I’d like to begin by wishing everyone a happy new year. Then I’d like to apologise for not keeping my promise…
In an effort to be sensible, I told myself that on new years eve, I would stay in; mixing, baking, photographing and then writing the recipe for that sweet dessert I had faithfully promised you all.
It was the 31st December 2009 and the turn of the decade was fast approaching. However, I sat wallowing in my room whilst everyone else was out ringing in the new year.
“No” I told myself, “I’ve done it all before; I’ve gone out feeling great, become utterly intoxicated and spent the next day feeling like someone had dropped a tonne of bricks on my head - I’m not missing anything!”
Well, when I found myself in the pub, with a drink in my hand, I realised what my new years resolution had to be…
Nevertheless, I am just pleased to say, I avoided any after-effects.
For me, new years day always proves to be the pinnacle of boredom during this cold, dark season. However, I do try to look past it and baking has always managed to cheer me up. This year, I tried to pass the time during the festive lull by flicking through last summers magazines; ‘Delicious’, ‘Olive’ and the rest. As I did, there was one thing that kept appearing and I couldn’t seem to escape the allure of this silky, satisfying dessert. It appeared in so many publications, I became infatuated.
Cheesecake has never been something that particularly appealed to me before, so it seemed strange to have developed this craving. However, something about it screamed ‘pure indulgence‘.
With temptation bubbling; it was irresistible!
I got straight to work in the kitchen and although I was a little unsure of the flavour I’d make - be it cranberry, lemon or hazelnut – I had a good feeling about what I wanted to create and I decided to go for it ad-lib.
Sweet, smooth and luscious. This is a melt-in-your mouth indulgence that you won’t be able to resist.
Vegan Cheesecake with a Chocolate & Hazelnut Topping
150g Plain Oatcakes (eg. Nairns)
75g Margarine (eg. Pure)
375g (1 2/3 Tubs) Tofutti Original
220ml (8fl. oz) soya yogurt
225g caster sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla extract
30g dark vegan chocolate
1 Tbsp hazelnut butter
1 Tbsp hazelnut milk
Hazelnuts, to decorate
Pre-heat your oven to 150C/300F
Place the oatcakes into a food processor and pulse until finely ground.
Put the margarine into a microwave-safe bowl and heat until melted. Alternatively, take the margarine out of the fridge several hours before you start and leave it in a warm area.
Add the margarine to the ground oatcakes. Using a wooden spoon, mix until you have a sticky, crumbly mixture.
If you feel it is too dry, add a splash of soya milk. Tip the mixture into an 8″ (20cm) pie tin and use your hands to firmly press down the mixture. This will form the base of your cheesecake.
In a large mixing bowl, add the Tofutti, yogurt and sugar. Using an electric mixer, blend the ingredients until completely combined.
Add in the cornstarch and blend. Finally, add in the vanilla and mix on full speed, until very smooth.
Pour this over the base until around 1.5 inches deep (you may have a few spoonfuls left). Smooth over the top with a spatula and place in the oven for 40-45 minutes
Once done remove the cheesecake from the oven. Leave to cool before transferring to the fridge to chill.
After a few hours, the cheesecake should be chilled and it’s time to prepare your chocolate-hazelnut topping.
Break the chocolate into pieces and put it into a Pyrex bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of boiling water, stirring until melted.
Reduce the heat. Add the hazelnut butter and allow to soften.
Add a tablespoon of hazelnut milk. Remove the mixture from the heat and stir vigorously to mix.
Allow to cool for a minute or so before using.
When the cheesecake is completely chilled, pour over the chocolate & hazelnut topping. Do this gradually, as you may not need to use all of it. Spread the mixture over the top, using a spoon or a spatula. Leave roughly a 1cm margin around the edge .
Decorate by sprinkling chopped hazelnuts around the edges.
Serves 8-12Keep chilled. Suitable for freezing** **Why not try straight from the freezer – it’s like an ice cream pie. Delicious!