Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Vegan Gluten-free Dairy-free Cheesecake

Goodbyes are always difficult. It seems the more I do, the worse I get at doing them. You think there'd be an elegance or grace that one would acquire over the years, a finesse to doing this sort of thing but I've found the opposite to be true.

My manager announced that he's going to be leaving to go live down in AR before the end of the year. Not that he's leaving the company, mind you, just will be working remotely. So, there was a happy hour held to see his wife off (who's moving down before him) at a local brewery. She's dairy-free, which gave me the perfect opportunity to go crazy with my dairy-free recipes I've been stocking up, particularly this "cheese"cake one.

It came out great, and I think it was actually better on subsequent days. I would recommend soaking the cashews overnight if possible. Definitely looking forward to making all the suggested variations when I have need of a faux cheesecake again!

Vegan Gluten-free Dairy-free Cheesecake w Coconut Whipped Cream
from Chickpea Magazine, Summer 2013

2 cups cashews, soaked 2 hours - overnight, well rinsed
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla
14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
2 Tbs coconut oil
1 tsp agar powder

1. Blend cashews with maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt.
2. In a small saucepan, heat coconut milk and oil until just bubbling.
3. Whisk agar powder into coconut mixture for 1 minute.
4. Add coconut mixture to blender, and blend until velvety smooth, scraping down sides of blender as needed.

1 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
10 dates
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch salt

1. Combine all ingredients in food processor and pulse together until finely chopped and starts to clump.
2. Firmly press mixture into bottom and slighly up side walls of 9" a spring-form pan. Set aside.

Blueberry Swirl:
1 cup blueberries
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 Tbs chia seeds

1. Add all ingredients to small saucepan, heat over medium heat until blueberries burst.
2. Use immersion blender to blend until smooth.  Set aside.

Lemon Coconut Whipped Coconut Cream:
1 can full-fat coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
 2 Tbs lemon juice
1 Tbs maple syrup

1. Turn can of coconut milk upside down, open, and pour off coconut water into separate container to safe for another applications.
2. Scoop out coconut cream into a medium bowl. Combine with lemon juice and maple syrup, and whisk together with hand mixer until creamy.

To compile:
1. Pour cashew cheesecake base into prepared crust. Dot blueberry mixture onto th etop of the cheesecake, and use a knife to swirl the blueberries into the cake.
2. Refridgerate for 4 hours until chilled and firm.
3. Serve with dallop of coconut whipped cream and garnish with fresh blueberries.

Possible alterations:
Toasted Hazlenut Chocolate Chip
- Replace walnuts with toasted hazelnuts in the crust. Omit lemon juice and bluebrry swirl from cheesecake base and add 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips. Cool and top cheesecake with chocolate ganache (1 cup chocolate chips, 2 Tbs coconut milk, 1 Tbs coconut oil, melted together in double boiler). Garnish with chopped hazlenuts.

Peanut Butter with Chocolate Drizzle
- Omit lemon juice and blackbery swirl, add 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter to cashew cheesecake base. Drizzle top with chocolate ganache (recipe above). Garnish with chopped peanuts

Raspberry Lemon
- Add zest of 1 lemon to cheesecake base, omit blueberry swirl. Sprinkle 1/2 cup fresh raspberries over bottom of crust before pouring cheesecake base in. Serve with dollop of whipped cream, fresh raspberries, and sprinkle of finely grated lemon zest.

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