WHITE CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY CHEESECAKE (with vegan alternative)
2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs (9-ounce package)
6 tablespoons butter, or Earth Balance vegan buttery spread, or other expeller-pressed oil
Position a rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the baking pan of your choice.
Put the cookie crumbs in a large bowl. Add the butter/spread and stir the mixture until the crumbs are evenly moistened.
Transfer the crumbs to the greased baking pan. Using your fingers, press the crumbs evenly over the bottom and sides of the pan.
If using a springform pan, press the crumbs 1 inch up the sides of the pan. Check to see that the crust isn't too thick where the sides and the edges of the pan meet.
Bake the crust for 6 minutes.
Cool the crust thoroughly before filling it. Crumb crusts can be baked a day ahead, covered, and stored overnight at room temperature.
NOTE: I bake the crust ahead for the nonvegan version of this; when I first tried vegan cheesecake, baking the crust ahead of time yielded a burned crust.
Next time I just coated the pan with an even layer of the buttery-cookie-crumb mixture and poured the filling in. It came out fine.
White Chocolate Cheesecake
8 ounces white chocolate chips, or vegan white chocolate (obtained from VeganEssentials.com)
2 pounds Philadelphia cream cheese, or vegan cream cheese (Tofutti better than cream cheese is a good brand)
1-1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 eggs, or 2T Ener-G egg replacer, whipped with 1/4c water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used madagascar enilla bean paste)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons whipping cream, or vegan soycream (I used Silk "French Vanilla" soy creamer)
1 cup fresh raspberries, for serving with the cheesecake (optional)
Melted dark chocolate, melted via double boiler (I suggest Varlhona 62%) for decor
Melt chocolate in double boiler. As soon as the white chocolate is melted, remove it from the oven and stir it smooth.
Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Set the white chocolate aside to cool slightly.
Put the cream cheese in the large bowl of an electric mixer (or just stir it thoroughly). Mix on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute.
Add the 1-1/4 cups sugar and mix until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Mix in the flour. Add the egg/replacer, two at a time, mixing smooth after each addition.
Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl twice during this mixing. Mix in the vanilla and almond extract. Mix in the soycream.
Stir in the melted white chocolate. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan.
Put the cheesecake in the oven. Pour hot water into a second baking pan and place on lower rack.
Bake about 30-40min, or until when you give the cheesecake a gentle shake, the top looks firm.
Cool the cheesecake --- leave in off oven about 30-60 min, then let cool on counter ~1 hr, then refridgerate at least 3 hours. (You can skimp on the first two coolings,
but the cake is less likely to crack the more gradually you cool it).
1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries or unsweetened frozen raspberries, defrosted and drained
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste
Puree the raspberries in a food processor. Use the back of a spoon to press the raspberries through a strainer to remove the seeds.
Measure 1/2 cup strained puree into a small bowl and mix with sugar and the lemon juice. Serve the sauce beside baked and chilled cake.