Baked Lemon & Blueberry Cheesecake
I made a ridiculous amount of vegan cheesecakes when I first got into vegan cooking (that was before I actually went vegan - fun fact) - as I think in my mind they were the only real sweet desserty vegan thing to make for family dinners etc that I could think of. They were all raw cashew, date and nut base varieties of cheesecakes and I forced them on a lot of family members who reluctantly (I'm sure) said 'hmm... quite nice' after their first mouthful of cold raw-vegan-ness. I don't have anything against these types of cheesecakes, I often make small ones for this and that, but I appreciate that for some people, they are just a bit too "clean" tasting or something.
So this is a baked vegan cheesecake with a super creamy scrumptious filling and traditional biscuit base. It literally tastes exactly the same as the usual way of making it does, yet is full of much more plant-ful ingredients that will probably save you from that "this was so rich I'm going to have a nap now" feeling afterwards. Cannot wait for you to try this lemoney-vanillery-blueberry-biscuity number honeybunches. It's beyond lovely!!
- 400g plain digestive biscuits (or similar - hobnobs, graham crackers, or GF alternative)
- 1/2 vegan butter, melted
- 1 cup raw cashews, soaked (minimum for 30 minutes in hot water) then drained & rinsed
- juice of 1 lemon
- zest of 3 lemons
- the hard cream from 1 x 400g chilled can of coconut milk
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 vegan cream cheese (I used Tofutti)
- 2 tsp vanilla (paste, extract, essence - any will work)
- 1 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat your oven to 160C.
- Start by making your crust by pulsing all the biscuits in a food processor until they are fine and the texture is like sand. Add the melted butter and blend until mixed throughout the biscuit crumbs. Take out the blade and mix by hand once more to catch any butter left in a crevice somewhere.
- Line the bottom of a 23cm/9 inch spring-form cake tin. Add all the base mixture to the tin and press up the sides with a measuring cup to form a crust all the way around. This is the trickiest part, but a deep breath and a little patience is all it takes. It does not have to be perfect by any stretch.
- Combine the remaining ingredients (minus the frozen blueberries and the last listed ingredient - the 2 tbsp of maple syrup) in a high-powered blender (including the 1/2 cup of maple syrup if there's any confusion about that). Blend until smooth and creamy.
- Pour into the prepared crust and gently tap the base of the cheesecake against the bench (from a height of 1cm is enough) to bring any air bubbles to the surface.
- Make the berry compote, by combining the frozen blueberries and the 2 tbsp of maple in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and let the berries defrost and ooze some of their juices. Once noticeably defrosted (after a couple of minutes), gently squash 1/2 the berries with a potato masher in the pot to create some textural excitement. Once looking like a chunky thick purple syrup (all in all will only take 5-7 minutes), remove from the heat and using a spoon drizzle over the cheesecake. I did a swirly pattern but you do you cheesecake queen! You can use a spoon or chopstick to create a swirly pattern if you like.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 40-50 minutes, or until there's only a slight jiggle in the cheesecake when you wiggle it a little. Leave to cool to room temperature before transferring it to the fridge for at least 4 hours before serving. Overnight is best. Then tuck in and enjoy honeybunches xx