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Margarita Cheesecake

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh

When we were in Mexico in January a few years ago,  I tried a Margarita cheesecake for dessert.  Unfortunately tasteless but I have a recipe for a Margarita ice cream cake that is unbelievable.  The recipe came from a student from her mother in May of 1998 with the comment ‘this is your kind of dessert, Oonagh! Two liquors!  So I took my refrigerated unbaked cheesecake recipe and made it into a Margarita cheesecake.  From this same basic recipe I have made chocolate peanut butter, white chocolate raspberry, white chocolate hazelnut, dark chocolate kahlua as well as ordinary cheesecake with fruit topping.  Unbaked is so simple and the cheesecake sets like a mousse.

Update: WMUR appearance 24 April, 2017.  I put just the cheesecake mousse in a martini glass with fresh mango on top and preferred it. Put just the cheesecake mousse into a decorative shallow bowl, top with fresh mango, strawberries, pineapple and/or other fruits. I also found that gf pretzels I used weren’t as salty as original wheat pretzels and went soft very quickly. And no crust is quicker to make, less calories.



  • ½ sleeve of gluten-free graham crackers crushed mixed with
  • same quantity of gluten-free salted pretzels (quantities for 100% pretzel crust at end)
  • ½ stick butter melted


  • 1lb softened cream cheese – lite is fine but the cheesecake is softer (I prefer it) than 100% cream cheese.
  • 1/2 c + 2 tbsp powdered sugar – start with 1/2 c sugar and add more sugar after you add liquids.
  • ¼ c and 1 tbsp frozen lemonade concentrate thawed (5 tbsp in total) – I used store brand.
  • ¼ c tequila – I have been told by CD owner of Mexican restaurant that not all tequilas are gf.
  • Juice of one lime
  • Zest of half to three quarters of fresh lime.
  • 2 tbsp Triple sec or Curacao – orange liqueur.  Grand Marnier will be more expensive and stronger tasting.
  • 1 c heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 tsp Knox gelatin sprinkled on 2 tbsp cold water, stirred in and left for 2 minutes.  Gelatin swells to look like rubber.
  • Additional whipped cream, lime zest and gluten-free pretzels to decorate.


1. Preheat oven to 350*. Mix together crushed grahams, pretzels and butter.  Turn into greased 9-10” spring form pan (10” pie plate works as well) and press into bottom of pan.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes, remove from oven and leave to cool, or place in freezer.

2. Beat together cream cheese and sugar until soft and creamy.  Do not start with cream cheese hard from the fridge or the cream cheese will remain as little lumps throughout cheesecake.

3. Beat in lemonade, lime rind, lime juice, tequila, and triple sec. Taste at this stage and decide how you like the combinations.

4. Gently heat gelatin/water mix in microwave for about 20 seconds (probably less with higher powered m/w now) until you can see the gelatin is dissolved and it forms a pale gold see through liquid with no grains visible.  It is important to totally dissolve the gelatin otherwise it will set into little chewy lumps. Set aside, while you whip cream, to allow to cool slightly otherwise it will set as it hits cold cream cheese.

5. Whip one cup of cream until stiff.

6. Slowly pour liquid gelatin into cream cheese mix while constantly whisking.  Beat in well scraping down the sides.

7. Add whipped cream and gently whisk it into cream cheese mix.  Most recipes tell you to fold in cream, I find that gently whisking cream in works just as well.  Taste mix and decide if you want that extra tablespoon of sugar or more lime, alcohol etc.  Gently whisk in extras.

8. Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Or freeze for shorter time, or put on the deck in snowy winter for faster setting.

9. When set, run a thin plastic spatula around side of pan, release sides of spring form pan and place on serving plate.  Decorate with more whipped cream, sprinkle with lime zest and some mini pretzels.


Notes:  Quantities for friends Cinco de Mayo party. It was too strong for me but student who increased the alcohol loved it this strong.

1lb cream cheese, ½ c powdered sugar, ½ c frozen limeade concentrate thawed and stirred, 6 tbsp Tequila, juice and rind of a lime, ¼ c Triple Sec, 2 tbsp Grand Marnier, complete sachet/envelope of gelatin sprinkled on 2 tbsp water, 1 cup heavy or whipping cream. Make as written above.  Finish/pipe with ¾ cup cream whipped with 2 tbsp powdered sugar and 1 tsp vanilla.  Lime zest and pretzels as garnish.

April 2017 –  I tried using 1/3 c lemonade concentrate, 1/3 c Titos corn vodka and 1/4 c orange liqueur and it was still too strong for us.  But if you are used to strong Margaritas, go for it.

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