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Friday, May 20, 2016

Strawberry Cheesecake (oil-free)

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This beautiful confection is by Ania at Lazy Cat Kitchen.

This recipe features the miraculous aquafaba! Aquafaba is the water from cooked or canned chickpeas (but can be any bean) used as an egg substitute. I am finding wonderul uses for aquafaba, as it can be whipped into a meringue, a dreamy topping, and substituted in practically any recipe in place of egg. Here is a shining example of this magical stuff!

Ingredients
  • makes: 6 " dia cheesecake
  • preparation time: 30 min
  • cooking time: 10 min
CHEESECAKE BASE
  • 20 dates / 6 oz pitted and soaked in boiling water
  • a few pinches of fine salt
  • heaped 1 cup almonds
  • 1½ tbsp raw cacao (optional)
CHEESECAKE
  • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
  • 21 oz RIPE strawberries, de-stemmed (weigh after de-stemming)
  • 4-6 tbsp liquid sweetener (maple syrup, agave, liquid sugar in the raw, etc) adjust to taste
  • 6½ level tsp agar agar flakes*
  • ½ cup coconut cream, chilled (from a tin)
  • ½ cup reduced aquafaba*
DECORATION (optional)
  • chocolate shavings
  • fresh strawberries
Method
  1. Line the bottom of your spring form tin (mine was 6 ” across and  2.5 ” tall) with a circle of baking paper and cut out a long rectangle to line the sides with.
CHEESECAKE BASE
  1. Grind your almonds in a food processor until you get a coarse crumb. Take them out of the food processor and set aside.
  2. Drain your dates and chop them roughly. Put into a food processor and process into a paste. Add cacao powder and a bit of salt to taste and process some more.
  3. In a bowl, mix date paste with enough ground almonds to obtain a dough that isn’t too sticky yet still holds together well. I prefer doing it by hand to get a feel for exactly how many almonds I should be adding.
  4. Line the sides of the baking tin and then mould the base mixture to the bottom of your spring form tin. Press the mixture down well with your fingers so that there are no gaps / air-bubbles. Put a bit if baking paper on top of the base and weigh it down with something heavy (I used a round container of similar size, filled with sugar). Put into the fridge while you make your cheesecake mixture.
CHEESECAKE MIXTURE
  1. Just before you are ready to start blending the cheesecake, put agar flakes, ½ cup of reduced aquafaba (or water if you don’t want to use aquafaba) and ½ cup of coconut cream into a small pot. Let the mixture come to the boil and simmer on low-medium heat, stirring frequently, until flakes almost dissolve and the mixture thickens (about 10 mins). From that point onwards, you’ll need to work fast as agar sets as soon as it cools down.
  2. Chuck in cashews, de-stemmed strawberries, maple syrup and warm agar (not hot, let it cool down a little) mixture into a blender. Blend, scraping the sides of the blender from time to time as the set agar likes to stay on those. Adjust the sweetness to taste. Blend until completely smooth.
  3. As soon as the cheesecake mixture is super smooth, take the spring form tin out of the freezer and pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the set base. Make sure you do it very quickly to get a smooth finish as, like I mentioned before, agar sets very quickly. Gently hit the filled spring form tin against your work surface a few times to get rid of air pockets/bubbles.
  4. You don’t need to put this cheesecake into the freezer as it will set beautifully at room temperature or in the fridge. Once set, decorate at will.
Notes
*I have never used agar powder, but if that’s the only agar you have, conventional wisdom says that 3 tsp agar flakes equals 1 tsp agar powder, so for this recipe I would use a touch over 2 tsp of agar powder.

**Aquafaba – water from a can of low-sodium chickpeas or from cooking dry chickpeas at home, reduced on the stove to achieve thicker consistency.


Recipe by Ania at Lazy Cat Kitchen 

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