Monday, April 4, 2011
Vegan Marionberry and Chocolate Cheezcake
Vegan cheezcakes are so decadent that it's hard to tell you aren't having the real thing. They are very creamy, smooth (if one has the right type of blender), and all of my non-vegan friends love them. My brother has even requested them in place of a traditional birthday cake. One slice is usually a full meal. Cheezcakes are packed full of nuts, other fats, and a lot of sweetener, so I try to enjoy a slice as a rare treat. When I first started a vegan diet, I indulged much more frequently, but I've noticed that my body absorbs fat more readily now. It probably has something to do with adjusting to the diet because I've heard of several other people who started out on a "gourmet" raw vegan diet that was high in fat and had to dial way back over time after they adjusted.
Vegan cheezcakes are best made the day before you intend to serve them. They need time to firm up (although the "pudding" is also delicious). I don't like to call them raw because many of the nuts we have access to in the bulk section of grocery stores are pasteurized before making it to the store. The recipe is very close to those available in Sweet Gratitude, an uncookbook by Cafe Gratitude.
Marionberry Chocolate Cheezcake
1 1/3 c. almonds or hazelnuts
5 ounces date paste
2 ounces cacao powder
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3 cups soaked cashews
2 cups macadamia or cashew milk (Living Harvest Vanilla Hemp Milk may work)
3/4 c agave syrup
juice from 1 lemon
1 vanilla bean scraped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 TB sunflower lecithin
1/2 c cacao butter
1/4 c coconut oil
14 oz frozen Marionberries
2 oz cacao powder
Put the cashews in a bowl to soak. Pit around 15 dates and soak them in water for 20 minutes. Butter the sides of a spring-form pan with coconut oil. After the dates are done soaking, put them in a food processor with an S-blade until the dates stick together in a ball. Split the dates in half and add the nuts, salt and vanilla. After the nuts have broken down, add the rest of the dates and process until the mixture is crumbly, but will hold together if pressed.
Press the crust into the bottom of a spring-form pan. Add 6 oz of marionberries on top of the crust.
Put the coconut oil and cacao butter in a pan on the lowest heat to melt (as soon as it's melted, remove from the heat). Add the cashews, lemon juice, nut milk, agave, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla to a high speed blender. If you have a normal blender, you will need to soak the cashews for a couple hours, split the recipe for the filling in two, and process one batch at a time. Put the filling in a large bowl and use a hand mixer to combine sunflower lecithin and oils into the filling.
Put 2 cups of filling back in the blender with 8 oz of marionberries and mix until very smooth If you have a normal blender, you may want to have thawed berries and cook for a short time to soften, then strain out the seeds. Use the hand mixer to mix the remaining plain batter with the cacao powder. Pour the chocolate batter over the marionberries and smooth out the surface.
Add the marionberry filling over the top of the chocolate filling and smooth out the surface.
Add marionberries as a garnish if you would like.
Put the cheezcake in the freezer for 2 hours and then move to the fridge. Serve after the mixture has been able to set for a minimum of 8 hours.
In other news, Annie continues her vegan leaning tendencies. My husband came to pick me up from acupuncture and said, "Well, Annie sure is your dog! We were eating at a restaurant and she was a very good girl until someone came in with a big leather purse. She barked at it! Even when I calmed her down she was still growling at the purse from time to time." I won't encourage her behavior because I want her to be a reliable citizen, but deep down I think it's just a little bit awesome.