Pecan Crust Cheesecake (Gluten-Free)July 22, 2013 • By Tara Ziegmont
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.
Check out these other delectable desserts while you’re here:
- Homemade Chocolate Orange Cheesecake
- S’mores Cheesecake with Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce
- Fresh Cherry Almond Clafoutis | Pudding Cake Recipe
- Gluten Free Chocolate Cherry Cake – Easy Black Forest Cake
- The Best Gluten-Free Cherry Almond Cake Recipe
- 1 1/2 cups Pamela's Gluten Free Baking Mix (which, by the way, we love love love - it makes perfect you'll never know they're gluten-free pancakes)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter unsalted
- 3/4 cup pecans finely chopped, (1 cup chopped pecans is different from 1 cup of pecans, chopped, right? You need way more than 1 cup of pecans here.)
- 4 8-oz blocks cream cheese (If you get the reduced fat, you will regret it.)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1-3 teaspoons almond extract to taste
- 1-1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips optional
- 1/2 cup heavy cream optional
- 3 tablespoons butter unsalted, optional
- Preheat the oven at 350.
- If your springform pan is not a nonstick variety, brush it with a little melted butter before getting started.
- Whisk the brown sugar and flour 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.) Stir in the nuts.
- Press the crust mixture into the prepared springform pan to the depth you prefer. Set the pan aside.
- If you remembered to set the cream cheese out to soften, congratulations! You can skip this step. I never remember to do that, so I soften mine in the microwave. Soften it one block at a time in the microwave. I put each block in my microwave for 30 seconds, then stir it a bit and put it in for 20 seconds more. That is good for me. Your microwave is probably different from mine, so experiment to see how long you need to put yours in for. You don't want to cook it, but you do want to make it soft.
- Mix your softened cream cheese with the sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla, and almond extract. I prefer to mix mine in my KitchenAid, but it will mix using a whisk (will require a LOT of work on your part) or a hand-held mixer. Be careful not to overbeat the batter or it will rise and then fall while it cooks.
- Bake the cheesecake for 45 minutes. The center will still be jiggly after 45 minutes, but turn the oven off and crack the door open a bit. Leave it in the cooling oven for an hour, then move it to the counter to finish cooling.
- If you want to add a layer of chocolate ganache to your cheesecake, do the following: heat chocolate chips, butter (cut into small cubes), and 1/2 cup heavy cream in a pan in the microwave in 30-second increments. I heated it for 30 seconds, then stirred well, then heated for 15 seconds and stirred well. It was still thick, but thin enough to pour. I poured it all over the top of the cooling cheesecake.
- Once the chocolate has set, cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge to chill over night. (If you cover it before the chocolate is set, the chocolate will get weird on top.)
- Once fully chilled, the cheesecake is ready to serve.
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