How to make the best gluten-free cheesecake with a pecan crust. This classic simple and easy recipe is rich and creamy and can be smothered by a thick chocolate ganache or served plain.
Joe and I dated over cheesecake. It’s the one dessert he really enjoys, and I often ordered a slice when we went out to dinner and shared it with him.
Now that we’re married, I make him order his own.
Today is our wedding anniversary, so I wanted to share our new favorite cheesecake recipe. I love cheesecake, but I am not very good at making it.
In fact, the cheesecake above was the first one I ever made that didn’t crack on top.
I don’t know why this particular one didn’t crack when all the others I’ve ever made did crack.
I love that this one uses pecans in place of cookies. I can delude myself and call this healthy. It is, after all, basically just nuts and cheese. ha.
How to make the best gluten-free cheesecake
- Preheat the oven to 350º.
- Brush your springform pan with a little melted butter to ensure the cheesecake doesn’t stick. (This melted butter is not included in the 1/2 cup required by the recipe.)
- Whisk the brown sugar and baking mix together in a medium bowl.
- Chop the butter into small pieces and use a pastry blender to mix them with the flour mixture until it is crumbly. If you don’t have a pastry blender, a fork or wooden spoon will work, but it will take a lot more effort. (Do yourself a favor and buy the pastry blender. It is cheap.)
- Stir in the nuts.
- Press the crust mixture into the springform pan to the depth you prefer. Try to get it in an even layer. Set aside.
- Microwave the cream cheese, one block at a time, for 30-60 seconds until it is softened but not cooked.
- Using an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and almond extract. Be careful not to over mix the batter or your cheesecake will rise in the oven and then fall and crack when it cools.
- Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. The center will still be pretty jiggly after this time, but turn off the oven and crack the door open. This will allow the cheesecake to cool very slowly which prevents cracking. Allow to cool in the oven for at least 1 hour, then move to the counter to cool completely.
- If your cheesecake cracks or if you just like chocolate, make a chocolate ganache to top the cheesecake. To do this, add the chocolate chips, heavy cream, and butter to a microwave safe dish and microwave in increments of 30 seconds, stirring well in between each time. Be careful not to overheat. If the chocolate mixture softens and then gets hard again, or it gets grainy, you have overcooked it and the ganache is ruined. The best bet is to heat it, stir for at least a minute, and only then heat again if needed. It will probably take 60-90 seconds worth of heating time to get the chocolate smooth.
- Allow the ganache to cool slightly so that it is thicker, and then pour over top of the cheesecake.
- Once the chocolate has cooled and hardened, cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. If you cover with plastic wrap before the chocolate is hard, it will make the surface of the chocolate all funky.
- Serve chilled.
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