Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Cannoli Cheesecake is worth all of the effort. The full gluten version of this recipe was a popular Facebook recipe during the Christmas season of 2014. One of my main functions in gluten free cooking is to transform recipes from gluten rich to their delicious gluten free complement. I am pleased to present this Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free transformation of Cannoli Cheesecake. What a great fusion recipe; many countless Italian cheesecakes use Ricotta as the cheese, the American addition of a graham cracker crust and chocolate chips at the top are just delightful and yummy!
This gluten free transformation has a few changes from the original gluten rich. As a child my maternal grandmother often enlisted my help in the kitchen when making cannoli. I decided to go through some family cannoli creme recipes; in addition to the zest I chose to use Orange Flower (Blossom) Water in place of some of the vanilla from the original recipe. I also use less sugar, this combination really kicks up the cannoli flavor.
During preparation to convert this recipe I sat with the idea that cheesecake is really a custard. Cheesecakes are sensitive and require more attention than the average baked good. Dryness is especially important as gluten free flours tend to need more moisture than wheat. A hot water bath helps to maintain moisture level in the cake as it bakes. The steam helps the custard to slowly steam cook and then set. The cheesecake is done baking when the center just begins to set. Boil water and place in a large roasting pan with rack in center if necessary). The cheesecake spring form pan needs to have double or triple layers with foil at its bottom – sealing out the water. Then the spring form with filling is placed in the center roasting pan. Place on rack in roasting pan if the roasting pan sides are taller than the spring form pan. Watch the water level in the roasting pan and keep boiling water on stove to add periodically to hot water bath.
You must use a high quality ricotta which also states on the container that it is a “smooth” or “creamy” type of ricotta. Ricotta that is low quality has no flavor and is not worth the money, I urge you to invest in flavor since you are already investing with labor. When making this batter, be sure not to over mix it. Over mixing creates air pockets which creates a pastier flavor and makes the cake more likely to crack. The original recipe calls for just a bit of flour. The addition of gluten rich flour provides structure and binding for the ingredients. For transformation to gluten free, I chose to use a combination of potato starch for binding and sorghum flour for flavor and just a bit of bulk. I used gluten free “graham” crackers and processed them in food processor, the old school bag and rolling pin method also works well and is always a great job for a youngster in the kitchen. I present the cook time for my oven, but remember cook times vary oven to oven, so just keep an eye out.
When serving, I recommend placing a non-serrated cake cutter or butter knife in a glass of cold water, then slice cheesecake, this method makes slicing cheesecakes and ice cream cakes much easier.
1 ½ cups gluten free “Graham” crackers
2 tablespoons Sugar
¼ cup melted Butter
2 ½ pounds Ricotta
1 cup Sugar
¼ cup Potato Starch
2 tablespoons Sorghum Flour
2 teaspoons Orange Flower Water
2 teaspoons Orange Zest
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
5 whole Eggs
1/3 cup gluten free Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Take Ricotta and eggs out of fridge to warm up to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Use an 8” spring form pan, butter inside and layer outside bottom of pan with 2 or 3 layers of foil. Retrieve a large roasting pan, fit with rack in center if pan is taller on sides than spring form pan. Place a large pot or kettle of water to boil on stove, when boiling add water to roasting pan.
To make the Crust: Melt butter, process gluten free “graham” crackers to crumbs in a food processor. Place crumbs in a small bowl, with fork toss in sugar, mix thoroughly. Gradually pour in melted butter while tossing with fork.
Assemble Crust: These layers need to be water tight. Dump crumbs into spring form pan, use your hand to press crumbs down into place at the bottom and traveling about halfway up the inner side of the pan.
Place crust in preheated oven, bake for 10 minutes. Remove and allow to completely cool.
Reduce heat to 325 degrees. Place potato starch and sorghum in a small bowl and whisk together, place aside. Zest a small orange, place the zest aside. Beat 5 eggs in a small bowl and place aside. Prepare the Filling: In a large mixing bowl, cream together the ricotta and the sugar. Mix in the gluten free flours. Fold in the extracts and the orange zest. Gently fold in the beaten egg in three batches.
Add the filling to the completely cooled “graham” crusted spring form pan. Smooth top if necessary with spatula.
Place roasting pan with water (and rack if necessary) in center of pre-heated oven. Carefully place cheesecake in center of water bath. Close door. Watch water level and for browning or cracking on top.
Bake for 65-70 minutes, center of cake will be a bit jiggly and just set. Remove to wire rack to cool. After about a half hour, use a baker’s knife to gentle pull cake from sides of spring form pan. Allow to cool completely (a few hours) before very gently removing spring form circle. Enjoy!
“Cannoli Cheesecake” by Liz Conforti, Forget What You Know About Wheat(c) 2014
Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free Desserts:
Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free: Journey into a Culinary Cultural Evolution &
Learn How to Transform Southern Italian Recipes to Gluten Free
Kitchen Wisdom Gluten Free: Journey into a Culinary Cultural Evolution & Learn How to Transform Southern Italian Recipes to Gluten Free…Experience a Kitchen so Delicious, Those Who Can Eat Gluten Choose Not To! Available formats: eBook, & Paperback; On amazon.com, and at Select Vermont Retailers.
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