Just Peachy

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I’m beginning to think that if I could only have one dairy product for the rest of my life, it would have to be cream cheese.  

My earliest memory of cream cheese is stuck on a bit of a soft, salty pretzel that my mom shared with us at the mall. I must have been four or five.  Since then it’s made its way into my heart through my dad’s annual birthday New York cheesecake (speckled with sprinkles and lit with candles) and slathered over bagels, baked into luscious danish fillings and whipped into dips and spreads of various flavors. It’s so versatile and complementary, I find myself often with four or five packages of the stuff in my refrigerator after a great sale. One is earmarked for spinach artichoke dip; one is set aside for a creamy layer laced with garlic and either hidden under the tomato sauce on homemade pizza or slathered on the pizza crust with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. The others are then left for my culinary imagination.

After I made the mistake of posting a picture of summer fruit pie on a Wheatless Wednesday two weeks ago, I promised a friend I’d make a gluten-free peach cheesecake recipe for him. Enter those remaining packages of cream cheese…

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Peach Cheesecake with Gluten-free Crust

  • 4 cups Honey Nut Chex, crushed (makes about 2 cups crumbs)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese (reduced fat is okay)
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4-5 medium peaches (or nectarines), peeled and chopped into 1/2″ pieces 
  • 2 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 6 oz. fresh raspberries, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix crushed Chex and butter and press into bottom of 9″ springform pan or press about 2 Tbsp. into 24 paper-lined muffin cups (regular size). Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup sugar, peaches, and cornstarch in medium bowl. Set aside.
  4. Beat cream cheese, sour cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until well combined. Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, and mix well. (It may appear runny; don’t be alarmed.) Add peach mixture and combine.
  5. Pour cream cheese mixture into baked crust. (The muffin cups can be filled almost to the top.)
  6. For large cheesecake: bake in oven until center appears almost set and dry, about 40 minutes (keep checking). For individual cheesecakes: bake about 20 minutes, until set and edges are just starting to brown.
  7. Top with raspberries as desired. If using springform pan, run knife between the pan and crust to loosen. If using muffin tins, carefully twist cheesecakes to loosen. Cool completely on wire rack and refrigerate until serving time.

My six-year-old insisted on taking a picture of the crust. 🙂

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