Easy Dairy Free / Gluten Free Strawberry Cheesecake

Gluten Free Dairy Free CheesecakeI used to be a milk queen, and not like a Dairy Princess type of queen, but like the type that swigs milk out of the jug. When I was in college and hardly had any money to live on, I would live on cornflakes and milk. Hey – for two bucks I could buy a huge box of cornflakes and a gallon of milk and be a happy camper for a week. I’ve always had a love-love relationship with milk. Therefore, I’ve also loved cheese too. Someone once said that ‘cheese is milk’s leap toward immortality.’ Man, there’s nothing like a really nicely aged piece of cheese. Thankfully, my food budget has increased since college, but alas, now when I could afford a good piece of cheese every so often, my body won’t stand for it any longer. I tend to have joint issues and immune system issues when I drink milk or eat cheese. Sometimes I throw caution to the wind and make some homemade butter to have on my gluten free bread, or I’ll have some real cheese on my gluten free pizza. But generally, I try to stay away from it. So, this brings me to dairy free cheesecake. Last weekend was my son’s birthday and his favorite thing is strawberry cheesecake. Of course, I had to make him a good old-fashioned New York cheesecake, but I felt a little envious of not being able to have some. This recipe is something I put together. I used a 10″ pie pan instead of a springform pan because I only have one springform pan, but it worked out pretty well. I have to admit, this was a really good ‘cheese’cake. It was very creamy. It only had a slight hint of soy taste to it. The texture, though, was really the winner for me. I call it easy because I didn’t do the whole soak raw cashews and make it that way. I was already making one cheesecake, so I was looking for something easy to do and I used tofutti cream cheese. That, and I used already made gluten free graham crackers. It worked out well. And the nice thing about using tofu cream cheese is that you don’t have to worry about baking the cheesecake in a hot water bath (known as a ‘bain-marie’) because it won’t crack. Next time I’ll try the cashew way and see how that works. For now – Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Crust:
8 oz. Pkg. of Gluten Free Graham Crackers
2 oz. Melted Butter Substitute
2 Tbsp. Turbinado Sugar
¼ Tsp. Salt

Filling:
3, 8 oz. Pkgs. Dairy Free Cream Cheese
1 Cup Turbinado Sugar
2 Tbsp. White Rice Flour
1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
¼ Cup Coconut Milk
3 Large Eggs
Lemon Zest from 1 lemon

Topping:
(2) 12 oz. Pkgs. Frozen Sliced Strawberries, unsweetened
2 Tbsp. Arrowroot
¼ Cup Turbinado Sugar

Directions:
Preheat oven to 300º.
In a food processor, grind the graham crackers into fine crumbs. Add in the melted butter, sugar, and salt. Combine thoroughly. Press into a 9” spring-form pan, or into a 10” pie plate.
For the filling, combine the cream cheese and sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add in the white rice flour, vanilla extract and coconut milk and beat on low until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time and lemon zest. Mix until smooth and creamy. Pour filling into crust.
Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, until the top is mostly set and will have a slight golden brown color to it. Cool completely before serving.
While cheesecake is cooling, prepare the filling. In a medium sized saucepan, mix all of the topping ingredients. Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick and bubbly. Cool slightly and serve over cheesecake.

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