Decadent gluten-free toasted sesame cheesecake for the holidays

Home for the Holidays

(Mass Appeal) – This rich toasted sesame cheesecake is not only delicious, it’s gluten free! Jessie-Sierra Ross, creator of the blog ‘Straight to the Hips, Baby’ joins us with the recipe.

For the Crust

1/3 cup sesame seeds
1 cup finely ground almond meal
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Prepare your 9 inch springform pan with a circle of parchment paper on the bottom.

Reserve a large skillet, shallow-sided pot, or deep casserole dish that your springform pan can “nestle” into, for baking. This is a very important part of the baking process, and allows a slow, even heating. I use a 12-inch cast iron skillet for this purpose, but any large ovenproof vessel that will hold the springform pan will work.

Preheat your oven to 350F.

Using a small cookie sheet, pour the sesame seeds and spread into an even layer.
Place the pan into the preheated oven & toast for 5-6 minutes, or until golden brown.

Once toasted, place the cookie sheet on a rack & let cool to room temperature. Keep your oven on.

After cooling, grind the sesame seeds in a coffee grinder (or, using a mortar & pestle).

Melt the butter in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl, or in a small skillet on the stove. Let cool slightly.

In a medium sized bowl, combine the ground sesame seeds, almond meal, salt, and cinnamon. Gently mix to combine. Add the melted butter and using your fingertips, combine into a sandy crust. The butter should be mixed throughout, and if squeezed, the mixture should form into a loose dough.

Pour the crust mix into your prepared springform pan and spread out, pressing into the bottom of the pan. Try to evenly spread out and press the mixture into an even crust.

Place the pan into your still-hot oven, and allow to bake for 10-12 minutes. The crust should be slightly golden & fragrant when ready. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Cheesecake Filling

32 ounces (or four blocks) full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
4 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon tahini (sesame paste)
1 teaspoon fine vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 325F.

Set 3 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or using a large mixing bowl with a handheld mixer & a good strong arm!), beat the cream cheese until slightly fluffy. It should still look creamy.

Next, on medium-low speed, add the sugar, vanilla extract, & salt. Beat to combine.

On low speed, add each egg individually, & beat until incorporated. Next, add the tahini paste. Mix until combined.

NOTE: It is VERY important that you do not over-mix the filling. Over-mixing incorporates too much air, and the trapped air will cause your cheesecake to rise & bow upwards during baking. When cooling, the air will escape & the cake will have a pronounced dip in the center (and be more prone to cracking). It will still taste good though!

Before pouring your batter into the crust, prepare the springform pan with foil and place into the final baking vessel.

  • Taking 4 large sheets of foil, make a protective liner for your springform pan, as it bakes in the water bath. Using 2 sheets of foil, fold the horizontal edges together to make 1 large sheet. Crunch the seam to make it ‘seal’. Do the same with the next 2 sheets.
  • Now that your 4 sheets of foil have been made into 2 larger sheets, place them on top of each other, with one seam horizontal and one vertical.
  • Place your springform pan into the middle of the foil and scrunch & fold around the pan. Keep the top of the foil from touching the top lip of the pan.
  • Next, “nest” the pan into your larger baking vessel. Try to make sure there is room around the springform pan for the hot water bath.

Now, pour your cheesecake filling into the prepared crust, and lightly smooth the top out with a rubber spatula or small offset palette knife.

Very carefully while using a ladle, pour the boiling water into the larger cooking vessel, surrounding the springform pan. Be careful not to splash water into the cheesecake itself. Pour until halfway up the side of the springform pan.

After creating the water bath, carefully transfer the whole vessel to the oven and bake on the middle rack for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until set. Turn the cheesecake around halfway through baking. The center should be just set and slightly wiggly when done.

Set two wire racks on your counter, one with a dish towel underneath.

Take your baked cheesecake out of the oven and carefully place on the rack without the dish towel. Using oven gloves, very gently lift the foil wrapped springform pan and place on the other rack. Still wearing the gloves, gently peel the foil away. There will be HOT water within the foil, so be careful!

Move the larger vessel to the side, and place the now unfolded cheesecake on the rack to cool to room temperature. Let the cheesecake sit in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours (or even better, overnight) before serving. Cover with plastic wrap and chill.

To un-mold, gently run a sharp knife around the edge of the cheesecake, and then unsnap the springform. The parchment paper at the bottom of the cheesecake will let you transfer to a plate stand easily.

INGREDIENTS:

For the Plum Coulis

3 large black plums, washed & dried
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and dry your fruit, & then cut the plum from the pit. Cube roughly and add to a medium sauce pan.

Add the sugar and lemon juice to the fruit. Set on medium heat to cook, while stirring occasionally. The plums will release their juices and melt slightly. Once at a boil, let cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft and jammy.

Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Taking a potato masher, mash the fruit to release even more juices.

Set a medium sized bowl with a fine mesh sieve on top. Carefully pour the plum jam into the sieve and using a rubber spatula, press the fruit mix through the sieve. You want to get as much of the pulverized fruit and juices out as you can.

Discard (or eat – the leftover plum bits are tasty on yogurt!) the fruit in the sieve, and allow the sauce to come to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour.

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