Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake

I'm embarking on a refined-sugar-free journey until June but I couldn't resist sharing this amazing recipe for vegan cheesecake. I was hesitant about the texture and flavor since most vegan cheesecakes I've had fail in one or both areas. However, this recipe is very mousse-like and deliciously rich.
The only downside is the cost. The imitation cream cheese costs about $7 for two tubs at my local health food store. When I originally made it, raspberries were out of season and cost $3.50 for a small container. Be creative and try out other fruits and jellies!

Adapted from a recipe in Party Vegan: Fabulous, Fun Food For Every Occasion by Robin Robertson of Vegan Planet.

Servings: 8-10
Total time: 3 1/2 hours, including 2 hours to chill

1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (I use dense molasses cookies for extra stickiness)
3 tablespoons vegan margarine
16 oz vegan cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips
1/3 cup fruit-juice-sweetened raspberry jam (I use Polaner's which also has added fiber)
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted (Put them in a pan over medium heat for a few minutes until they smell toasty)
Fresh raspberries

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grind up the chocolate cookies in a food processor or mortar and pestle. Melt the margarine in the microwave on 40% power for about 20 seconds. Spray the bottom of a 7-inch springform pan with cooking spray.

Pour the cookie crumbs into the springform pan and mix in the margarine with a fork until it sticks together enough to create a solid base when pressed into bottom of the pan. You may need to add more cookie crumbs and margarine as necessary.

Put the cream cheese, sugar, non-dairy milk, and vanilla into a food processor and blend until smooth. 
Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave on 50% power in 20-30 second intervals. It is very important not to burn them! Add the melted chocolate to the mixture in the food processor and blend again. Pour the batter into the prepared crust and spread evenly. Bake until firm, about 40 minutes.

Turn off the oven but let the cake remain in the oven for 10 more minutes to finish setting up. Cool on a raised platform before moving to the refrigerator to chill completely, about 2 hours.

When ready to serve, place the raspberry jam in a small bowl and stir briskly until smooth and thin. Remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and place on a serving dish. Spread the jam thinly over the top of the cheesecake. Sprinkle the slivered almonds in a ring around the outside edge or press against the sides. Garnish with fresh raspberries in the center.


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