I'm usually quite the rule follower, but today I broke the rules and I have the sweet Kate from Kate's Kitchen to thank!
With this installment of Blogger C.L.U.E, our group's prompt for November is "Pie". Now I have to admit I'm not much of a pie person. Not that I would turn away a warm slice of sweet Apple Pie, but I really don't like making it. Pie just seems to take so long and needs to be planned ahead.
Enter dear Kate. A blogger I've been following since the Foodbuzz days, Kate hails from Indiana and cooks with her sous chef extraordinaire (and husband!) Connie. Cooking in a new kitchen (decked out with white cabinets I can only dream of!) Kate and Connie bring spectacular dishes to the table and truly love creating and then enjoying the bounty. A girl after my own heart, I'd love to share a Pineapple-Chili Margarita with her.
Which brings us to the pie. Kate is a little like me and doesn't have many pies on her blog ( that Pear Frangipane Tart ? Divine!), but a post from a prior Blogger C.L.U.E Installment brought a lovely Blueberry Icebox Pie. Filled with bright blueberries, yogurt, cream and a dash of my beloved Grand Marnier I found my recipe!! However... my family is dairy-free. And plant-based.
Our Blogger Clue Group likes our post recipes to remain as close to the original as possible with a goal of introducing new bloggers to our own readers, and here's where I broke the rules. Going off-grid, I took Kate's recipe as a base and turned it into a dairy-free recipe that has just made our Thanksgiving menu.
Cheesecake has been my sons favorite dessert since he was little and he asked for it for his birthday right up until the moment he became lactose intolerant. Even after the intolerance began, he would enjoy a few bites along with some lactose pills and still be ok. But as time passed his intolerance has become severe and now he simply foregos anything with any dairy, and cheesecake has become a thing of the past.
Now I've seen those cashew "cheesecake" versions and while I've wanted an alternative, I've always turned my nose up at them - just too weird. Basically, if we can't have the real thing we just won't have it. But my poor son... could there really be a substitute?
Searching the internet for advice on how to turn the heavy cream and yogurt into something dairy-free for Kate's icebox cake took me time and again back to frozen cashew cheesecakes. "Fine... I'll try it," I thought - doubtful of the result.
So I soaked my cashews and then blended them up with the other ingredients. Hesitantly taking a taste, the maple syrup and vanilla brought a delightfully sweet flavor to a surprisingly creamy concoction. Not at all bad.
Freezing them into my favorite Mini Cheesecake Pan (we gave up full size cheesecakes years ago and I'm ever so thankful not to have to cut the cake anymore!) I cheated again and added a bit of cranberry to the blueberry topping for a holidayish (and healthy) addition.
Popping the minis out of the pan I have to say they looked pretty darn cute. Letting them thaw as I did my photo shoot, they ended up just about the perfect consistency at about 30 minutes out of the freezer - so note to self, remove them as you sit down to dinner and they will be ideal when dinner is finished!
But the true test came with my taste-testers, Liv and my husband. Now Liv is not a fan of cheesecake in the first place, and for her Kate's graham cracker crust was her favorite part - but I noted that she did eat an entire mini cheesecake. Not something she's done in the past.
Asking my husband to take a bite he said, "You know I don't want to eat dairy." I told him to just try it, it's for a post and I needed an honest opinion. Taking a bit he thought a minute, then took another. His comments were as follows:
"Nice and creamy, and I love the tartness. The blueberry is awesome. But you know I don't want to eat dairy. Why did you even make that?"
Smiling, I call that success. Even more fun was his face when I told him the cheesecake didn't actually have any cream cheese in it and that it was totally plant-based.
Thank you Kate! I haven't told my son yet, but my boy will be having cheesecake when he comes home for Thanksgiving this year, and he will be ever so thankful. We owe this success all to you!
Check out what the rest of our C.L.U.E member made this month!
Vegan Blueberry Cranberry Mini Cashew Icebox Cheesecakes
For the dairy-free people in your life, cashew "cheesecake" is about as close as it gets to the real thing. Creamy and slightly tart, these little guys can be made ahead and stored in the freezer until you are ready to use them, simply thaw either a few hours in the fridge or about 1/2 hour (depending on the temp in your house) on the counter. Make the base cheesecake and the top with your favorite topping!
Recipe inspired by Kate's Kitchen and Cake Duchess
Graham Cracker Crust
10 Cinnamon Graham Crackers (we used Trader Joe's - diary free but not vegan as they contain honey)
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
Cashew Cheesecake Batter
1 1/2 cups raw cashews (soaked for 3 hours or overnight)
1/4 cup almond milk (we used Silk, original unsweetened)
3 Tbs Coconut oil, melted
3 Tbs pure maple syrup
3 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp tahini (optional - but adds a bit of tartness)
1 tsp vanilla
Blueberry Cranberry Topping
2/3 cup blueberries
1/3 cup cranberries
2 Tbs pure maple syrup
pinch fine grain salt - optional (preferably Pink Himilayan)
Make the topping first. Place blueberries, cranberries, maple syrup and salt into a small sauce pan and simmer until berries are soft - about 20 minutes. Mash with a masher or the back of a fork or spoon until smooth or desired consistency. Set aside to cool
Place the graham crackers into a plastic zip top bag and crush with a rolling pin. When crumbs, add the melted coconut oil and squeeze the bag with your hands until evenly distributed.
Brush mini cheesecake cups with a small amount of coconut oil to prevent sticking. Place 2 teaspoons of crumbs into each mini cup and set aside. See note below.
Drain cashews and pat dry with a paper towel. Place into your blender (I used my Blendtec). Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy. Kind of like a nice hummus consistency.
Spoon a scant 2 Tbs of batter on top of crusts. Drop pan lightly on the counter top to settle the batter evenly into the cups.
Carefully spoon berry topping on top of the batter and place pan into the freezer. Our mini cakes took about 2 hours to freeze. If using immediately, cakes are probably ready about the 45 minute point. If saving for later, cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve. Remove from freezer and thaw in the fridge for about 2 hours, or allow to thaw on the counter top, I liked the consistency at about 1/2 hour on the counter. Enjoy!
This recipe made 12 mini cheesecakes.
**Liv Life Note: I love our Norpro Mini Cheesecake Pan, but I read many recipes that used mini muffin tins with paper liners. You could also use silicone molds for cheesecakes.
Liv Life Note 2: Note... the cheesecakes don't hold shape like regular cheesecake and will "puddle" when totally melted.
|I think they liked it!|