Gluten-free Maple Cheesecake with Walnut Crust

Gluten-free Maple Cheesecake with Walnut Crust

A few weeks ago I realized that it was maple season. Living in New England I have had the pleasure of enjoying Sugar Shack season, when Maple syrup is ready and local sugar shacks come alive, offering pancakes and waffles with their own maple syrup. My favorite places to eat are the more remote, surrounded by farmland, maple trees, and where parking lots aren’t paved. Early in the season, you can see the steam coming out of the shack where they are still boiling the sap to make the delicious amber colored syrup that we all love.

In order to celebrate maple season, I decided to bake a couple of desserts. The first, described here, is a maple cheesecake. I never make cheesecake, feeling quite intimidated by the baking process – bake it too long and it cracks, too little and it’s runny. But I am glad that I took this on because it turned out absolutely delicious! When I bake with maple syrup, I tend to use the one with dark color and robust taste – formerly Grade B. If you don’t have access to it, any real maple syrup would be fine.

As it often happens, this recipe, from The view from great island blog, requires graham crackers. Though it also adds walnut to the crust mix, so that gave me an idea for a baked walnut crust, which would be gluten-free. And the salted maple caramel sauce is a wonderful added bonus.

ENJOY!

Gluten-free Maple Cheesecake with Walnut Crust

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Recipe by Simona Gluten-free Course: DessertDifficulty: Medium
Cooking time

1

hour 

30

minutes

Ingredients

  • For the walnut crust
  • 60 g chopped walnuts, toasted* – 1/2 cup

  • 170 g unsalted butter, softened – 12 Tablespoons

  • 60 g Confectioners’ sugar – 1/2 cup

  • 1 large egg

  • 273 g Simona’s Flour Mix – 1 3/4 cup

  • For the cheesecake
  • 32 oz cream cheese, room temperature – four 8-ounce packages

  • 226 g light brown sugar – 1 cup

  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 Tablespoons Simona’s Flour Mix

  • 4 large eggs

  • 120 g maple syrup – 1/2 cup

  • For the salted maple caramel sauce
  • 240 g maple syrup – 1 cup

  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 60 g heavy cream – 1/4 cup

  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

  • In a food processor, grind the walnuts to a fine grind. You should have about 1/2 cup. Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and confectioners’ sugar at high speed until light and fluffy. Add the egg; mix to combine. Lower the speed to slow and add the flour, mixing until barely combined. Add the walnuts and continue mixing, scraping the sides of the bowl, until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Heat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9u0022 spring form cheesecake pan and cover the bottom and sides with the dough. The layer should be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. Line the crust with parchment and weight with beans or pie weights. Bake until the edge is light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove the beans and foil and bake until the bottom is dry and light brown, about another 5 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
  • Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Wrap the bottom and sides of a the 9 inch spring form cheesecake pan with a double layer of foil. Do this carefully because it will provide the barrier between your cake and the water bath for baking.
  • Process the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour in a large food processor until perfectly creamy. Scrape down sides of bowl as necessary.
  • While the machine is running drop in the eggs, one at a time, allowing each to get incorporated before adding the next. Add the maple syrup and process everything until well combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary for a completely creamy consistency.
  • I poured the filling through a strainer at this point to remove air bubbles. You can strain it right into the crust or you can strain it into a bowl and then pour into your crust. Rap the pan sharply on the counter to release any remaining air bubbles – which I didn’t completely get rid of, unfortunately.
  • Place the pan into a larger pan – I used a roasting pan – and move them onto the oven, then add a couple of inches of boiling water to form a water bath – I prefer to add the water once the pans are in the oven because it’s just less prone to accidents. Bake for 70-75 minutes. The cake should look done around the edges and will be jiggly in the center. 
  • Turn the oven off and leave the cake inside for another hour, with the oven door ajar. The cake will finish cooking during this time. Remove cake from oven and water bath. Set on a cooling rack to cool completely. When the cake is completely cooled, cover with a clean dish cloth and refrigerate until chilled or overnight. I left mine overnight.
  • In the meanwhile prepare the sauce. Put the maple syrup into a medium saucepan with a heavy bottom. Fit the pan with a clip on candy thermometer. You’ll need a pan tall enough to allow the maple syrup to foam up as it boils. The heavy bottom helps prevent scorching. Bring the syrup to a boil and boil until it reaches 225°F – 230°F, this is just under the softball stage.
  • Remove from heat and add the butter, stirring until it melts. Then add the cream and salt and mix in gently. Do not stir too much, just enough to blend the butter and cream. Too much stirring can cause the mixture to crystallize. Pour into a heat safe jar and let cool before refrigerating. It will thicken as it cools, and will thicken further in the refrigerator.
  • Unmold the cake and drizzle the top with the caramel sauce. When ready to slice the cake. I like to dip my knife into very hot or boiling water and wipe dry between each cut for the sharpest slices. 

Notes

  • *Toast the walnuts in the oven, at a 350 degree Fahrenheit, for 10 to 15 minutes.

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