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It's tradition to make cheesecakes this time of year. I'd take cheesecake any time, so this works well for me. Growing up, these we're the kinds of cakes I celebrated with each birthday. My mother experimented with flavors and I learned you could add almost anything to a cheesecake. A most versatile of cakes.

My love for cheesecake has not waned, nor has my interest in trying out new flavors. This timeI found a hazelnut praline cheesecake recipe and modified it to be gluten-free. It might be the best one yet. Which is what I tell myself every time I make a cheesecake.

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First, make the praline:

1/2 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

1/2 cup coconut crystals

1/2 cup maple syrup

Mix in a small saucepan over low heat until crystals are melted, then bump up the heat til the mixture is boiling and a candy thermometer reads 300F. Pour onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow to cool. When cool, break the praline into small pieces and zip through the blender til finely ground.

Then, make the crust:

1 cup hazelnuts

2 tablespoons coconut crystals

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup cashew flour

1/4 cup melted butter

2 tablespoons Frangelico

Put the dry ingredients through a blender until finely ground. Then add the butter and liquor and blend again. Press the crust mixture into the bottom of a buttered spring form pan. Bake at 350F for 10 minutes and then set aside to cool.

The filling:

2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, room temp

1/2 cup coconut crystals

4 eggs separated

1 cup sour cream

1/2 cup cashew flour

3 tablespoons Frangelico

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

With a hand beater, beat the cream cheese and crystals til combined, then add the 4 egg yolks and continue beating. Add the sour cream, flour, liquor, and vanilla and beat til smooth. Add the finely ground praline and mix. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form and fold them gently into the cake. Pour the filling into the crust and bake at 350F for about 50 minutesuntil the center jiggles just ever so slightly and the edges are firm. Turn the oven off and keep the cake in for another 40 minutes. (It would have been a good idea if I'd put a bowl of water in the ovenmy cake might not have had such large craters that way). Then remove and allow to cool. Refrigerate overnight.

For the topping you can do whatever suits your fancy and/or covers the holes on your cake. I chose to melt a bit of dark chocolate chips mixed with a bit of Frangelico and drizzle this across the top. I sprinkled a handful of chopped and roasted hazelnuts across the top. So very delicious and perfect for Cheesefareor any time you like! Enjoy!

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Posted in Art Post Date 09/05/2016


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