It’s really hot in Sydney at the moment. Really, really hot. So a frozen treat is always welcome. I know I’ve mentioned this recipe for seven-ingredient vegan cheesecakes (from Minimalist Baker) before, but it is one of my favourites. Last time I mentioned it, my big realisation was that I could substitute almond pulp for the nuts in the base, which works really well. Today I mention it simply to say that you should also add a big handful of frozen berries in the topping. These berry cheesecakes taste delicious and look very pretty.
In this batch I also blended the base for longer, leading to a much softer consistency . This was an improvement, I thought, so I’ll do it this way from now on.
Well, this changes everything! I’m always looking out for ways to use the almond pulp that is the by-product of home-made almond milk. It was really hot last week and I didn’t feel like baking my fruity seedy almond pulp biscuits. In fact, I was craving mini raw vegan cheesecake. Suddenly I thought, why don’t I try making the base with almond pulp, instead of almonds? Dear reader, it worked!
So now I have another option for using up almond pulp: my guess is that this substitution should work for most raw vegan dessert recipes which involve nuts and dates as a biscuity base. My reasoning here is that the dates provide the moisture that holds everything together, and the nuts are there to provide bulk and protein, which is still there in the almond pulp. Hooray!
Yesterday I went to Sydney’s Cruelty Free Festival for the first time. Somehow I missed it the last two years, and even for a couple of years pre-vegan I wanted to go, but didn’t. So I was really glad to finally get there. I’m having difficulty finding the right words to express how I felt, being one of many many people inside a large exhibition hall, all dedicated to cruelty-free living. I found it… quietly empowering. Somehow calming, to know you’re not the odd one out, but you are surrounded by like minds. Affirming. I get a mental image of a flat tire being pumped up: maybe the word I’m looking for is “replenishing”.
I ate several tasty tasty things, starting with a pie from Funky Pies which was consumed too quickly to photograph, and finishing with some tasty sticky rice from My Little Panda Kitchen (also unphotographed). But in the end, for me it was really about the vegan cheesecakes. I purchased two cheesecakes from Rubyfruit, including their famous turkish delight cheesecake (foreground): I think I got the last one! I shared these with my 8 year for dessert this evening and she just told me that she’d eat a hundred more if she could (-:
While at the festival yesterday I also enjoyed this blueberry cheesecake from Rhubarb Bakes. Truly for the vegan cheesecake fan there is much to enjoy at the Cruelty Free Festival.
When there’s a cheesecake recipe in a cookbook called Greenilicious, which is all about eating more greens, you know it’s going to be slightly unusual. In Leigh Drew’s Hint of Mint Cheesecake, the green colour comes not just from the fresh mint but also from baby spinach. Yep, spinach! It’s a bit like a green smoothie in cheesecake form.
When I made mine, I didn’t have any baby spinach to hand so I used english spinach, which I thought worked fine. The chocolately base gave a good counterpoint (!) to the sweet minty filling. Overall I found this a pleasing dessert, and fun to make. (As with many foods, it’s a good idea to leave it out of the fridge a little before eating, to give yourself a chance to appreciate the flavours.) This cheesecake is gluten-free: it was the first time I ever cooked with quinoa flakes.
As a piece of trivia, this recipe was featured in the December 2014 issue of Women’s Health Magazine in Australia. If you peer at this photo from that magazine you can see much of the recipe there. (It’s a Facebook link, but you don’t have to log into FB to see it.) I usually avoid looking at magazines of any kind, but as Leigh wrote on the Greenilicious FB site at the time, “It’s always great to see vegan recipes in mainstream publications”.
Ever since I saw recipes for raw vegan cheesecakes, I was pretty keen to make one at home. Now that I have a high-powered blender, I can do just that. I used Dreena Burton’s recipe for raw lemon-lime cheesecake with fresh mango sauce. It’s amazing what you can do with a few cashews.
Actually my first attempt at raw cheesecakes followed this recipe for seven ingredient vegan cheesecakes. They were fun too: you make individual cheesecakes in muffin moulds. I topped half of ours with blueberries and the rest with raspberries. The consensus in our house was that raspberry tasted best.
Now my challenge is to try to hold myself back from making cheesecake a staple part of the family diet (-: