Gourmet (November 2009)
Loyal Bitten Word readers are forgiven if they think they've stumbled onto the wrong food blog.
Yes, it's true that we're more likely to serve a Pork Chocolate Cheesecake than a vegan one.
But for some reason we were really drawn to this Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake in the final issue of Gourmet.
It looked simultaneously luscious and light, decadent but not too heavy. In short, it looked like an ideal Thanksgiving dessert.
Before we get to the cake, we've got to come clean about one thing: We bought store-made pie crust.
We know, we know! It's horrible. But after failing to find chocolate graham crackers at two separate supermarkets, we gave in and bought a pre-made chocolate graham cracker crust at Whole Foods. For the record, the pre-made crust was still vegan. And it actually worked out just fine, since we don't have a springform pan.
Plus, we were already feeling uber pious for eating a vegan dessert, so we totally didn't feel guilty about the crust.
Anyway, the preparation of the cheesecake is similar to any other, except the base ingredient is tofu. In fact, most of the entire cake is either tofu or soy cream cheese, with just enough chocolate added for flavor.
How'd it turn out? Delicious! The cake was rich and dense and creamy -- a perfect consistency for a cheesecake. The taste was nice and chocolately, if a little on the subtle side. We gave guests the option of having whipped cream on top, which un-veganed the whole thing, but was certainly a tasty addition.
The only thing we missed was that this vegan version didn't have quite the same tangy sharpness that's the hallmark of a classic cheesecake. It was definitely in the same neighborhood -- just maybe not quite on the same street.
Still, if your looking for a vegan dessert option -- or even just a tasty dessert -- you should absolutely add this cheesecake to your menu!
Vegan Chocolate Cheesecake
Gourmet (November 2009)
yield: Makes 12 servings
active time: 35 min
total time: 10 hr (includes chilling)
INGREDIENTSFor graham cracker crust:
- 1 1/4 cups chocolate or regular graham cracker crumbs (from nine 5-by 2 1/2-inch graham crackers)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, melted and cooled, plus additional for greasing pan
For chocolate tofu filling:
- 2 1/4 cups sugar, divided
- 1/3 cup water
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (no more than 60% cacao), chopped
- 2 (1-pound packages silken tofu, drained
- 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
- 2 (8-ounces) containers soy cream cheese at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Rounded 1/4 teaspoon salt
Equipment: a 9-inch springform pan
Make graham cracker crust:
Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in middle and lower third and put a baking sheet on lower rack. Flip bottom of springform pan so lip is facing down, then lock in place. Grease bottom and side of pan.
Stir together all crust ingredients, then press onto bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. Bake until set, 10 to 12 minutes, then cool completely, about 45 minutes.
Make chocolate tofu filling:
Heat 1 cup sugar in a 1 1/2-to 2-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling pan occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber. Remove from heat and carefully stir in water (mixture will bubble up and steam and caramel will harden), then cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until caramel has dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in chopped chocolate until smooth. Cool fudge sauce slightly.
Purée tofu and cocoa in a food processor until smooth.
Beat soy cream cheese and remaining 1 1/4 cups sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until fluffy. At low speed, beat in tofu purée, vanilla, salt, and fudge sauce until incorporated.
Pour filling into crust and bake on middle rack until top of cake is shiny but center is still slightly wobbly when pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour. Turn oven off and leave cake in oven 1 hour more.
Run a knife around top edge of cake to loosen, then cool completely in pan on rack (cake will continue to set as it cools). Chill cake, loosely covered, at least 6 hours. Remove side of pan and transfer cake to a plate. Bring to room temperature before serving if desired.
Cooks's note: Cheesecake can be made 3 days ahead and chilled.