Last night, in the depths of slumber, I was dreaming of cheesecake.
Well, cheesecake and a particularly delightful encounter with Nathan Fillion (me-yow!). They are unrelated but equally as pleasureable in different ways.
Because I cannot directly access Mr. Fillion in my daily life, I decided to focus some of my waking hours on how to manage the sudden cheesecake craving that appeared in my sub-conscious. Unfortunately for all of us, cheesecake is not the healthiest of options and it tends to require a lot of work. I have set out to make satisfying cheesecake that doesn’t call for any of the particularly fattening eggs or dairy ingredients and is fairly simple to whip up for yourself or your next dinner party.
What You’ll Need:
11″ Springform pan (or a large pie plate will do in a pinch)
Blender or Food Processor
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 Tbs Earth Balance, melted
3 -12.3-oz packages of silken tofu (firm!)
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup sugar
2 Tbs vanilla extract
2 tsp coconut extract
1 -1/2 pint container fresh raspberries (or 1 scant cup of frozen raspberries)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
What to do:
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees farenheit; combine graham cracker crumbs and melted Earth Balance in food processor.
If you are not fond of, or do not have any graham crackers on-hand, then zap some cereal in your food processor instead. Another variation would be to combine quinoa flakes, oats and shredded coconut in equal measure (or in a ratio of your choosing) to get a healthy cup of crumbs when after they take a spin in the food processor.
Once everything is thoroughly mixed, press the crumbs into the bottom of your lightly greased spring-form pan. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty! Use your (clean!) fingers to press the crust as evenly as possible. You may have some color variation, but that is a result of the earth balance getting a little too thick in some areas. As long as it is mostly even, there shouldn’t be a problem with the final outcome.
Set the pan aside; open and drain your tofu placing the blocks into a large mixing bowl. You may wish to place them directly into a food processor or blender to get the ‘fu as smooth and “cream-cheesy” as possible, but I used a hand blender instead of my processor and finished the job in the mixing bowl. After the tofu is ready, add in the 1/2 cup agave nectar.
Blend until smooth. If using a blender, return puree to the large mixing bowl and add in the sugar, vanilla and coconut. Mix with hand mixer until everything is fully blended.
When finished, pour into pan on top of prepared crust. Set aside. Rinse (fresh) raspberries and hold out a small handful (~10-15 depending on what you have) and put the rest into a small bowl with the lemon juice and extra tsp of sugar. Using a fork or appropriate utensil of your choosing, mash raspberries into a thick sauce.
Spoon raspberry mixture on top of tofu “cream cheese” mixture in a fun design. Then, with a butter knife, swirl the raspberry mixture in so that it mixes thoroughly through the cake.
Garnish with extra berries as desired.
Bake for ~45 minutes or until brown on the edges and golden in the middle. It will have a gelatinous consistency even when fully baked. Use your best judgment. I was worried about it being underdone, so I left mine in a little too long and the edges got a little too brown. When you remove it from the oven, allow it to cool for a few minutes on the stove top, then transfer to the refrigerator and allow it to chill for a few hours until cooled throughout. Remove spring-form, cut and serve.
It may well crack during the cooling process, but this is pretty normal. My mom has always said that a crack is the sign of a “perfectly done” cheesecake.
The tartness of the raspberries balances the creaminess of the batter, and if you can withstand heating up the kitchen on a hot day, this is definitely worth it!
If raspberries aren’t your thing I can definitely see substituting with blueberries, blackberries or strawberries. It would probably be very good plain as well with fresh fruit on the side.
I am glad that I had this nocturnal vision! It turned out quite well–and if I can fabricate anything out of my dreams, my fiance much prefers it be this than a celebrity hottie….