Vegan lemon and blueberry cheesecake.

I have been slightly obsessed with cheesecake for the past 15 or so years. It was never a thing while I was growing up in Sweden. Then it was all about cinnamon buns and apple crumbles but then I moved to Portland, Oregon after high school to spend a year there as an Au Pair. It was like a whole new world opened up to me. I would meet up with the other Au Pairs every Friday night at the Cheesecake Factory and we’d have dinner and a cheesecake. I am not even ashamed to say that I tried every single one on the menu by the time it was time for me to leave.

Ever since I came back from Portland I’ve baked tons of cheesecakes, but the only problem is that they can be so rich and heavy. And also lately I have been trying to cut out more and more animal products for animal welfare reasons. So I am really happy with this vegan cheesecake recipe that I created. Since there is no actual cream cheese in the cheesecake it feels much lighter than a regular one. I also use 100% pure maple syrup instead of sugar for a bit of a healthier choice. The filling for this cheesecake is made out of cashews soaked in water overnight. This part is very important or you will not get the creamy consistency. For the base I’ve opted for rich tea biscuits instead of the usual digestive biscuit, I prefer the rich tea biscuit because it adds a little bit more to the taste. I’ve always found digestive biscuits to be too crumbly and dry. Since this is a completely vegan cheesecake there aren’t any eggs in it which means that it does not need to be baked so I used agar agar as a setting agent as gelatin is a no go. This was the trickiest part as I had never worked with it before so there was a lot of trial and error until I found the proper dosage.

Agar agar powder is made from red algae and works as a setting agent much like gelatin.

Source:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agar

While I would normally add some cream to my cheesecake I have had to opt for a vegan version. I used Alpro soya cream but I am sure other alternatives would work as well, it’s just for me the big problem is that a lot of vegan versions of anything dairy has a lot of coconut oil or coconut cream in it and ever since I was a kid coconut has made me sick so I steer clear of it. I have also added a bit of yoghurt to the creamed cashews as I thing it adds to the lightness of the dessert. And once again I have used Alpro soya yoghurt.

Another thing that is different from a cream cheese cheesecake is that while you may get away with a regular food mixer (or even just a whisk and strong wrists) you will need a food processor to really blitz those cashews into yummy creaminess. Now it does not need to be something fancy or expensive. I have my old trusted Kenwood Chef km337 that has served me for many years so I just use the food processor attachment that you can add to it. While it may not be as quick as some other mixers out there on the market it gets the job done, and that is the most important thing right?

This Kenwood Chef km337 food processor has been my best friend for many years 😉

Now shall we get on with the recipe then!

Equipment needed: 9″ round form with detachable sides + food processor

For the base:

  • 15 rich tea biscuits
  • 2 dates
  • 1 tbs maple syrup

Filling:

  • 400g cashews – soaked in water overnight
  • 1/2 cup vegan yoghurt
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream
  • 4 tbs maple syrup
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 300g blueberries
  • 1 tsp agar agar powder

Top jelly layer:

  • 50g blueberries
  • 1/4 cup water
  • zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1tbs corn flour
  • 2 tbs water

Start by soaking the cashews in water the night before. I usually put just enough water to cover them.

The next day start by blitzing the rich tea biscuits a few times until they are in smaller pieces, add the dates and maple syrup and blitz some more until it is all blended well together. Since there is no butter involved the dates and maple syrup will help hold the base together. Pour the biscuit mix into the round form and push it out evenly all across the bottom.

Now it’s time for the filling. Put all the cashews into the food processor and mix until there are no more chungy pieces left.

Next add the yoghurt , maple syrup and vanilla extraxt and mix again until nice and creamy.

Now you need to divide your mix as one layer will be lemon based and the other blueberry based. Split it 2/3 for the lemon layer and 1/3 for the blueberry layer. Since you will be adding 300g of blueberries and only lemon juice to the other one this will make the layers look nice and even later. Keep the bigger mix in the food processor and add the lemon juice and zest and mix again until fully incorporated. Pour the mix into a large bowl and then start on the agar agar. Pour 1/4 cup of the soya cream and 1/2 tsp of agar agar powder into a saucepan and mix until fully incorporated. Warm up on low heat while mixing until the cream starts to thicken and then quickly whisk it in to the lemon layer mix. Pour the mix into the form and put vack in the fridge.

Pour back the 1/3 of the mix into the food processor and add the blueberries. Mix ntil the blueberries are fully incorporated then repeat the whole process with the agar agar powder.

Since blueberries tend to not look too amazing when you mix them into something I wanted the top of the cheesecake to have a nice purple finish to make it look more professional so I made a quick jelly to pour on the top. You start by adding all the ingredients minus the 2 tbs water and cornflour. Once it starts to boil keep mixing until the blueberries are soft. Take off heat and use a hand mixer to blitz it all together. Then strain through a sieve and make sure to push through as much of the blueberry juice as possible, just leaving the skin in the sieve. You should be left with a nice purple liquid.

Next mix the cornflour with the 2 tbs of water until there are no lumps of the cornflour. The easiest way for me is to put the two into a small jar, put the lid on and shake hard until it all looks liquidy as you don’t want to end up with lumps of cornflour in you jelly. Pour the mix into the blueberry juice and put on low heat while stirring. Once the liquid starts to thicken pour it on the top of the cheesecake and let set.

You can see that the cheesecake looks much nicer with a shiny finish than if it was left bare with just the blueberry layer.
You are left with two even layers of tasty lemon and blueberry cheesecake.

Hope you enjoy the cake!


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