Friday, March 10, 2017

Grain-free, Sugar-free Turtle Cheesecake in the Instant Pot

This is not a food blog and I don't normally post recipes here.  I also realize I haven't written in a really long time - that's another story for another day 😀.   Several people have asked for this recipe and this was the easiest way for me to share it, so here it is!

Instant Pot Turtle Cheesecake (Grain Free, Sugar Free)
This recipe was made in a 6 inch diameter, 3 inch deep, push-bottom cheesecake pan (this is the exact one I have).

If you plan to make this in a standard pie pan or tart pan, you’ll need to double the crust portion of the recipe.  The filling may or may not completely fit in a standard depth pie or tart pan.

I made this in a pressure cooker; I have no idea how long to bake this in the oven. From what I've read about baking cheesecakes, it's best to cook them in a water bath, low and slow (low temperature for a long time).

¾ Cup Fine Ground Almond Flour (I used Wellbee's)
3 T good quality cocoa powder (I like Rapunzel)
2 rounded Tablespoons Swerve Confectioners sweetener
2-3 T melted butter (2 is enough to bind the crust ingredients, but 3 makes it more fudgey)

20 oz regular cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup regular sour cream, room temperature
½ cup sugar or other granulated sweetener (I used a combo of Swerve, Xylitol, & Stevia)
½ tsp pure Vanilla extract (I beg you - do not use imitation!)
2 eggs, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
about ¼ cup caramel sauce (recipe link and tips follows)

Caramel Sauce * (All Day I Dream About Food - Best Low Carb Caramel Sauce)

optional fillings and toppings:
Lily's brand dark chocolate chips
toasted pecans
additional caramel sauce

* I discovered this caramel sauce on her site a year (maybe 2) ago and have made it MANY times. It has always worked for me and therefore I couldn’t bear to try something else in my Turtle Cheesecake recipe! I use equal parts of Coconut Sugar and Unsulphured Molasses in mine, but in most recipes, I do not add the extra salt to make it a true “salted caramel.” If you are following a Keto diet, the Coconut Sugar and Molasses are NOT Keto ingredients; HOWEVER, since the caramel sauce makes about 1 ¼ Cups and there is only 1 Tablespoon of each of those ingredients, I see no harm in it.  The carbs are still quite low, and a serving of the sauce is 2 Tablespoons, but 1 T. is really enough to drizzle over your cheesecake slice.  So unless you plan to DRINK the sauce, I don’t believe this recipe is something that would stall weight loss or throw you out of Ketosis.*

1.) In a small mixing bowl, combine all DRY crust ingredients.  Whisk or toss with a fork to combine and break up any lumps, before adding melted butter.  Add butter and mix well until butter is uniformly distributed.  I recommend a light spritz of a coconut oil spray or otherwise greasing your cheesecake pan, so the crust releases without issue. Press crust into prepared pan, going partially up sides for a thinner crust , or keeping all in the bottom for a slightly thicker crust.   

Technically, you do not have to prebake this crust, but I like to.  Put it in the oven at 350° for about 10 minutes (if you’re doing a full size pie/tart, you may need longer).  In my opinion, this makes the crust sturdier to better support the filling.  It also keeps it from getting soggy during the cooking process.

2.) While the crust bakes, start your caramel sauce. When finished, set aside to cool.

3.) In a large mixing bowl or a food processor, cream together cream cheese, sour cream, sweetener, and vanilla, until smooth.  If you start with cream cheese that is not room temperature, your cheesecake will be lumpy!

4.) Once you have a very smooth texture, add your eggs and egg yolk ONE AT A TIME. Pulse or mix briefly after each addition; you do not want to over mix the eggs.  In fact, you may still see some yellow around the edges of the bowl after the final yolk addition, and that’s okay.

5.) Pour HALF of your filling into your pan and smooth out surface.  Pour or scoop up to ¼ Cup of the caramel sauce randomly over the cheesecake surface.  {You want to be using room temperature caramel sauce here, not too warm, but definitely not too cooled.) Using a long toothpick, cake tester, or butter knife, swirl the caramel sauce into the cheesecake batter.
I also sprinkled one serving of Lily’s (Stevia sweetened) Chocolate Chips over the surface of the batter.  Add the remaining cheesecake batter to the pan, smoothing the surface (in the Fat Daddio pan I used, there was still 1/2 to 3/4 inch clearance of the pan over the top of the filling).  Tap the pan gently on the counter or stovetop to help release any air bubbles in the filling.

Instant Pot, IP-DUO, 6 Quart

**If using a pressure cooker (I have an Instant Pot IP–DUO, 6 quart electric pressure cooker), survey your set-up.  You’ll need a trivet to hold your cheesecake pan up from the bottom of your cooking liner.  You may also need to make a foil “sling” to go under your cheesecake pan during cooking which makes the removal of the finished cheesecake easier.  (A foil sling is just a long piece of aluminum foil, folded lengthwise into thirds or fourths to reinforce it and make it more like a strap. It should go underneath your cheesecake pan and come up high enough on each side that you can easily grasp it and lift the entire cheesecake out after cooking.)

The trivet that came with my Instant Pot has long handles, and my cheesecake pan has enough space on each side that I can just remove it with the trivet.  Just be careful doing this, as the trivet can also get hot during cooking.  Usually after a natural pressure release, it has cooled enough for me to touch it.  Otherwise, use an oven mitt or other protection for your hands. 

You will also want to cover your cheesecake pan snuggly with aluminum foil; this is to keep water from accumulating on the surface of the cheesecake. **

this is my trivet and cheesecake pan inside my instant pot

a little difficult to see in the picture, but the handle to my trivet comes up over the top of the pan by almost an inch, making it easy to lift both the trivet and the cheesecake pan out of the instant pot at the end of the cook cycle.

6.) Put your trivet and/or foil sling, and cheesecake pan into the pressure cooker and secure the lid in place, turning the pressure valve to “seal.” Use the manual feature to cook the cheesecake at high pressure for 50 minutes. Allow a natural pressure release for at least 20 minutes or until the pin drops indicating the pot is depressurized.   

7.) Open the pot and check the cheesecake; you will likely need to lift it completely out and onto another flat surface to do this.  If there is water on the surface of the cheesecake, tilt the pan and use a papertowel to soak it up.   
The cheesecake should not still be wet.  If it is, you will need to return it to the Instant Pot for additional cooking.  I recommend 3-5 minute increments to make sure you don’t overcook it; allowing for a natural pressure release each time.  For me the NPR was only 10 minutes or less after these small additional cooking times.
If the cheesecake jiggles a little in the center (no more than a 1 inch diameter), it is done and will finish setting during the cooling and chilling process.  

8.) Allow to cool on a wire rack for at least an hour before refrigerating.  I recommend refrigerating overnight; 4 hours is a bare minimum.  You can remove the cheesecake from the push pan after the first hour in the fridge,  or wait until you’re ready to transfer it to a cake plate or platter. I find it helpful to loosen the sides and crust with a butter knife before pushing up on the bottom of the pan.

9.) When you are ready to serve the cheesecake, warm additional Caramel Sauce and/or Lily's Chocolate Chips (for 2 servings of chips I use 1/2 tsp butter  - not margarine - and 1/2 tsp coconut oil.  Heat slowly and stir every 15-20 seconds, especially if using a microwave).  Drizzle caramel and melted chocolate over cheesecake. 

10.) Garnish with toasted pecan halves or pieces.  Because the pan I used is so tall, the cheesecake is also tall.  It was easily divided into 8 tall slices and no one complained about them being too small. In fact, a couple of people couldn't finish their slice 😊

I hope you enjoy this recipe! I have loved using my Instant Pot since I got it for Christmas.  Although this was the first time I made a cheesecake with this flavor combination, I have made several cheesecakes now and can't see ever going back to baking them in the oven.  In my honest opinion, the pressure cooker gives the best texture - somewhere in between a traditional New York style cheesecake and the super-creamy, no-bake varieties I grew up with.

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