Last week I promised to show you what I made with my lactose free mascarpone cheese. I had considered making that to-die-for Italian dessert, Tiramisu. But we were heading for dinner at our friend’s new home, and decided the coffee flavours might not go so well with the 6 kids in our families. So a simple cheesecake it was.
After a bit of searching and cookbook browsing I settled in this Donna Hay recipe as my starting point. I’m not one for sticking to recipes word-for-word but didn’t make too many changes with this one. I mixed some almond meal with a gluten free flour blend for the base of the cake. The result was somewhere between shortbread and sponge cake, firm enough to act as the base but still light.
My batch of mascarpone weighed in at 450g, so I didn’t fiddle with the filling ingredients too much. I mixed in some vanilla bean paste which always adds great flavour, so much more than an essence or extract. Something I noticed with this cheesecake was that it seemed less likely to crack. If you have ever made baked cheesecakes you will know how just a few minutes extra cooking time can result in a cheesecake splitting open as it cools.
This cheesecake could easily be varied with any number of flavourings. I offered mine with crushed raspberries sweetened ever so lightly with icing sugar, and diced strawberries on the side. Simplicity is often perfectly enough.
You can purchase mascarpone cheese from most supermarkets. If lactose is a problem for you, I encourage you to try making your own. It really is easy, as you can read here.
85g almond meal
85g gluten free flour mix
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons icing sugar
45g butter, softend
1 egg, beaten
450g mascarpone cheese
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup castor sugar
zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm springform cake tin.
Place almond meal, flour, baking powder and icing sugar into a food processor and mix quickly to blend. Add the butter and pulse until it looks like bread crumbs. Add egg and pulse to form a soft dough. Spread and press the mixture over the base of the prepare tin, using your fingers or the back of a spoon to help. Bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.
Combine the filling ingredients in the wiped-out food processor, or in a bowl with a whisk. Pour over the base. Bake for 35-40 minutes until the edges are golden and the centre is just set but still has a slight wobble.
Chill in the fridge for a few hours before serving with fruit on the side.