Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Banana-Chocolate-Kahlua Cheesecake

I have finally, finally had the chance to try a recipe out of Vegan Pie in the Sky.

I carried on about this book for months. Then it finally came out and it took me a month to get around to making something from it. After Thanksgiving and Halloween and a month straight of cramming junk down my gullet, I needed to take a break from the sweets.

Now that we're entering the season of baked goods I'm sure the next few weeks will provide ample opportunity to sample more of Isa and Terry's pie and cake recipes. And I will (hopefully) also have holiday company to help me eat it all. Which was sadly not the circumstance involving this particular cake. We basically just cut it in half and ate the entire thing between the two of us.

Pre-vegan, cheesecake was my thing. When ordering dessert at a restaurant, there was no contest. Not a close one, anyway. It was always cheesecake. Fruit, chocolate, plain. It didn't matter. As long as it was cheesecake.

When I first went vegan I figured my cheesecake days were over, and I accepted it as a part of this greater life philosophy that I had adopted. How wrong I was!

There are many, many ways to make a vegan cheesecake. They typically involve pre-packaged vegan cream cheeses. These types of vegan cheesecakes are the most authentic, I think, but they are also heavy on highly processed ingredients and are usually more costly to put together. In Vegan Pie in the Sky, Isa and Terry aschew the premade vegan cream cheeses and instead opt for silken tofu and the do-it-yourself route.

The main difficulty I ran into with this cheesecake was the lack of vegan graham crackers being mass marketed here in KW. Damn you, honey!!!! I've heard rumour of some of the specialty stores carrying the Sweet & Sara brand, but I didn't feeling like driving around looking for them. Graham crackers are relatively easy to make at home and I had the luxury of time this past weekend. I made them from scratch this summer for a camping trip that didn't happen and liked the recipe so much that I decided it would be great as a cheesecake crust too.

The nice thing about making graham crackers for the sole purpose of using them as a crust for a cheesecake is that you don't have to fuss too much with making perfect squares. I just cut the dough up haphazardly and tossed it into the oven on a baking sheet. I also baked them 16 minutes as opposed to the 12-14 recommended, because I wanted them to be crispy and easily ground up in my food processor. Worked like a charm!

As we approach the holidays, the option of adding a quarter cup of Kahlua to the batter isn't really an option at all. What's Christmas without a little Kahlua?

So. It goes like this. You've got your from-scratch graham cracker crust. Then you've got your banana-flavoured cheesecake batter. Then some melted chocolate. Then some Kahlua. Then you swirl it all around all fancy and put it in the oven...

...and you get this!

It's so rich and decadent, perfectly sophisticated for a fancy, grown-up Christmas gathering.

If all the recipes in Vegan Pie in the Sky are like this one, I think we're in for a beautiful relationship. Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, the queens of vegan baking, have clearly done it again.

I wish I had a digital recipe to share with you, but the cookbook is so new that we bloggers haven't had a chance to rip through it yet. Stay tuned to Google, I'm sure there will be one up soon. Otherwise just buy the book and have all 75 recipes at your fingertips. I highly doubt you will be disappointed - they are the queens, after all.

{{EDIT}} Scratch the above - looks like the recipe is available on Google Books! Check it out here (scroll up for ingredients list).


Kim said...

oh holy mother of.... that looks *so* freakin' good!
YUM. Can't wait to try that one out =)

Anonymous said...

Looks great. I have been salivating over my new copy of "Vegan Pie in the Sky" for a couple of weeks now. For Thanksgiving, I made the Pumpkin Cheesecake from page 149. Yum.
I made a few adaptations. For one, I am Gluten free as well, so have been struggling for some time now as to what sort of crust to use on a cheesecake.
I used my own oat nut pie crust that I usually reserve for my yummy carob mousse pie. It worked well.
I also used walnuts instead of pecans in the topping. I didn't have any pecans and I was not about to go back out into the preThanksgiving grocery frenzy.

It turned out well. Yum Yum. I should have taken a photo. One piece left. Maybe I should get the camera out before that gets devoured...

I also used arrowroot instead of cornstarch, and that seemed to work out ok.
I LOVE this cookbook. I think my next pie from it will be Coconut Cream on page 108, or no, maybe Blueberry on 95... or key lime...

SO many to choose from!
Thanks for your post.

Mary said...

Kim - I can't wait to make it again!

Anon - Sounds so delicious!! My problem is also deciding what to make next. I really, REALLY can't wait until summer to make the blueberry pies in there (blueberry is my absolute favourite).

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