May 25, 2011

Vegan New York Style Cheesecake

Disclaimer:  This WILL make you fat.  I think you might ingest some calories just by breathing the air around it.  Of course, it isn't as bad as the non-vegan version, that has six eggs, heavy cream, and full-fat sour cream added, but nevertheless... it's very good and very fatty.  AND... you won't miss any of those other ingredients- I promise!

New York style cheesecake is known to be very dense and very rich- the Donald Trump of cheesecakes, if you will.  My buddy Mark celebrated his birthday today, and had no problem requesting this utterly shameless display of decadence.  I was very glad this version passed his specifications with flying colors!


10 oz. package of vegan vanilla snaps 
1/2 C. roasted plain almonds
1/4 C. organic brown sugar
1/2 C. melted Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (one stick)

32 oz. Tofutti cream cheese (four 8oz. tubs- yes, four)
12 oz. package of Mori Nu extra firm tofu
1 C. organic sugar
2 T. cornstarch
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 tsp. vanilla extract

1 C. raspberry preserves- the kind that is gel-like and contains pectin (choose a good quality one that you'd eat straight out of the jar!)

~Chocolate Dipped Raspberries~
1 package fresh raspberries
1 C. semisweet chocolate chips
2 tsp. coconut oil


Prepare a 9" springform pan by applying nonstick spray or greasing the surface.  Process the vanilla snaps and almonds to a fine crumb.  I'm sure you can sub in graham crackers, chocolate snaps, etc.  Transfer to a bowl and gradually mix in the melted Earth Balance margarine.  It should stick together when pressed.  Pour out into the springform pan, and press with spoon or fingers up the sides and evenly into the bottom of the pan.  Place in fridge to chill.

Process the tofu until smooth and set aside.  Cream the Tofutti and sugar until smooth.  Use the lowest speed on your mixer to incorporate the least amount of air bubbles (these will cause more cracking).  Add the tofu and other ingredients, and mix until smooth.  A few small lumps are ok.

Pour mixture into springform pan on top of crust.  Spread with a pastry knife to even it out.  Place pan on top of jelly roll pan or similar, and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, then 40-60 minutes at 250 degrees F, or until the center is set but still a little jiggly. To avoid cracks, make sure you don't over-bake, and you might want to add a water bath (a little water in the jelly roll pan, with the springform wrapped in foil on the bottom to avoid seepage).  NOTE:  you will probably have some melted margarine leak from the bottom, and that's ok.  OTHER NOTE:  If you do end up with some cracking- as I did, not to worry. That's what the topping is for!

To make the topping, just warm the preserves until melted.  While it's still liquid, pour on top and spread to make even.  Chill in fridge to set.

Chocolate Dipped Raspberries
To make the dipped raspberries, melt the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a double boiler (indirect heat).  The coconut oil will give a softer, creamier texture- straight chocolate can sometimes be a bit hard, especially when chilled.  Dip the raspberry bottoms and place on parchment paper to cool.  Arrange on top of cake as desired.  I had quite a bit of chocolate left over, so I made chocolate dipped almonds to arrange around the base- a nice little touch!

May 8, 2011

Vegan Cheesecake Panna Cotta and Fruit Roses

This is in honor of our mothers.  Both my mother and mother-in-law have passed, but they will always be a part of who we are.  Our sensibilities, our tastes, and our quirks, have all been influenced to some degree by Mom.  Wherever they are currently, they are appreciating this post, because it includes some of their favorite things.  Roses for one.  Fruit another.  A light, yet creamy dessert that's not too sweet... I can see them smiling now!

Cheesecake Panna Cotta:

1 pkg. Mori Nu Extra Firm Silken Tofu (12 oz.)
1 pkg. Tofutti Cream Cheese (8oz.)
1/2 C. agave nectar
1 T. vanilla extract
1 C. soymilk (or other non-dairy milk)
1 1/2 tsp. agar powder

Put soymilk in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer.  Sprinkle agar powder in and whisk until dissolved.  In a high powered blender (I used my Vitamix), put in all the ingredients, including agar-soymilk mixutre, and blend until frothy and smooth.  Transfer to martini or margarita glasses (or whatever vessels you prefer).

Now comes the fun part!

Cut off the top of a small strawberry to use as your center.  Cut off tops of larger strawberries, then slice into thin rounds.  Cut the rounds in half so they look like semi-circles.  Then start arranging them in the still-warm panna cotta.  Stand them up around the center as shown above.

Next, add more "petals," arranging them so they resemble the way real rose petals grow outward (about three petals per layer).

Make your rose as large as you like.  The last outer layer can lay flat- just tuck them in around the base.

Both moms loved mangos, so I had to make a mango rose too.  The mangos are slippery, but stick together easily.

Creamy, light as air, fruity, and delicious!

To Moms Everywhere!  ...with Love!