This was an entirely decadent endeavor from start to finish and an event so rare, I cannot remember the last time I made something so indulgent. Our friend Marti came over for dinner the other night and I decided that she would be the perfect specimen upon which to test a wicked chocolate dessert. She loved it, so it went into the recipe vault and earned a post here.
Chocolate Cheesecake with a Citrus-Nut Crust
2 cups non-dairy creamer [I used So Delicious Original Coconut Creamer]
1 cup plain non-dairy yogurt [I used Nancy’s Soy Yogurt]
1 cup simple syrup* [1:1 sugar to water dissolved over heat], or agave nectar
1 recipe homemade tofu at curd stage [which is what I used for this] or 2 blocks firm regular tofu
1 ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder [I dig Dagoba], sifted
1 tsp espresso powder
2 oz organic cornstarch [@8 tablespoons], sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup mixed raw nuts, ground [I used ½ cup cashews and ¼ cup each sunflower seeds and hazelnuts]
zest of one orange
[*Agave syrup is my go-to sweetener of choice and I would have used it in this recipe except that my friend is allergic to agave. For this reason, I used a simple syrup solution as a substitute. If you do choose to use agave rather than the simple syrup, you may want to begin with adding half a cup and tasting for sweetness. If it is sweet enough, simply add half a cup of creamer to make up the volume lost. If you prefer it sweeter, then add the full cup of agave.]
Place nuts and orange zest into a food processor and grind until crumbly. Add a wee bit of agave or other liquid sweetener at a time and pulse until the nuts hold together. Press the nuts into the bottom of a sprayed [I use an aerosolized coconut oil] 8-inch springform pan. Place in the refrigerator.
Crumble the tofu and place in a cheesecloth. Squeeze until all the liquid is removed. Transfer to a blender and add the yogurt, simple syrup or agave, vanilla extract and salt. Blend until smooth. Set aside.
Add creamer to a pan on the stove and slowly add the cornstarch and cocoa powder while the creamer is cold, whisking until it is fully incorporated and there are no lumps. Add the expresso powder. Heat to a simmer, whisking continuously and making sure to rake the bottom of the pan to bring up any settled layer. Continue to cook until well thickened. Transfer to the blender containing the tofu mixture and blend until silky smooth.
Pour the contents of the blender into the springform pan and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours to set. Overnight would be best.
½ cup hazelnuts, soaked for at least an hour in water
½ cup cashews, soaked for at least an hour in water
½ cup non-dairy creamer
simple syrup or agave nectar, to taste
pinch of salt
a couple grates of fresh nutmeg
Drain the nuts and place into a blender. Add creamer and salt. Blend until smooth. Add sweetener to taste and grated nutmeg.