Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Lactose-Free, Dairy-Full Cheesecake
So, remember the lactose-free cream cheese I found out existed last winter? I finally got around to making cheesecake again. I actually tried a sour cream cheesecake recipe last spring (from Bon Appétit, actually, though I can’t find it online), but I was not pleased at all with the results. I had to bake the cake a full hour longer (!) than the recipe called for, because it was way too jiggly in the middle. Granted, I’m rusty because it had been a very long time (maybe ten years) since I had baked a cheesecake, but I trusted the description in the instructions and I know “too jiggly” when I see it. As a result, the cake was overbaked and dry and tasted of bitter disappointment – it was possibly the worse I’d made. But just recently, I tried a recipe by Green Valley Organics (who actually make the lactose-free cream cheese and sour cream necessary for all this) for a roasted peach cheesecake. This time, it was perfect. The instructions and baking time yielded the perfect doneness, I got an amazing consistency with the filling, and ohmigod it was so good! I mean, it’s actual cheesecake, with all the tang and richness of dairy, except it won’t make me sick. It was light and not too sweet, which I liked (I think the Engineer would have preferred more sugar or more flavor; the Little Prince, however, liked it enough to add “cheesecake” to his vocabulary). I was actually disappointed only by the roasted peaches which, even though I roasted them for a shorter time than called for, came out almost burnt and falling apart. Honestly, I would leave them out altogether and just use this recipe as a base, so that’s what I’m writing down below. You could add some lemon or orange zest to the filling if you wish, or use vanilla bean paste instead of the vanilla extract. This would be great with a cherry or strawberry sauce, but my next one will probably be chocolate. Note that it’s very rich, so it probably serves about 12 people, but it freezes very well in individual slices (just let them thaw in the fridge for a day before eating).
[Again, for the record, I’m not at all affiliated with Green Valley Organics. I happen to like their ethics, and I LOVE their lactose-free dairy products.]
For the crust
2 ¼ cups finely ground graham cracker crumbs (about 12 sheets or 9.5 oz. crackers; use GF if necessary)
½ cup vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
For the filling
4 8-oz. tubs lactose-free cream cheese (Green Valley Organics is the only brand of which I know)
¾ cup sugar
1 cup lactose-free sour cream (Green Valley Organics is the only brand of which I know)
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar (optional, for garnish)
For the crust
Preheat oven to 350 °F.
Line the bottom of a 10” springform pan with parchment paper. Wrap the outside in thick tin foil; place on a baking sheet and set aside.
In a food processor, blend graham cracker crumbs and oil until just combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press the crumbs firmly into the pan (I pressed to create a bottom and some very low sides, but the bottom is really the important part here). Bake until crust is fragrant and begins to browns, about 7-8 minutes.
For the filling
In a large bowl, gently combine cream cheese and sugar with a hand mixer on lowest setting. (As you can see in the picture below, I used my stand mixer.) Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until just combined. Add sour cream, lemon juice and vanilla; mix until just combined. Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
Bake for 1 hour, until the edges are golden brown and the middle is just set. Turn oven off and leave cheesecake in there, with the door closed, for another 45 minutes. Remove from oven (at this point, I ran a knife along the outer edge to loosen the sides and prevent cracking), let cool to room temperature and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
Before serving, remove cake from pan and carefully transfer to platter. Decorate the top with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, if desired.