Saturday, May 18, 2013

Recipe for today: VEGAN style peanut butter cheesecake

Pulling two recipes together, first to create the actual VEGAN cheesecake out of cashews, then replacing the lemon with peanut butter (vegan style of course).  Here are the two recipes used to "create" in the kitchen today.


Matcha Swirled Lemon Cashew Cheesecake
vegan/raw, makes one 7-9" "cheesecake"

3 cups cashews, raw (soak/drain before blending)
1/2 cup grade B maple syrup (to make truly "raw" substitute raw agave syrup in place of maple)
1/2 cup melted organic virgin coconut oil (refine or unrefined both work)
3/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice**
pinch of zest (over top)

green swirl:
1/2 cup cashew filling blended with 1/2-1 tsp matcha powder

crust:
3/4 cup raw walnuts
1/2 cup dates (optional)
1 tsp flax seeds (optional)

matcha sprinkle to serve (optional)

**when I first made this cheesecake I used 3/4 cup lemon juice. While I actually love the bright lemon flavor, I think the average person may want it scaled back just a bit. So 2/3 cup is plenty. If you want a more subtle lemon flavor you can even scale down to 1/2 cup or even 1/3 cup and add a pinch of zest to the filling mixture (which provides a more subtle lemon essence) and replace the omitted lemon juice with water.


Directions:

1. Soak your raw cashews. For quick soak, add nuts to a bowl and fill with hot water until covered. Add a pinch of salt and allow to soak for at least 30 minutes. I like to swirl the cashews in the water every few minutes to speed up the loosening process. For long soak: soak in water for 4-6 hours. Quick soak should only be used if you have a high speed blender and use very hot water to soak.

2. While nuts soak, start squeezing your lemons. You can also process your raw walnuts until fine and chunky - for use in the crust. If using dates, process those with the nuts and optional flax seeds. Grease your serving pan with coconut oil and press the walnut mixture into the dish until a loose crust forms. Place this dish in the freezer.

3. Drain you cashews. Rinse. Add cashews to your blender or food processor. Warm/melt your coconut oil and add it to the warm drained nuts in the blender/fp. Start blending from low to high. Add in the maple syrup too. Keep blending until a chunky nut mixture forms. Blend son high until it begins to thin out a bit. Then slowly pour in the lemon juice and watch as the mixture suddenly becomes creamy and white. Keep blending until this mixture is silky smooth. This will take a few minutes and high blending speeds at some point. Use your Vitamix tamper if using a Vitamix.

4. Pull your dish from the freezer and pour our 3/4 of the mixture into the dish. Smooth flat. 

5. Blend 1/2 - 3/4 tsp match green tea powder with the leftover mixture - until smooth and green. Pour this green mixture over top the white filling and swirl. Add lemon zest over top.

6. Chill in the fridge until firm enough to slice. Serve chilled. Eat within 2-3 days. Serve with a lemon wedge and some match green tea sprinkled over top.


Triple Peanut Butter Swirl Vegan Cheesecake
vegan, makes one cheesecake - used a 9" pie dish

16 oz. vegan cream cheese (2 standard tubs)
7 oz. virgin coconut oil
6 oz. liquid sweetener (I used maple syrup .. agave works too)
4 oz. creamy salted or unsalted peanut butter

swirl:
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp coconut oil
2 tsp liquid sweetener

crust:
3/4 cup crushed vegan peanut butter cereal
1 tsp coconut oil to thickly "grease" pie dish

Lighten it up:
 This is a rich dessert! A tiny slice goes a long way. But if you crave a lighter cheesecake, you can reduce the oil to 1/3 - 1/2 cup without compromising the taste at all. The texture will simply be a bit softer and less buttery.

Directions:

1. Add the vegan cream cheese, oil and peanut butter to a small bowl. Microwave until warm, room temperature. You want the oil to be almost melted or melted and the cream cheese and peanut butter to be at least room temperature. This ensures a smooth blend. And cold ingredients will turn the coconut oil back to its hard state and prevent a smooth blend.

2. Add the warmed ingredients plus the sweetener to a blender or fp. Blend until smooth.

3. Grease your pie crust and add a thick slather of coconut oil. Press the crushed cereal into the dish. (I crushed my cereal in my Vitamix) You want a fine powder.

4. Pour the cream cheese mixture over top the crust.

5. Warm the swirl mixture in the microwave until it is at a pourable state. Then drizzle it over top the cheesecake and around the edges however you'd like. Use a blunt knife or toothpick to further swirl the peanut butter into the cheesecake. Do not over swirl or the color will become muddled.

6. Place your dish in the fridge and wait! In about 1-2 hours it should be fully cooled and ready to slice. You can speed up this process by placing it first in the freezer for ten minutes.

7. Serve: I like to allow my cheesecake to warm up a bit before serving (if I use the full fat recipe above). If you used less oil, your cheesecake will probably be on the softer side. But if it is a bit hard, simply warm on the counter for 15-20 minutes and it will soften up nicely.

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