A naturally gluten-free cheesecake

I had a knitting post all worked out in my head for this weekend. Unfortunately, I have been either too busy, or too lazy, all weekend to write it. So, instead I will tell you about the amazing cheesecake I baked today. I found the recipe in an article in The Guardian this week, containing recipes from Nigel Slater’s new cookbook. Many of you will know that I have coeliac disease and maintain an entirely gluten-free diet. I was struck by this recipe, which has no crust, and is naturally gluten-free. Nigel writes about eating this Basque cheesecake in San Sebastián.

He writes:

“I chose a slice of cheesecake, its centre as soft as syllabub, its crust scorched. A cheesecake with no pastry or crumb crust to support its curds, no berries rippled through the deep, vanilla-scented custard. A cake that wobbled mousse-like on the fork. I was surprised not to miss the crunch of pounded crumbs. Not only was it not missed, the biscuit crumbs suddenly felt like an interference. Grit in the oyster. The smoky bitterness of the blackened crust was all the contrast I needed.”

Nigel Slater, The Guardian, Monday 20th September, 2021

It is fantastic! Here it is right out of the oven:

I highly recommend this recipe, whether you avoid gluten or not. It has a glorious texture and manages to be both amazingly rich and also meltingly light, at the same time.

I am reminded of a funny story about cheesecake. About 15 years ago or so, we were in New York in December with the girls. I had told them many times how much I had loved the cheesecake from the Carnegie Deli in my gluten-eating youth. We took them there on a cold, snowy afternoon and the girls and Doug all ordered a piece of cheesecake. I asked the waitress if they had anything that was gluten-free. She said to me “There is nothing gluten-free on offer here; you can’t eat anything in this restaurant.” I admit to be taken aback by this, which seemed rather rude, and simply ordered a coffee.

Some time later, while Doug and the girls were waxing euphoric over their cheesecake, I picked up a spoon and leaned across the table to take a tiny bite of Emma’s cake. Cheesecake normally has a gluten-free filling and it is the graham cracker crust that is problematic for coeliacs. I intended to sample a small bite of the filing. Before you could say “Boo!” the waitress ran over to the table and snatched the spoon from my hand and said “I told you that you can’t eat here!” In my nearly 30 years of eating gluten-free in cities all over the world, this stands out as one of the weirder experiences.

This is a lovely cake and I am sure to make it again. I followed the recipe exactly, except that I substituted half of the cream cheese with mascarpone (which has a higher fat content) and I used Creme fraiche instead of soured cream (which is difficult to find here). It is very easy to make, and it turned out perfectly the first time.

Enjoy!

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