Sunday 26 October 2014

GF Baked lemon cheesecake

Sometimes a recipe defines a weekend.  I have make great sourdough flatbread wraps, stewed rhubarb, experimented with frying the filling from these sausage rolls (not a success).  Yet it is the baked lemon cheesecake that took most of my attention this weekend.  I haven't made a proper cheesecake for years.  Which meant I worried at every step but it was all worth the effort.  Every mouthful!

The cheesecake was made for a birthday tea for my celiac sister.  I found a recipe for a baked lemon cheesecake. When I came home from the farmers market with lemons, the recipe wasn't quite what I had in my mind.  I searched and nothing else fitted the bill.  So I returned to my original recipe which had to be close enough for jazz.  I used mostly gluten free biscuits for the base.  I stuck to the Freelicious brand which I know.  I bought eggs, which I haven't had in my kitchen for about a month.

As soon as I started making the cheesecake, Sylvia wanted to help.  She juiced and measured and drove the food processor.  She even read a bit of the ingredients list for me.  She also decided to weigh her hand and wave the kitchen scales around.  The display was giving very odd information so I estimated the ricotta and yoghurt weights.  Then I thought to take out the battery and put it back in again.  That fixed the scales.

It didn't stop my cheesecake inexplicably sweating.  It was dry when I turned off the oven.  I cooled it in the oven with the door ajar.  Then it started to sweat.  I mopped its brow with a kitchen towel once or twice.  I am not sure if this helped.  It had dried in patches after overnight in the fridge.  Any advice on why this happened is welcome.

In the morning, Sylvia worked on a birthday card and I checked the cheesecake a few more times to see if it was still sweating.  Finally I put the cheesecake in the boot of the car and drove to my parents' house.

My mum had been very busy preparing a gluten free afternoon tea for Susie.  She made an impressive sponge cake, a childhood favourite jelly slice, meringues, zucchini fritters, spiced chickpeas, chocolate cake and scones.  She loves to experiment and made a Jamie Oliver gluten free scone recipe which was amazing.  The recipe only made a small amount of scones so mum also made some regular scones.

As you can imagine, we ate very well.  The cheesecake was very good after all my worry about it.  (I sprinkled it with icing sugar and mum decorated it with some borage flowers from her garden.)  I was relieved it was the sort of cheesecake I had envisaged.  Dense and yet light and fluffy.  It had a distinct lemony tang and a little texture from the zest.  A small slice was quite enough.

I enjoyed chatting to my niece Quin who knows every Dr Who episode but had never heard of Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.  We also talked about books (lots of classics as well as How to Live Forever and Molly Moon) Sylvia played cafes with her cousins and then they disappeared down to the park. 

I am pleased to report that the birthday girl enjoyed the cheesecake.  When I took some leftovers home to E, he asked if it was possible to make a lighter version of the cheesecake.  I sighed and reflected that this was one reason I don't make cheesecake so often.  I do love cheesecake but it is rich and takes me out of my comfort zone.  Yet this is a reminder that I really should bake cheesecake more often.

I am sharing this with the Shop Local event at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary because I bought lemons for this cheesecake at the local farmers market.  (I wish they had come from our lemon tree.  It has quite a few lemons growing but none are ripe enough to pick yet!)

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Tempting Fete and Easy Lentils
Two years ago: Sweet potato, chickpea and hemp seed burgers
Three years ago: Nut Roast Lasagna
Four years ago: Pea pate - sandwiches
Five years ago: Pumpkin bread pudding for interesting times
Six years ago: WTSIM: of cats, ukeleles and enchiladas

GF Baked Lemon Cheesecake
Adapted from Baking: 100 everyday recipes

125g GF (Freelicious) tea biscuits
30g dessicated coconut
20g ground almonds
75g butter

2 large lemons*
300g ricotta*
200g greek style yoghurt
4 eggs
100g castor sugar
1 tbsp cornflour (corn starch)

Icing sugar to serve

Grease a 20cm springform tin* and lay some baking paper across the base before fitting into the side of the tin.

Use a food processor to finely grind biscuits.  Add in coconut and almonds. Process briefly until mixed.  Melt butter in a mixing bowl.  Tip in biscuit mixture and mix.  The mixture should clump together if pinched between fingers.  Press into the base of the prepared springform tin.  Chill in fridge while you prepare filling.

Preheat oven to 180 C.

Place all filling ingredients in food processor and blend until combined.  My mixture was quite runny.  Pour on top of biscuit base.

Bake for 40-60 minutes or until filling is set and golden on top. Turn off oven.  Leave to cool in oven with the door adjar.  Chill in the fridge overnight.  Leave out of the fridge for a few hours before serving.  Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with icing sugar.

- My springform tin is 22cm so I used it but a 20cm tin would give the cheesecake a bit more height if you have one.
- The recipe called for 3 lemons but mine seemed large so I only used two which seemed to be enough. 
- I bought the firm ricotta from the deli rather than a tub off the fridge shelves. 

On the Stereo:
His 'n' Hers - Pulp


  1. What a beautiful tea, the table layout is lovely! My kids like to 'help' with measuring, which means they just stick random crap on the scales or just jiggle it all around.

    1. Thanks Veganopoulous - my mum has a great collection of 'good' crockery and linen. The tea cups were my grandmother's. I only let Sylvia measure using measuring cups and spoons but after her performance with the scales I don't know if she will be allowed near them again for a while.

  2. Baked cheesecake is my VERY favourite pre-vegan dessert. I do love raw cheesecakes but would love to try a vegan baked version.
    I love the idea of a tea party for a birthday and your family really pulled the stops out for your sister.
    I'm pinning that Jamie scone recipe to try too (Looks easy enough to veganize) .

    1. Thanks Emma - there are a few baked cheesecakes in The Joy of Vegan Baking where she uses egg replacer and vegan cream cheese or Ricki has some baked cheesecake bars. So I am sure vegan baked cheesecake is possible but more challenging. I agree about the scone recipe looking open to veganising - love to hear if you do it.

  3. Does that mean you can only buy and use ricotta and yoghurt or do you also have other similar milk products at your disposal? I am asking only because I make cheesecake with curd cheese (with reduced fat content, following this recipe: and it does not seem too rich at all. It is also not very sweet or anything, just yummy...

    1. Hi Alcessa - The recipe I used was from a british baking cookbook and called for ricotta and greek yoghurt. These are ingredients that are easy to find in Australia too. I don't think curd cheese is easy to find here though we do have cottage cheese and there were some cheesecake recipes with cottage cheese that I could try. Thanks for the recipe - wonder if I could try it with cottage cheese.

    2. I use both curd cheese and cottage cheese (in Germany) for different purposes and they are quite similar, so I would intuitively say Go For It :-) If nothing else, you will be able to eliminate it from the list of options :-)

  4. I don't think I have ever had a lemon cheesecake, but it sounds divine! It looks divine too....... I will definitely be trying this one! I always love the additional texture and flavour that coconut adds to a cheesecake base too. I have never known a cheesecake to sweat though, so can't help you on that one.... It doesn't seem to have been terminal though, so I wouldn't worry too much! Will check out the JO scone recipe!

    1. Thanks Kate - I thought lemon was quite common in cheesecake - I really like the little bits of zest in the filling which I have had before. The recipe was not gluten free and called for gingernut biscuits but I used the coconut because the recipe called for 175g biscuits and the freelicious come in a 125g packet - but I think the coconut worked well and I agree that it is great in a cheesecake base. The sweating was odd but need to make a cheesecake again soon just to experiment!

  5. I don't recall having baked cheesecake often - perhaps just once or twice - and confess I liked it even less than regular cheesecake! However, your lemon cheesecake looks so pretty with the icing sugar and flowers on top, I'd have been drawn in to try some anyway. I'm impressed at making it amongst all your other dishes too.

    1. Thanks Kari - I love baked cheesecake - we grew up having the unbaked cream cheese and condensed milk cheesecake which I really love but when I discovered baked cheesecake it seemed very sophisticated. I can imagine that if you aren't a cheese fan that cheesecake might not be your thing either. Mum's idea to put the flowers on top was inspired as they look beautiful - wish I had her garden at hand for blogging pics!

  6. I like unbaked cheesecakes as well as baked ones but the unbaked ones are that much lighter that they're easier to eat. I bet you could make a great unbaked one!

    1. Thanks Lorraine - I love unbaked cheesecakes too but they seem more likely to have gelatine in them and unbaked seems more sophisticated - but come summer I love the idea of cheesecake with no turning on the oven - maybe this will be the summer I make an unbaked one and blog about it.

  7. I so love a good cheesecakes! Especially when it is stuffed with citrus like this one is. Mmm.

  8. This looks lovely and rich- love Sylvia's card too :) I often get anxious when baking for other people too. It doesn't help that I choose new recipes to bake on these occasions!!

    1. Thanks Kate - I often choose new recipes too - though the more tried and trusted recipes I add to my blog, the more I am likely to look through it for ideas which helps feel calmer about it.

  9. Hi Johanna,
    I think your cheesecake looks lovely especially with your mom's floral touch:) I remember many years ago I was having company and one of my guests preferred vegan meals. Thankfully, another firend made her meal but I made her a dessert. I attempted tofu cheesecake and it was wonderful! I made it many more times through the years but haven't made it in a while. It is light and actually rather refreshing. I'm sure you could replace the ricotta with soft tofu. As for the yogurt, the recipe I used was pre "greek" yogurt. I'm pretty sure I used sour cream which translates to regular yogurt now. I'm not sure about the "sweating" but I would think you could increase the amount of ricotta (drained) to about 16 ounces or two cups. Have fun experimenting!!!

    Thank you so much for sharing, Johanna...

    1. Thanks Louise - I am quite keen to experiment with vegan cheesecake - have tried some vegan cheesecake topping in brownies and it was an interesting experience - but this was not the time to do anything experimental as I know my sister loves regular cheesecakes. Perhaps tofu is less sweaty too :-)

  10. Gosh, I wish I can eat this beautiful baked cheesecake, I used to eat these baked cheesecakes. I looooooove all kinds of cheesecakes! Awww, how sweet of your mum - such a gorgeous afternoon tea party, I want your mum to prepare me one one day! Hehe!

  11. Oh this looks and sounds so amazing! Sylvia looks like she had a lot of fun helping out too. :) Thank you for sharing with Shop Local


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