessert cups with pistachio-flavored whipped cream and crushed pistachios. I don’t think anyone missed the crust. For those who could eat gluten, I slipped a ladyfinger cookie into the verrine. How amazing does that sound?
Yields: 8 verrines2 (8-ounce) packages fromage blanc (see tips), at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream, cold
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar, to taste
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-½ teaspoons xanthan gum
1-½ teaspoons liquid lecithin
1-½ tablespoons canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1-½ teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces fresh ripe strawberries
12 ounces fresh raspberries
2 sweet yellow nectarines, ripe but firm
2 cups pistachio-flavored whipped cream (see tips)
¼ cup unsalted pistachio kernels, coarsely crushed
1 (7-ounce) package lady fingers (optional), store-bought
Prepping the berries:
Stem and core the strawberries. Reserve about 2 dozen raspberries and coarsely chop the reserved ones.
Blend the rest of the raspberries with the strawberries. Strain the pulp through a fine-mesh sieve. Return the pulp in the blender and add 1-½ cups granulated sugar. Pulse one more time. Set aside.
For the berry cheesecake filling:
In a small bowl, combine the xanthan gum, liquid lecithin and canola oil. Stir well.
Whisk the fromage blanc to soften it. Add the berry pulp, the xanthan gum and lecithin mixture and vanilla extract. Mix well.
Whip the heavy cream (at a low speed) for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and smooth. Add the remaining granulated sugar.
Gently fold in the whipped cream in stages. This is to make sure that the fromage blanc incorporates evenly (the pink color should be uniform). Add the coarsely chopped raspberries.
Using a paring knife, cut each nectarine into 8 thin wedges. Twist and gently remove the stones from the nectarines, leaving the skin on. Cut into small cubes.
Spoon about 2-3 tablespoons cheesecake filling into verrines. Add a layer of diced nectarines. Repeat with another layer of cheesecake filling. Level the filling with a spatula (if necessary). Cover with plastic wrap and place the verrines in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours.
When you're ready to serve, spoon little mounds of pistachio-flavored whipped cream on top. Sprinkle with coarsely chopped pistachios for extra crunch. Top with lady fingers (if used).
Xanthan gum is a fine powder used as a binder and emulsifier. If you look at the list of ingredients for salad dressings and ice cream at the supermarket, you'll find that they contain xanthan gum. I use it for texture and as an egg white substitute. You can find it online or in any specialty food store such as Whole Foods.
If you want to make the filling using regular eggs (instead of the xanthan gum and lecithin combination), check out my grilled pineapple mascarpone cream dessert.
I served the dessert in small verrines. Verrine is just a fancy word for glasses; they're the latest trend in French cooking. Count 1 part pistachio cream to 2 parts berry cheesecake.
If you like a denser mousse, reduce the whipped cream by half. I prefer a lighter, fluffier dessert.
How to make pistachio paste (pâte de pistache): For this recipe, I use large, unsalted, green-colored green pistachio kernels. First, place 3.5 ounces of pistachios in a saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil for about 2-3 minutes. Drain and remove the skin. Coarsely chop them. Grind the pistachios with a small food processor. Make sure to stop before it turns into nut butter. The result should be a fine green mill. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the ground pistachios, 1/3 cup granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons water. Bring to a boil until your candy thermometer reads 250°F. Add 2 tablespoons of pistachio oil (or canola oil) and a drop of almond extract. Stir well.
How to make pistachio-flavored whipped cream: Whip 2 cups heavy cream (at a low speed) for 2-3 minutes until fluffy and firm. Add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 3 tablespoons pistachio paste; gently fold them into the whipped cream using a spatula.
You can keep the extra pistachio paste in an ice-cube tray in your freezer for up to 6 months or for 2 weeks in your refrigerator. You can use it for flavoring custards, crème brulées, mousses, ice creams and macarons.Published By: on July 28, 2011.