I was oh so very timid to actually make this recipe gluten and dairy free. I mean, let’s face it, pumpkin cheesecake and graham cracker crust isn’t exactly gluten and dairy free friendly. It’s not an easily adapted recipe, nor is it one that you want to alter the flavors too much. I thought and thought about it and decided I would just give it a try. There would be other back-up desserts anyway if this turned out inedible.
The crust was a snap: the same gingersnap crust I used for Paola’s Key Lime Pie. It was a delight indeed. For the cheesecake, I decided to minimize the amount of ingredients. I didn’t want to have to use imitation sour cream or find alternatives to milk, cream, or anything else in addition to the toffuti cream cheese I knew I would have to use. Fortunately, the joy of a pumpkin cheesecake is that the cake reflects the pumpkin flavor and the delicious spices. While I do make do with imitation cream cheese, it certainly isn’t the same thing and I don’t want the “well it’s good for gluten free and dairy free” discussion around my dinner table. I just want there to be the “it’s really tasty” conversation.
So here’s what I did and how I did it. It turned out quite well. I would have baked it a little less time and I think I would have liked a little bit more pumpkin in there. BUT everyone else said they liked it exactly as is.
3 8-ounce packages of cream cheese (I use Tofutti, available at most grocery stores)
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree*
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon ginger*
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice*
pinch of salt
4 teaspoons sweet (glutinous) rice flour
Preheat oven to 350 and lightly grease a springform pan. Press gingersnap crust into the pan. This time though I doubled the amount of gingersnaps and added another tablespoon of the melted butter, but changed nothing else.
Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until blended. Beat in 1 egg at a time. Add the pumpkin, vanilla, and spices and beat until just incorporated. Add the rice flour. Pour into the prepared crust and bake for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, cover the cheesecake, and leave in the oven for another 15 minutes, until just set.
Chill for at least 3 hours, or overnight. The crust held up very well overnight.
*I would double the amount of spices and add another 1/4 cup pumpkin next time.