Cheesecake Gets An Allergy-Friendly Makeover

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Traditional cheesecake is made with a mixture of soft cheese, like cream cheese and ricotta, eggs and sugar. The crust is usually made from crushed cookies, graham crackers or sponge cake. Fortunately creating a tasty and creamy "cheese" cake that is free from dairy, eggs, gluten, soy, peanuts and tree nuts is actually easier than you think!

cheesecake

In this recipe makeover, I use common ingredients that most people already have, or can easily find at their local grocery store, to develop a delicious, rich and creamy allergy-friendly cheesecake.

Here's how to make a gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, coconut milk cheesecake:


The crust

I toyed with the idea of using gluten-free graham crackers and vegan butter to more closely replicate a traditional cheesecake crust, but I had a hard time finding allergy-friendly graham crackers. So instead, I chose to use gluten-free oats blended with dried dates and vanilla extract.

cheese cake

The crust was simple to make. I tossed all of the ingredients into a food processor and processed them until the mixture started to clump. You may need to add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to get it to the right consistency.

cheese cake

I then flattened the mixture onto a parchment paper-lined, 8-inch springform pan, and baked it for 10 minutes at 325 F.


The Filling

There are many dairy-free replacement options for cream cheese. Most vegan cheesecake recipes use soy (silken tofu) or tree nuts (cashews), and many grocery stores sell dairy-free cream cheese.

In my recipe, I substituted the cream cheese with coconut milk mixed with a little lemon juice and apple cider vinegar to help the milk curdle. Note that the apple cider vinegar gives the filling a distinct "cheesy" taste, so it can't be swapped for white vinegar.

I replaced the egg used in traditional recipes with tapioca starch and aquafaba — the water from a can of chickpeas — to help bind the filling. I then used coconut flour to thicken the mixture, but this can be replaced with white rice flour if you don't have coconut flour. Maple syrup was used as a sweetener, because I love the taste, but white sugar can be used in it's place.

Use a food processor or blender to mix the filling until smooth, and then pour it on top of the crust.

cheese cake

Bake the cheesecake at 325 F for 45 minutes then allow to cool completely. Once it's at room temperature, refrigerate for at least two hours.

cheese cake

Serve the cheesecake cold.

cheese cake

Click here for the complete recipe with ingredient measurements and instructions.

Pauline Osena is a food allergy advocate and founder of HypeFoodie.com, an online resource for allergy-friendly living. This former dairy junkie became an expert in allergy-friendly cuisine while figuring out how to feed her child with multiple food allergies. Pauline aims to inspire culinary adventures and experimentation with her series, "Allergy-Friendly Makeovers," and shares the valuable knowledge she has gained from her trials, errors and adventures in living with food allergies with "The Allergy-Friendly Top 10." Pauline's short-term goals include getting a full night's sleep and drinking her entire cup of coffee while hot.

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