Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

 

You’ve probably guessed that I’m a real sucker for desserts. However, moving to the US has really put a dampener on things – it drives me insane. Some days I just want to buy a dessert, without having to worry about my ill effects afterwards. If I’m lucky, I get bloated and diarrhea, if I’m unlucky I get a hives or mild anaphylaxis.

Amongst other things, we’re both allergic to American dairy, even if it’s organic. The last time we were in Europe, we devoured so much dairy, it was unbelievable. However, we had no ill-effects. This is why I only use imported European butter, cheese, yoghurt and organic milk substitutes.

This has led me to look for dairy-free options. It’s somewhat whimsical looking back 10 years ago – I’d never have thought I’d be specifically targeting vegan or dairy-free products. Then again, I scoffed at the idea of doing yoga when my general practitioner (primary care physician) suggested it!

Occasionally when I do buy a dessert, I opt for the vegan chocolate cheesecake from PCC. This vegan cheesecake is absolutely awesome. Although it doesn’t compare to a “real” cheesecake, it IS rich, smooth and chocolaty. However, some of the ingredients of this cheesecake still make my mind boggle. 

I made a hybrid vegan cheesecake by using two different recipes. The end result wasn’t bad, but it was not as nearly as tasty as the PCC version. The crust made from nuts, oats, oil, agave, vanilla and salt was quite scrummy. However, Gourmet magazine let me down – the filing was somewhat chocolaty, but looked far richer than it actually tasted. It tasted more like a vaguely chocolaty, tofu-ey/beany flavored flan.

 

VEGAN CHOCOLATE CHEESECAKE

6-8 portions

Crust adapted from Smarter Fitter – Vegan Oat Nut Pie Crust

Filling adapted from Gourmet magazine, November 2009 edition – Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake

 

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 80 g (½ c) whole almonds, roasted until fragrant, once cool, grind in a food processor
  • 55 g walnuts (½ c) walnuts, roasted until fragrant, once cool, grind in a food processor
  • 100 g (1 c) oats, ground to a coarse oatmeal in a food processor
  • 75 g (½ c) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 T oil
  • 3 T agave nectar or honey
  • 1 T vanilla

For the Filling

  • 250 g (1 ¼ c) sugar
  • 45 ml (3 T) water
  • 100 g  (4 oz) dark (bitter sweet) chocolate
  • 400 g (14 oz) silken tofu, drained
  • 2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 225 g (8 oz) soy cream cheese, room temp
  • ½ t vanilla extract
  • Small pinch of salt 

 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

2. To make the crust – mix everything together and press into a well oiled 22 ½ cm (9 inch) tart or quiche dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside and allow to cool.

3. To make the filling – heat half of the sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring continuously wth a fork until it starts to melt. Stop stirring and cook by swirling the pan occasionally so that the sugar melts evenly until it reaches a dark amber color. Remove from the heat.

4. Add the water, it will harden. Heat on a medium-low heat setting until the caramel dissolves. Remove from the heat and whisk in the chopped chocolate until smooth. Allow this fudge sauce to cool to room temperature.

5. Meanwhile, puree the tofu and cocoa in a food processor until smooth.

6. In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat the soy cream cheese and remaining sugar together at medium-high speed until fluffy. Then using a low speed, beat in the tofu puree, vanilla, salt and fudge sauce until well incorporated.

7. Pour the filling into the crust and bake on the middle rack until the top of the cake is shiny, but the center is slightly wobbly when shaken, around 1 hour.

8. Turn off the oven and leave the cake in for an additional hour.

9. Cover the cake loosely with cling-film (plastic wrap) and chill for at least 6 hours. Before serving, allow the cake to reach room temperature. Enjoy!

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