As you may have noticed, recently I’ve been experimenting with dairy-free and even vegan recipes. I have a sneaking fondness for vegan recipes in any case, as I have serious concerns about the quality of life for animals involved in the dairy and egg industry. And besides, many of my fellow gluten-free foodies have multiple intolerances to dairy and eggs, making vegan recipes a great resource. I hadn’t been thinking much about cheesecake, because when I think dairy-free or egg-free, cheesecake is the last recipe to come to mind. In fact, it’s pretty well defined by these two ingredients! But, I was forced to address the whole cheesecake issue when a recent Daring Baker event focused on cheesecake pops. What to do? I could have made regular cheesecake and just had the DH eat it… but, instead I decided to try making cheesecake pops with tofutti “Better than Cream Cheese.” I didn’t go vegan with the recipe, but I was able to make a totally dairy-free cheesecake pop with strawberry jam layers. Yum. How cool is that?
But then I started thinking that what would be really cool would be a vegan cheesecake recipe… So I started flipping through my (many) vegan cookbooks… La Dolce Vegan, Vegan with a Vengeance, etc. I found one crust recipe that sounded promising for gluten-free adaption, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with the fillings that I’d found. I didn’t want to make something too healthy-tasting, and I thought it was possible that a completely tofu filled recipe might let me down with texture and flavor. So, I went searching on the internet for clever vegan solutions. I found two vegan cheesecake goddesses that had especially tempting recipes- Samantha at Novel Eats and Susan at the Fat Free Vegan. Both had come up with lots of absolutely gorgeous vegan cheesecakes, but I was won over by Susan’s double-layer pumpkin cheesecake. (Although Susan’s Vegan Eggnog Cheesecake Recipe was equally tempting, if not quite in season.) It took a little bit of work to make the recipe gluten-free, but the recipe from La Dolce Vegan inspired me to take one of Nana’s No Gluten Ginger Cookie with some pecans for the crust with very happy results. These cookies are great anyway, especially for baking, because not only are they Gluten-free, but they are vegan, and kosher, with No refined sugar, eggs, dairy, gluten, wheat, soy, or corn. I also wanted to make little baby cheesecakes, as I love the whole “individual servings for you, and me, and me” thing, so I used my favorite ramekins.
Another nice thing about this recipe is that it was perfect for my cheesecake-loving but lactose-intolerant best friend’s birthday. We had her and her husband over for herbal tea and their very own vegan pumpkin cheesecake. The verdict? The baby cheesecakes were a huge hit, and she couldn’t believe that their main ingredient was tofu! In fact, she urged me to start my own business and start selling these cheesecakes, because they were that good. Sweet, right? So, the next time you’re moping over the totally inaccessible cheesecake lineup at the Cheesecake Factory, why not make your own gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free baby cheesecakes, perfect for impressing family, friends, and your taste buds?
*By the way, I asked Susan for her permission to reprint my new gluten-free version of a Vegan double layer pumpkin cheesecake filling that she had posted, which she very kindly granted. I did fiddle with the spices to my taste, but I’m sure her spice blend was also good. If you haven’t seen Susan’s blog, definitely go over and take a look. She’s got lovely photos, incredibly creative recipes, and is sensitive to gluten issues, although her blog is not gluten-free. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this is not a fat-free recipe. As Susan of the Fat Free Vegan put it: “Insert standard “this is not a fat-free recipe” disclaimer here. Geez, what was I thinking when I named this blog!” heh heh.
Gluten Free Vegan Double-layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 Nana’s No Gluten Ginger Cookie OR 3/4 cup gluten-free gingersnap cookie like Trader Joes or Midel(not vegan)
3/8 cup finely ground pecans
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/6 cup olive oil or other oil of your choice
Part Two Filling:
6 ceramic ramekins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine crust ingredients in a food processor and blend together. Press into the bottoms of your ramikins, forming a thin crust.
Clean food processor.
Combine all the ingredients of your filling base in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Remove 1 cup of the combined filling base and reserve. Now add the part two of the filling to the remaining filling base left in your food processor. (Pumpkin puree through the nutmeg and salt.) Process everything together. Taste and add a little more vanilla and/or salt if you think it needs it.
Now, take a clean spatula and carefully smooth the white, reserved filling base as the first cheesecake layer in all of your ramikins. Cover with pumpkin filling as the second cheesecake layer. You can leave a little mound in the center that is higher, but I’m not sure if it is necessary.
Place your ramikins in a baking dish with medium-steep sides. Fill the baking dish with hot water halfway up the sides of your ramikins, making sure not to get any water IN the ramikins.
Bake for 45- 50 minutes, cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for as long as possible- at least three hours. *sigh* Carefully remove from container or serve in ramikin. Enjoy!
PS We’re still fighting the formatting issue with the new blog design. We Will fix it and the blog Will become easier to read, so hang in there with me, ok? *hugs*-Sea