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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Red White & Blue Vegan Cheesecake

What a yummy dessert!  Although we call this a cheesecake, it is much lighter than its New York style counterpart.  The consistency of the filling is more ricotta like - very light and tasty!
10 oz vegan chocolate cookies (or vanilla, graham)
1/4 Cup non-hydrogenated shortening (I used Earth Balance)
2lb extra-firm tofu
1/2 Cup plus 2 tbsp unbleached granulated sugar
1/2 Cup simple syrup (home-made)
vanilla from 3 beans
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
Zest of 2 limes
1/3 Cup tofu sour cream (I made mine)
12 oz fresh berries (I used halved strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  In a food processor, process cookies for 1 minute to crush to fine crumbs.  Reserve about 1/8 of crumbs for topping.  Add shortening and process for an additional  minute.  Using olive oil, lightly oil a 9" springform pan, and transfer crumb mixture to pan.  Using your hands, firmly press crumb mixture into the bottom of the pan and set aside.

Wipe out food processor with a clean, lint-free towel.  Cut the tofu blocks in half, pressing out as much of the liquid as possible.  Break blocks into smaller chunks and add to food processor.  Add 1/2 C sugar, syrup, vanilla, lime juice and zest; process mixture for 3 minutes.  Scrape down sides of the container, and process an additional 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy.  Pour filling over crust and smooth with a spatula.  Bake for 30 minutes.  

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together tofu sour cream and remaining sugar and set aside.  After cheesecake has baked for 30 minutes, remove it form the oven.  Spread sour cream mixture over top of the cheesecake, leaving a 1" border around the edges and bake for an additional 7 minutes. Do not allow top to brown.

Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.  Place strawberries on top in a spiral pattern, starting from the center.  Sprinkle raspberries and blueberries over the visible cheesecake top.  Sprinkle with remaining cookie crumbs.  Chill.  

When ready to serve, scrape edges of the springform pan to loosen cake.  Open pan over a serving dish.  Enjoy!

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