Once upon a time, hosting a dinner party meant I’d scour Southern Living for the most decadent recipe and set about making something from scratch. Now, I’m often so strapped for time I can barely change out of leggings before guests arrive.
But when I was hosting a dinner party for my family, including my adorable but old-school 85-year-old grandmother, and a six-person girls' night in one week, I felt like I should step it up. The issue? Myself, along with a couple of the women in my group, have dietary restrictions. Some of us can’t handle gluten, others have issues with dairy (poor souls). And while there are many desserts available for purchase in Los Angeles that are gluten-free and dairy-free, many of them taste like cardboard. A fan of dairy-free brand Daiya’s cheeses, I opted to give their New York Cheezecake a try.
My family rolled in (early as always) on Tuesday night carrying no less than five platters of baked goods to fatten up my husband with. My gluten-intolerant self could enjoy almost none of it, so after dinner I busted out one of the imitation cheesecakes I’d purchased and slid it onto a cake platter. My grandmother and aunt were bemoaning how the gluten-free kifla (basically Serbian crescent rolls with jam inside) had turned out and I suggested they try the cheesecake. To my surprise, they loved it. I never thought it’d see the day my babushkaed grandma would eat something gluten-free and vegan, but she did.
Next up was Friday girls’ night, comprised partially of women with dietary restrictions and partially of friends who laugh at the woo-woo treats I keep in my kitchen (to my face, of course). After making our way through several bottles of wine, my friend Katie asked for a slice and slowly but surely the rest of the gals dug in after us. Relationship to fake cheeses aside, each one of them loved it and we finished the entire thing.
But I’ve left out the best part: The decadent cheesecake is less than $7 at the grocery store and takes zero prep time other than taking it out of the freezer and letting it thaw for around 15 minutes. It’s small but rich enough that it’s more than sufficient to feed six to eight people. And, in addition to being gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, it also is GMO-free.
Hey, if you present it on a cake tray with some berries no one will even know it’s from a box. They might even think it has—gasp—gluten!