On my latest adventures in ‘no gluten or dairy’ land (see here to read more), I came up with this latest dessert gem. I’d often seen Tofutti ‘cream cheese’ in the cold section in supermarkets, but dismissed it as being one of those weirdo tofu replacements that tasted, well, kinda awful and not a patch on the regular stuff. Not to mention it was usually twice the price of the cheapest brand of cream cheese which I would normally use. Well, I decided to give it a try, and was pleasantly surprised with the results. The texture is pretty much exactly the same as cream cheese and it tastes very similar, without that soy or tofu like aftertaste. I was very impressed and tried it out with my vegan mushroom pâté and it worked out quite well! I am looking forward to trying it out in new recipes – definitely more cheesecake flavours. Maybe even some frozen cheesecake pops? Cream cheese frosting (oh how I missed you!) Oh the possibilities are endless!
I also had a jar of marshmallow creme sitting in my cupboard waiting to be used and so I thought, why not combine the cream cheese with the light and fluffy marshmallow creme, add some lime juice/zest and see what happened? And boom, suddenly I had a lime cheesecake filling!
As for the cheesecake crust (an imperative element, you must agree), I had heard that many gluten free cooks use almond meal with butter or oil to create a similar taste and texture to the usual graham cracker crust. I experimented and added some coconut oil to make it dairy free (plus limes and coconut go together so well) and a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste just to give it an extra kick. I was really surprised at how similar it tasted to a regular cheesecake base.
In future I think I will definitely give this a try with the whole traditional pressing the crust into a pie pan and adding the filling like a tart, but for a smaller dinner party this time around, it went quite nicely in some pretty glasses for a ‘deconstructed’ look. Plus it was super easy to throw together! I was seriously amazed at how much it tasted like cheesecake – I could barely taste the difference. The super sweetness of the marshmallow cream went well with the zing of the lime and the crunch of the vanilla almond crust. So gluten and dairy free (ex) lovers, rejoice! There is still cheesecakey hope for the future!!
Lime Cheesecake with Vanilla Almond Crust (100% gluten and dairy free!!) an original recipe by Cooking Crusade
Serves: 5 (I half-filled 5 glasses)
Time to prepare: About 10 minutes to prep and at least 2 hours to chill in the fridge
- 2 x 227 gram packages of tofutti cream cheese (or regular cream cheese if you like)
- about 1 cup of marshmallow fluff (I used a 7oz container I found at the Reject Shop)*
- zest and juice of two limes
- 1.5 teaspoons of agar agar, dissolved in cold water (optional) I think it would still set pretty well without this. This was more of a ‘just in case’ measure
- 1 lime, sliced, to decorate (optional)
Vanilla Almond Crust
- 1 cup roast almond meal (I used Lucky Nuts)
- 1.5 T coconut oil, melted
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Equipment needed: Chopping board, sharp knife, a food processor/blender, 5 decorative cups or dessert glasses to serve in
- Place cream cheese, marshmallow creme and zest/juice of limes into food processor and blend. Add dissolved agar agar (if using) and blend again until creamy.
- To make crust, mix together all vanilla crust ingredients in a bowl and stir until fully combined.
- Place 1 tablespoon of crust mixture into each glass and press down with the back of a spoon. Divide cream cheese mixture among glasses equally and top with another tablespoon of vanilla crust. Add sliced lime to decorate and chill in the fridge for at least two hours before serving. Serve and enjoy! There, wasn’t that easy?!
If you don’t have marshmallow creme, don’t despair! It’s quite easy to make (from what I’ve seen online anyway – I haven’t tried it yet) – it seems like it’s basically a meringue made with egg white, sugar and corn syrup. I reckon this would probably work well without the corn syrup as well. Here’s a great recipe for a handy guide.
If you’re not averse to using gluten/dairy in your cooking, then I’m sure that using regular cream cheese and/or replacing the almond meal with crushed bikkies would also work a treat, but give this is a try anyway as I think you may be pleasantly surprised! Additionally, Tofutti cream cheese has lower fat content than regular cream cheese, making this dessert a good alternative for those trying to cut a few calories.
Hope you all had a super relaxing weekend full of lovely sleep and incredibly delicious food and are looking forward to the week ahead, I know I am !