Thursday, January 27, 2011

Strawberry Cheesecake

There's no reason not to have cheesecake, just because you're vegan.  Aside from a little advance prep work to make vegan cottage cheese, this dessert comes together in a flash.

  • 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs*
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 cups prepared vegan cottage cheese**
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups Tofutti cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup vegan sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 Ener-G eggs
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon water
1. Press the graham cracker crumbs into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray, to form the crust; set aside.

2. Place the prepared cottage cheese in a blender and process until smooth.  Lightly spoon the flour into a dry measuring cup and level with a knife.  Combine the flour, cream cheese, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat until smooth.  Add the blended cottage cheese and the vanilla extract; beat until blended.  Add the Ener-G eggs and beat until blended.  Pour the mixture over the graham cracker crumbs in the prepared pan.

3. Combine the strawberries and water in a food processor or blender; process until smooth.  Pour the strawberry mixture on top of the cheesecake batter, and swirl into the batter using the tip of a knife.

4. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 250 degrees (do not remove the cake from the oven) and continue to bake for an additional 45 minutes.

5. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and run a knife around the outside edge of the pan.  Let cool to room temperature, then cover and chill for at least 8 hours before slicing into wedges.

*It can be hard to find vegan graham crackers, since almost all brands contain honey.  One sure bet is the amaranth graham crackers from Health Valley.  If you can't find them at a store near you, they are available for order online at  The easiest method to crush graham crackers is to place them in a zip-top plastic bag and roll over them with a rolling pin.

** To make the 2 cups vegan cottage cheese needed for this recipe, combine the following in a bowl: 1 (14-ounce) package lite firm tofu, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a few drops of vanilla extract, and a pinch of stevia.  Mash together with a fork until the mixture looks like cottage cheese, then cover and chill for at least 4 to 5 hours before making the rest of the recipe, so the flavors have time to meld. 

Nutrition Info:
10 servings (1 wedge), Calories 201 

Tasting Notes:
I was thrilled with the texture, creaminess, and taste of my cheesecake interior.  It set wonderfully during cooking, and was eye-roll good on the tongue.  I would, however, have preferred more strawberry flavor, especially since 'strawberry' is in the title of the recipe, so I recommend either doubling the amount of strawberry that gets swirled on top, or simply adding it into the batter itself for a pink version.  The graham cracker crumbs also were a bit dried out, in the crust, and I might pulse the crumbs with Earth Balance butter next time before patting into the pan.  I adapted this from a "light" recipe, so the flavor was perhaps a bit on the bland side; increase the amount of sugar if you'd like a sweeter final product.  Again, however, my vegan pride in how well the interior of this cheesecake set is not reflected in the overall taste rating below.  


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