Here I am writing this post again after loosing it to the virtual internet dustbin where all things lost go only to make the authors of those things incredibly irritated and even more disappointed when the their perfectly written post is no longer to be found. So I apologize for my irritation and lack of desire to re-write my heartfelt post about cheesecake, Italian baptisms and Italian family and culture. But here I go again, and I will try to make it just as wonderful as the first time around!
So I was commissioned to make a cheesecake this past weekend for my brother-in-law’s dinner party of thirty people to celebrate his son’s baptism. Of course they wanted a realcheesecake, and I of course wanted to prove that a vegan cheesecake can be just as knock your socks off good. It goes without saying that I was not going to reveal my bag of vegan tricks until the first bite was followed by a ‘wow’, ‘oohh, can I have the recipe?’ and then a ‘no way, that was vegan!’.
Mission accomplished . . . to a certain degree. These are definitely not Italian flavors and can be a bit heavy to them, so although it did not have them on their feet jumping up and down in a sugar induced frenzy, I assure you that Anglo-Saxon palates and peanut butter lovers will be doing a dance for dreamy decadent vegan desserts!
I made a couple of other sides to take along with me to the party so I could have something to stuff in my tigelle. It was definitely not the picture of healthy fare, with fried bbq ‘pork’ and creamy mushrooms, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow and enjoy those button busting indulgent weekends.
Baptisms here are a big deal, I guess since they don’t have baby showers or do birth announcements, they are their way of introducing the new arrival to the world. This event is not so much about the religious significance, but rather it is more about getting family and friends together to celebrate the new addition to the family, which of course involves eating, and eating, and then more eating, this is Italy you know. As most people know, family in Italy is at the center of everything in life and everything pivots around it, which I know can seem a bit suffocating for Anglo-Saxons as this is the opposite of our culture, but it can really be a beautiful thing. It has taught me so much about love, patience and compassion, even in those moments when my typical overbearing Italian suocera (mother-in-law) drives me crazy. I have grown to love this family and would not have it any other way, in fact I can only aspire to have such a loving and tight knit family myself.
So in the spirit of Italian celebrations with some American flavor, let’s get this party started!
12 oz chocolate cookies
7 oz dates
Peanut Butter Cheesecake
10 oz silken tofu
1 cup cashews
374 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup non-dairy milk, sweetened
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 tsp stevia
2 Tbs maple syrup
4 Tbs vegan butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
174 cup non-dairy cream (I used soy)
1 tsp salt
5 oz dark chocolate
1/4 cup non-dairy milk
1/4 cup non-dairy cream
1.For the base: blend the dates to a paste then add in a few cookies at a time until you have a fine crumble. Press into pan and set aside to make the cheesecake.
2. For the cheesecake: blend all ingredients together in a high-powered blender. If you don’t have one you will need to soak the cashews for at least 30 minutes in hot water, the longer the better. Blend until it is smooth and creamy. Set aside to make the butterscotch and chocolate sauce.
3. For the butterscotch: melt the butter on low heat, add in the other ingredients and bring to a boil. Leave it to boil for a few minutes then remove from heat and set aside to cool.
4. For the chocolate sauce: melt the chocolate with the milk and cream on low heat or in a double boiler. Let cool.
5. Pour about half the cheesecake mixture into the pan with the crust. Spoon or drizzle butterscotch and chocolate sauce over it. Pour in the rest of the cheesecake batter and smooth over. Put in the freezer for at least a couple of hours to set.
6. Take out of the freezer about half an hour before serving. Top with peanuts and drizzle butterscotch and chocolate sauce.