Spago Cheesecake

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This cheesecake is rich and creamy and translates well to gluten-free-ness.

Baking notes:

  • With a hot water bath during baking, it’s a little scary to remove the pans from the oven, but I found that placing the pans on a large baking sheet decreases the risk of burning yourself.
  • If you’re impatient and don’t mind a slightly warm cheesecake, you can eat it the same day you bake it.

Original recipe

 

Spago Cheesecake
Adapted from Wolfgang Puck

Yield: 9-inch cake

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts), finely chopped OR 1/2 cup gluten-free flour
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar OR 2 tablespoons white sugar+dollop molasses
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Filling:

  • 1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup sour cream OR plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon dark rum
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

 

  1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF.  Butter or coat with nonstick spray, the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a large bowl, assemble all the ingredients for the crust.  Mix them together with your hands.  If using nuts, the mixture will resemble very small pebbles.  If using only flour, the mixture will resemble damp sand.
  3. Press the crust into the bottom of the springform pan, covering the base completely and evenly. Wrap heavy-duty aluminum foil, or two layers of regular foil, around the pan’s bottom and halfway up its sides, pleating the foil to tighten it securely.
  4. Bake the crust for 10 minutes. Because it’s gluten free, it will remain light in color.  Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. To make the filling: Put the cream cheese, sugar, and salt in the large bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle or beaters or in a large mixing bowl. Using the stand mixer or a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the ingredients until smooth, stopping often to scrape down the sides of the bowl and under the blades with a rubber spatula.
  6. Turn the speed high and continue to beat until mixture is creamy.
  7. Stop the mixer and add the sour cream OR plain yogurt, rum, lemon juice, and vanilla; then, on medium speed, continue beating until well blended.
  8. Add the eggs and beat just until combined.
  9. Scrape the filling into the prepared springform pan.
  10. Bring a kettle of water to a boil. Place the springform pan inside a slightly larger baking pan. Use an oven glove, pull out the oven shelf and place the baking pan on it. Pour enough hot water into the pan to reach halfway up the sides of the springform pan, but not above the foil. Carefully slide the shelf into the oven and bake the cheesecake until its top is slightly golden and slightly firm in the center, about one hour and 10 minutes.
  11. Carefully remove the baking pan from the oven. Lift out the springform pan and place it on a wire rack to cool, carefully folding down the foil on its sides to promote quicker cooling. When the pan is cool enough to touch, completely remove the foil and continue cooling. When the cheesecake is completely cool, cover the pan loosely with a clean sheet of foil and refrigerate overnight.
  12. When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the refrigerator. Dip a long, sharp knife in warm water and run the knife around the inside of the springform pan to loosen the cake. Remove the outer ring. Continue to dip the knife into warm water as necessary as you cut neat wedges.
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