The star of this recipe is the cheesecake batter. Only four ingredients, but it has a bitter-sweet, rich flavor that makes you pause while eating to enjoy it. The texture is also excellent. It is stiff enough to hold bubbles and resemble a creamy cheesecake, but without all that animal fat! If you’re not in the mood to make a crust, pouring this batter into tiny dessert cups with some berries on top wouldn’t go amiss.
Gather your ingredients!
First, set your cashews to boiling while you work on the crust. You’ll want to boil them for at least twenty minutes to soften them for the creamy cheesecake.
Add three tablespoons of ice and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract to ice, and chill it int he fridge until you’re ready to add it to the crust.
Put the dry crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse to blend. 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour, 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder.
Your fats should be chilled in the fridge until cool. Cold fats are key to a flaky pastry.
Add 1/4 cup of chilled crisco and 1/4 cup of chilled vegan butter to the food processor with the dry crust ingredients.
Pulse the fats with the dry ingredients for about ten seconds. You should stop pulsing when the mixture reaches a grainy consistency.
Pour the 3 tablespoons of icewater and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract over the mixture and pulse again, briefly.
Stop pulsing when the mixture starts to stick together like a dough, as pictured here.
Flour a working surface large enough to roll out your dough.
Flour you hands and scoop the dough out of the food processor. Knead a couple of times and shape into a ball.
Cold dough will make a better, flakier batter, so you don’t want to over-work it. The heat of your hands might warm the dough.
Thoroughly flour a rolling pin and flatten the dough into roughly a circle, large enough to cover a 9″ pie dish. You may need to re-apply the flour few times to prevent the rolling pin from sticking to the dough.
With floured hands, drape the uncooked crust over the pie dish and shape it to the dish. Cut off any extra scraps.
Place parchment paper over the crust and pour baking beans over the paper. This step is optional, but it will help spread the heat evenly over the pastry for a better bake.
You’ll bake the pie crust at two different temperatures. First, preheat the oven to 425°F and bake for 10 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 350°F and cook for at least 45 minutes, checking frequently.
It’s difficult to tell when a brown dough is done, because you can’t easily spot a color change by eye. You’ll know it’s done when you can break off a piece like a crispy wafer.
Once the crust is done, cover and chill in the fridge. The cheesecake filling is meant to set in a old environment, so you want to avoid pouring it onto a hot crust.
Microwave one and three quarter cups of dark chocolate baking chips. This is the only sweet ingredient int he cheesecake filling, so don’t choose a completely unsweetened type. I’ve found that semisweet Guittard chocolates give the cake a complex, bitter flavor.
Completely melt the chocolate.
Once the pie crust is cooled, thoroughly blend the half cup of boiled cashews, 12 oz of silken tofu, and half cup of almond milk. There should be no chunks whatsoever.
Note! Don’t do this step before the pie crust is cooled. The filling might start to set in whatever container you leave it in.
Pour the melted chocolate over the blended ingredients. Thoroughly mix until it is all one smooth, creamy mixture. The cheesecake batter is done!
Pour the cheesecake batter into the cold pie crust.
Chill the Cheesecake for at least two hours. It should stiffen into a bouncy confection.
Slice and serve cold. A bit of chocolate sauce on top adds a bit of sweetness that pairs beautifully with this bitter-sweet cake. Enjoy!