Tag Archives: cashew cream

Vegan and Gluten-Free Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote

When I went dairy-free, I thought I’d never enjoy cheesecake again. Oh, sure, there are soy cream cheese substitutes, but I can’t tolerate much soy, and besides, it tastes “off” to me. So when my friend Noelle at An Opera Singer in the Kitchen opened my eyes to the existence of raw vegan cheesecakes, such as the ones offered by Earth Cafe and this recipe, I was amazed. Amazed is such an understatement. I was ecstatic. Soaking raw cashews to make cheesecake? I tested out this theory when completing this Daring Bakers challenge, and was so impressed, I knew I had to go all out and make a cheesecake.

Then life got in the way, and the months passed, and still no cheesecake. I decided that we’d waited long enough, and I went ahead and made plans to make it. I made a crust following a recipe from The Almond Flour Cookbook, as that crust served me well in other pies I’ve made previously. (If you eat gluten-free and don’t already own a copy of this book, I highly encourage you to get one! The recipes are easy to make, require few ingredients, and are delicious.) I did add 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to the crust, just to enhance the flavor. Otherwise, I stuck to the recipe, as there’s no real need to change it.

As for the cheesecake filling, it was a breeze to make. I don’t own a Vitamix (hopefully one day, I will!), but even my inexpensive blender yielded a creamy filling – it just took a bit of time to blend. I would even say that making this cheesecake was easier than a traditional cheesecake, because there was no baking of the actual cheesecake. No worrying that the cake will split. Just blend all of the ingredients, pour into the crust, and into the freezer it goes. And if you don’t constantly go peek at the cheesecake in the freezer, I imagine it’ll set up pretty quickly. Not that I would know anything about that.

I can’t wait to have an excuse to make this again. I might try a date and nut crust and go totally raw, as I’ve seen with other vegan raw cheesecakes, just to see the difference. But this cheesecake definitely was a delicious treat as is. So why wait? Whip this up, and sit back, relax, and close your eyes as you take your first bite. This is a dessert worth savoring.

Vegan, Gluten and Sugar-Free Cheesecake, adapted from The Daily Raw Cafe

Crust: (The Almond Flour Cookbook  Basic Pie crust, plus ¼ t almond extract), baked in a 9-inch springform pan and cooled (Elana also has the recipe posted on her blog here)

Filling:

3 c raw cashews, soaked in water for 1 hour

¾ c agave nectar

Juice of 3 small lemons (about 1/3 cup)

Zest of 1 lemon

½ c coconut cream (cream from top of coconut milk can)

2 t vanilla extract

¼ t almond extract

¼ t sea salt

3 T coconut oil

¼ c water

Drain cashews and place in blender. Add agave nectar, lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut cream, vanilla and almond extracts, salt and coconut oil and blend, scraping down the sides as needed with a spatula, adding water 1 tablespoon at a time, until a thick, smooth, creamy consistency results.

Once crust has been baked and cooled, fill with cheesecake filling. Freeze for several hours or until firm. Cut into slices while frozen, and thaw in fridge for about an hour before serving.

Blueberry Compote

10 oz frozen or fresh blueberries

1 T agave nectar

1 t lime zest

1 T arrowroot starch whisked into 1 T cool water

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a low boil, covered, on medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer, stirring once or twice, until the blueberries have given off their juice and have softened. Add in arrowroot starch slurry and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

(Also makes a tasty topping for ice cream, pancakes, and waffles!)

This post is linked to Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays and A Spunky Holiday.

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Filed under Baked goods, Dairy-Free, Desserts, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Pavlovas with Almond Butter Cream

I’m definitely doing this challenge at the last minute – I decided to start the day it was due. I literally just finished plating one for the photo above! Normally, this wouldn’t be too much of an issue, but this time, I opted to make a dairy-free cream using a technique I’d never tried before. It was indeed an experiment – one I hoped I could pull off!

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

I was excited that the challenge was naturally gluten-free. Hooray – less substitutions! However, the chocolate mascarpone mousse was not dairy-free. It called for cream and mascarpone cheese. Creating a substitute was something I contemplated for quite a few days. I knew that I saw a dairy-free cream cheese at the store, made from tofu. I strongly considered using that and coconut milk as a substitute for the cream, and following the rest of the recipe as written. I even picked up the tofu cream cheese at the store and carried to the checkout line. It was then that I decided I didn’t want it – I am not fond of the flavor of most soymilk products, and I really didn’t want to use tofu cream cheese. I put it back. I would come up with another idea.

A few days later, Noelle of An Opera Singer in the Kitchen turned me on to this raw, vegan, dairy-free cheesecake made from soaked cashews. (Available at Earth Cafe) Noelle insisted that those cheesecakes were amazing, and I was convinced that in the near future, I’d be ordering one to see for myself. Meanwhile, she also shared with me a new blog to check out, The Daily Raw Cafe, where a similar cheesecake recipe could be found. I was inspired.

Instead of making a chocolate mascarpone mousse, I opted for something a touch lighter – almond butter cream and strawberries. I set to make the cream, soaking cashews and blending them, adding coconut milk, almond butter, lemon…and the resulting texture and flavor of this cream was silky and rich. I can only imagine how lovely this would taste in a cheesecake – it was lovely here.

My pavlovas were piped a bit thinner than I’m used to. (The last time I made a pavlova, it was a more traditionally large, fluffy cake-like dessert) However, they were deliciously crisp and chewy, with a lovely chocolate marshmallow-like flavor. Topped with the rich cream and fresh strawberries, this was indeed a lovely summer dessert. I would love to try this again, making a large pavlova next time around. A bit thanks to Dawn for this month’s challenge!

Chocolate Pavlova

3 large egg whites

1/2 c plus 1 T granulated white sugar

1/4 c powdered sugar

1/3 c cocoa powder

Place two racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 200 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment or a Silpat and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Add the white sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, whipping until the whites are stiff but not dry.

Sift the powdered sugar and cocoa powder over the whites, and fold gently in. This will not appear as though it will blend at first, but keep folding and it will come together.

Place into piping bag and pipe into desired shapes on the lined baking sheets. Alternatively, you can spoon out the meringue into circles and spread out evenly with the back of a spoon.

Bake for 2-3 hours (I baked mine for 2), until crisp. Allow to cool. You can store these in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Almond Butter Cream

2 c raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours in water

1/2 c agave nectar

3 T water

1 c coconut milk

1 t vanilla extract

½ t almond extract

6 T almond butter

Zest of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 lemon

Pinch sea salt

 Soak the cashews in water for at least an hour. Drain and add cashews, agave nectar, vanilla and almond extracts, and the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, into a blender. Blend until creamy, and add the coconut milk, almond butter, lemon zest, juice, and salt. Blend until smooth. Place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap and store in freezer for 1 hour or until thick, stirring once or twice during that time.

To assemble pavlovas:

Top each pavlova with 1-2 tablespoons of the almond butter cream. Top with sliced strawberries and serve immediately.

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Filed under Dairy-Free, Desserts, Eggs, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian