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?
1. Info for Gluten Free Cheesecake Parfait Recipe
- Cook Time: unavailable
- Total Time: unavailable
- Servings: 8
- Calories: unavailable
2. Ingredients for Gluten Free Cheesecake Parfait Recipe
- 2 (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)
- 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.
- Assembly time:
- 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).
- Bon appétit!
4. Tips and advices:
- You could replace the fromage blanc with mascarpone cheese or cream cheese.
- 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.
- I use liquid lecithin as an egg yolk substitute. You can also find this online or in any specialty food store like Whole Foods. Look for a (32-ounce) bottle, not the capsules.
- 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.