This recipe has been a long time in the making! I recently saw this baking competition in Belgium, organised by tarte à moi, who are looking for a new pie to add to their range. I wanted to come up with something original and creative, but more importantly something that people who can’t have gluten or dairy can enjoy as well, as I have found that Ireland is much more advanced in providing meals like that, compare to Belgium.
My first idea was to make a Black Forest Gâteau but I then started thinking about cheesecakes. I had never made or even eaten a vegan one so it was always going to be a bit of a challenge to make it. My first attempt went horribly wrong, the cheesecake was lumpy and looked grey and generally quite honestly disgusting. So I made it again and went for a lemon cheesecake this time, and the result was amazing! Smooth and tasty cheesecake that looked delicious! For the bottom I went for a gluten-free (and of course still dairy-free) pear crumble.
Makes: 2 small cheesecakes, for 2 people
- 45ml water
- 100g cashew nuts
- 45ml honey or agave syrup*
- 20ml lemon juice + peel of half a lemon
- 30ml coconut oil
- 10g brown sugar
- 10g white sugar
- 20g vegetable butter
- 40g gluten-free flour
- 1 pear
Needed: baking tin or a mousse/cake ring of 10 cm width and height
*When it comes to honey, not all vegans eat it so please check with the person who’ll eat it before making the recipe.
The ingredients above are enough for 2 little cheesecakes so make sure to either use two tins/rings or to repeat the whole process twice. For the best flavour and texture, soak the cashews in water and leave them overnight. If you don’t have enough time you can also soak them in boiling hot water and leave them for 2 hours.
Next up is the crumble! Mix both sugars with the butter and flour and place on baking paper in your tins or rings. Peal the pear and slice it up in thin slices on top of your crumble and place in the oven at 200°C for 15 minutes. Let it cool down but don’t take it out of the ring/tin as we’ll be adding the cheesecake on top later so it has a perfect round shape.
Time for the cheesecake! Add water, then honey and lemon juice and coconut oil to a blender. Drain and rinse the cashews. You’ll notice they’ll have gotten pale and big from soaking (see photo). Add them to the blender and blend until you have a thick, smooth creamy mixture. Poor onto your little crumbles and place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. You can keep it in the freezer for quite a while and take it out half an hour before you want to use it. If you’re planning on eating it within 2 days i’d take it out of the freezer and place it in the fridge for the rest of the time. The freezer will help firm up the cheesecake (and coconut oil) so that it won’t get runny anymore after, even if you put it in the fridge after.
Grate half a lemon on top of both little cheesecakes and enjoy!