lazybird has gone vegan.
ok, well…we haven’t become vegans (dang you delicious cheese!) but we are equal opportunity and can now confidently bake for vegans.
this challenge started with the offer to try tackling some vegan baked goods for a friend’s recent baby shower. i hit the internets right away and ordered two popular and highly recommended cookbooks: “flying apron’s gluten-free & vegan baking book,” by jennifer katzinger and “the joy of vegan baking,” by colleen patrick-goudreau. i read and read, and was inspired to order more books on veganism, nutrition, organics, factory farms etc, etc…and made a pretty significant life change….i gave up pop (or soda, or coke, or whatever you want to call it) i also feel a lot worse about milk, butter, eggs and meat….but….well…i gave up pop….lets take it one step at a time.
long story short, this challenge…was not so challenging (after i was able to track down egg replacer, that is). if you have a whole foods or sprouts or a specialty market nearby…you’re one step closer to whipping up a “cheese”cake of your own.
4 cups pretzels
1/2 cup melted non-dairy butter (i used earth balance)
3 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
“cheese”cake (adapted from “the joy of vegan baking,” by colleen patrick-goudreau):
6 teaspoons Ener-G Egg Replacer
1/2 cup water
1 cup nondairy semisweet chocolate chips
24 ounces non-dairy cream cheese, room temperature (i used the highly recommended tofutti)
3/4 cup organic sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup soy creamer
12 oz dairy free chocolate chips
preheat your oven to 350º.
for your crust… combine pretzels, melted butter, peanut butter and sugar together in your food processor till finely chopped.
prepare your springform pan….generously butter the bottoms and side of a 9in springform pan. place a piece of parchment paper, cut to fit, on the bottom of the pan and butter paper as well. coat the bottom of the pan with pretzel crumb mixture. coat sides of your pan as well, about an inch up. set aside.
in a medium size bowl whip together the egg replacer and water till you’ve achieved a thick cream mixture. your mixture will have doubled in size and become white and almost frothy. set aside.
in a heat safe bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, melt your chocolate chips. remove from heat and let cool to room temperature – still give it a stir here and there so it won’t harden back up.
in a large bowl, or your stand mixer beat together “egg” mixture, “cream cheese” and sugar (hah, like all the quotations?!) till smooth. pour in melted chocolate and vanilla and mix till thoroughly blended. (note: if your cream cheese mixture is colder than your chocolate, mixing the two might result in a chocolate chip cheesecake instead of a smooth, blended chocolate….i mean….it could be considered a happy accident, but if you disagree…you’ve been warned)
pour mixture into prepared crust/springform pan.
bake at 350º for 50 minutes. at this point your cheesecake should be set along the edges, but jiggle slightly in the middle. once the timer rings, turn your oven off and let your cheesecake stay put for another 50 minutes. do not open up the oven door during this whole process…lest you risk cheesecake cracks…dum dum dummm. remove from oven and transfer to wire rack to let cool to room temperature. at this point, run a knife around the edge of your springform pan to separate the pan from the cake – this also helps ward off cracks. once your cake has cooled, wrap up tightly and store in fridge overnight.
next morning, or at least a couple hours prior to serving the cheesecake, make your ganache. pour chocolate chips into a medium-sized heat safe bowl and set aside. in a small saucepan heat soy creamer over medium heat till bubbles start forming around the edges of the pan. remove from heat and pour over chocolate chips. let sit for five minutes. slowly begin to stir your mixture, being careful not to incorporate too much air. once your chocolate has melted and you have a creamy texture, set aside and let cool till your ganache has thickened enough to pour out and spread over cheesecake – your ganache shouldn’t be runny, you should need to use either gravity (in tilting your cake back and forth) or a knife to spread out over cake.
add a garnish if you like.…i liked raspberries.
return to fridge till ready to serve.
as a non-vegan, i was nervous about the results. ESPECIALLY because, you can’t really take a sneak taste of a cheesecake….unless you go all cliff huxtable and cover up the bite with the ganache….shoot! why didn’t i think of that?!
i was relieved when the guest of honor took a bite and confirmed success…and even happier when all the non-vegans took to it with pleasure as well. the biggest success, however, was later that evening when i tricked a vegan-dessert-DETESTER into eating a slice (didn’t tell him it was vegan) and got a high-five for its deliciousness. after he demolished it and i told him of my trickery, i received another high-five for making the first vegan dessert he had tried and enjoyed.
if you’ve made it this far…i’m assuming you are vegan, or are at least toying with the idea. i promise, if you’re a cheesecake fan, this one is worth trying…and even tricking your friends into eating.