Baked White Chocolate, Ginger and Rhubarb ‘Cheesecake’ with Pistachio Crumb

Vegans deserve cheesecake too! A good cheesecake has a creamy body and a crunchy buttery biscuit base and we all know that nowadays we do not need dairy products to produce this effect. However, I have tried many vegan cheesecakes and have found them to be lacking in indulgence. I am not a believer in coconut cream on top of a healthy base of crushed nuts and seeds as a suitable alternative, sometimes sugar is necessary.

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Cheesecake body ingredients and rhubarb coulis

I experimented a lot with no-bake cheesecakes and all I found was that they still tasted slightly lacklustre. That was before I remembered my lack of enthusiasm towards no-bake cheesecakes before I went vegan, but baked cheesecakes…now they were the ones I used to adore. They had a certain cakeyness to them, with crispy edges and a soft and creamy centre. I thought I would give it a shot and after baking this cheesecake for the first time, I will never look back.

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Now, you might be questioning how you can achieve the taste of white chocolate. Well, it is possible by using one of the ingredients used to make white chocolate itself – cocoa butter (I buy mine online here). If you aren’t able to source it, or don’t crave white chocolate as much as me, then you can just sub it for more coconut oil.

I love rhubarb. We are currently leaving the forced rhubarb season and entering the field rhubarb season so you should be able to easily find it in shops now and throughout the year. However, if you struggle to find it or just don’t like rhubarb, you can sub it with another fruit of your choice. I would recommend rhubarb though for its deliciousness, sharpness and colour! Even in its raw form it looks just like bright pink candy. Once swirled into the cheesecake mix it will create a beautiful balance between sweet and sharp.

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Candy-like rhubarb

I love rhubarb so much I like to add extra to this dessert, especially if I want to dress it up on the plate. So here’s an idea on how to garnish the cheesecake.

OPTIONAL TOPPING – ROASTED GINGER RHUBARB:
Mix 200g rhubarb (chopped into long pieces), 1 tbsp agave syrup and a thumb-sized piece of ginger grated and juiced (squeeze the juice out of the grated pieces using your hand). Coat the rhubarb and roast in the oven at 180 degrees (fan) for 10 mins covered in foil and then for a further 10 mins without the foil. Serve with the finished cheesecake.

It looks so beautiful and colourful – just what you need to help get rid of the winter blues!

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You will need a good blender for this, otherwise the cheesecake body won’t reach the desired smooth consistency.

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Blended creaminess

RECIPE – WHITE CHOCOLATE, GINGER AND RHUBARB ‘CHEESECAKE’ WITH A PISTACHIO CRUMB
(approx. 8 slices, but feeds as many people as you choose it to…)

Equipment:
Blender (I use my Vitamix)

Ingredients:
Rhubarb Coulis
200g Rhubarb
40g Caster sugar
70ml Water
Juice from 1/2 lemon

Cheesecake Base
200g Ginger biscuits (many supermarkets sell their own brand biscuits that are suitable for vegans)
100g Vegan margarine
2x balls of stem ginger (optional – if you really love ginger!)

Cheesecake Body
100g Macadamia nuts (soaked overnight, drained and rinsed)
200g Cashew nuts (soaked overnight, drained and rinsed)
1 tsp Vanilla paste/or extract
Zest from 2 lemons
60g Plant-based milk
180g Agave
30g Cocoa butter
50g Coconut oil (I prefer mild odourless)
1/4 tsp Sea salt
1 tsp Apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp Plain flour

Pistachio Crumb Topping
A handful of toasted pistachio nuts, crushed or blitzed

Method:
1. Start by placing all of the rhubarb coulis ingredients in a pan and cook for 15-20 minutes on a medium heat (or until soft and broken down)
2. Let the mix stand for 30 minutes before blending to a smooth consistency
3. Whilst waiting for the rhubarb to cool, break the ginger biscuits into a fine crumb. Either place them in a freezer bag, cover with a tea towel and then bash them with a rolling pin (the fun method) or simply blitz them in a food processor
4. If you’re using stem ginger, this is where you would finely chop it and mix it into the biscuit crumb
5. Melt the vegan margarine and mix into the biscuit crumb
6. Press the biscuit mix into the base of a 20cm spring-form cake tin and leave to cool (it is best to put it in to the freezer so that it sets in time for the mix to be added)
7. Melt the coconut oil and cocoa butter in a bain-marie (a bowl sitting above a saucepan of boiling water)
8. Add the melted mix and the rest of the ingredients, excluding the flour, in to the blender and blend until smooth
9. Put the blended ingredients into a mixing bowl, sift in the flour and fold in
10. Pour the mix on top of the chilled biscuit base and then swirl in the rhubarb mix on top to create a marbled effect (I use the thin end of a chopstick)
11. Cook at 180 degrees (fan) for 40 mins. If the top starts to catch and burn, cover with foil
12. Leave it to cool and then scatter over the pistachio crumb, along with any extra optional toppings

 

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