So I have been trying to bake a vegan cheesecake without a cashew or other nut filling for at least 4 months. I have tested coconut milk, soy yogurt and a few other concoctions I really don’t want to revisit, and, while there has been one version that was at least edible, I have not been successful. It’s just one of those recipe experiments I have put to rest, simply because it’s too frustrating! In fact, I haven’t felt the need to bake a cheesecake for a few weeks! That is, until I had to go our local organic foods store and saw that they had a special product on sale:
Curdle made from sheep milk! I got so excited because a) I have never seen that being sold anywhere before and b) it was on sale, so there was no way I wasn’t going to buy it. I had gotten some peaches from a friend’s garden that day, most of which had small blemishes and therefore had to be consumed quickly…and so the cheesecake recipe testing had to be revisited.
Granted, this is not a vegan version, but it’s the next best thing: cowmilk-free, and also glutenfree! If you have access to soy milk curdle, I am sure this would also work, but I have never seen anything like that being sold here in Germany.
The baking of this cheesecake came at a convenient time, too, because my brother just finished his studies, and my parents came home after a two week holiday this weekend. What better time to bake a humongous cake!? Right!? Well, to be honest, I rarely need excuses to bake, but this was a purely instinctive, sponatenous bake, inspired solely by the fact that I got said curdle.
The result speaks for itself, I think. The peaches are so fragrant and flavorful, complimenting the slightly sour taste of the curdle so well that it seems a no-brainer to bake a cake using both. By the way, I personally don’t really detect a “sheepy” taste in the curdle, eventhough I would probably not enjoy it as much plain.
There are cheesecakes that are a lot firmer, but, seeing as this was the first cheesecake that I have ever made (not counting all those failed attempts I mentioned), I am very happy with myself. This slice was actually from the cake the same day I baked it; the next day, it had firmed up even more.
Peach Curdle Cheesecake
for the crust:
- 1/4 cup cane sugar (45g)
- 1/4 cup vegan margarine (50g)
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbs. macadamia nuts (100g)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1 Tbs. maple syrup
for the filling:
- 4 eggs, yolks and whites separated
- 600g sheep milk curdle
- 125g sheep milk yogurt
- 1 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. cane sugar (100g)
- 1 packet vanilla pudding
- 1/3 cup spelt semolina (or polenta for glutenfree version)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- a drizzle of salt
- 500g peaches
1. In a large bowl, whisk together the cane sugar, margarine and egg for the crust.
2. Blend the nuts and oats into a fine flour, then add to the bowl, whisking it into a smooth dough along with the maple syrup. Roll the dough into a ball, cover it in foil, and place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
3. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Separate the eggs, and place the egg yolks in a large bowl with the lemon juice, cane sugar, curdle, and yogurt. Whisk together until smooth.
4. In a smaller bowl, mix the dry ingredients: vanilla pudding, spelt semolina, baking powder and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the bowl with the egg yolk mixture, and whisk until well-combined.
5. Cut the peaches into thin slices, and set aside.
6. Spread some margarine in a baking form and then take out the dough from the fridge, and press into the form, pulling it up the sides. Bake for 15 minutes.
7. Whisk the egg whites until they firm up. Using a spoon, carefully mix the firm egg whites into the filling mixture, making sure not to overstir (do not use a whisk for this!).
8. Turn up the heat to 200°C (390°F). Now layer half of the peaches on top of the baked crust in the baking form, then fill in the curdle filling, and layer the other half of the peaches on top.
9. Place back in the oven for 40 minutes, covering it with aluminium foil if it appears to get too brown on top.
10. Take out of the oven and allow to cool completely in the fridge, and set over night before serving!
Of course, you can make this cheesecake without the peaches, or sub them out for some berries instead! I personally loved the peach-curdle combo, but I am sure that when they aren’t in season, other fruits will be amazing in this cake.
I like how I was able to reduce both the sugar and margarine/butter amounts in this recipe without making the cake taste healthy in any way. It is lightly sweet, but most of the sweetness is citric and comes from the peaches – something I adore! I believe this cake can be eaten for breakfast without feeling guilty…after all, it packs a huge amount of protein from the curdle, right!? 🙂
I have two pieces left, and I intend to save them for those days this week that I may or may not have the time to prepare breakfast…after all, I am starting out as a teacher this Tuesday! I am super excited, and a teeny bit anxious.
What are you guys up to this week? I’d love to hear about your favorite types of cheesecake, too, and how you’d switch this recipe up.