The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.Although this cheesecake comes to you as a Daring Bakers challenge, it began its career as a "Resolution Breaking Pie" for January's "You Want Pies With That?" challenge. Unfortunately, by the time I had a version that I would break just about any resolution to get my hands upon, it was too late to post. So this recipe sat in my half drafted posts, taunting me until I read these magic words :
The real challenge this month is to take this basic recipe and play with it. Make it unique. Make a showstopper of a dessert. Add flavor, sauces, decorations – dress it up and show it off. To be clear, I'm allowing for almost any flavor modification within the basic recipe (alcohol, lemon juice, vanilla), changes for dietary needs, and you can also experiment with the crust (graham crackers not essential). And then what you do on top - you have free reign here.Well, then. Here it is.
I made the original cheesecake in a standard pie dish, but for the Daring Bakers challenge scaled it down to an 8" tart pan. I accidentally left out a few of the graham crackers for the crust, so it came out a bit thin and oily, but here are the correct quantities:
12 graham crackers
4 tsp turbinado sugar
1/3 C non dairy margarine, melted
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pulverize graham crackers in a food processor, then add sugar and margarine. Give the food processor another spin, then press the mixture into a 8" tart pan with the bottom of a round glass or a flat bottomed measuring cup. Press up along the sides with the side of the glass, using your fingers to even it out and keep it from going over the side of the pan. Once the crust mixture is evenly distributed, place the pan on a cookie sheet and bake the crust for 8 minutes. Allow the crust to cool to room temperature.
The first layer is made of cream cheese and sour cream. I prefer a higher ratio of sour cream, but The Kid doesn't care for the cheesecake when it's too sour, so I've scaled it back a bit. (If you bake this, feel free to adjust the proportions.)
3/4 C Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese
1/4 C Tofutti Better Than Sour Cream
3 Tbs granulated sugar
1/2 vanilla bean (center only, I saved the pod to make vanilla sugar!)
2 tsp Ener-G Egg Replacer
In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients except the egg replacer over medium heat. Once they are combined, add the egg replacer, and stir until it starts to thicken. Pour into graham cracker crust, and set aside to cool.
This is followed by a thin raspberry layer:
1 C frozen raspberries
2 tsp granulated sugar
1 tsp corn starch
Defrost and mush up the raspberries. Push the liquid through a sieve. (Don't worry if some of the seeds make it through.) Whisk the raspberry liquid together with the sugar and corn starch in a small saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Remove from heat, then pour over cream cheese layer. If necessary spread with an offset spatula to cover entire area. Allow to cool to room temperature.
On the top is a final, luscious layer of chocolate ganache:
3/4 C Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (suggest reducing to 1/2 C)
1/3 C coconut milk
1 Tbs dairy free margarineCombine all three ingredients in a small saucepan and stir while gently warming over medium low heat until completely combined. Pour over raspberry layer, spreading with spatula if needed. Place finished cheesecake in refrigerator until chilled.The result still needs some tweaking. I never thought I'd type these words, but I think that there might be too much chocolate on this cheesecake, and the chocolate layer is too firm compared to the cheesecake and raspberry. Reducing the quantity of chocolate chips to one half Cup, would probably put this cheesecake in the "this stuff should be illegal" territory.
(Apologies for the top of the stove photos. 'Fraid there wasn't time for any beauty shots!)