Chocolate Tofu Cheesecake

1 05 2012

I wish I had more time to make treats like this. I would bake a new treat every day. But alas, my cooking time is usually dedicated to making din and lunches for work. And alas, I am not a baker. I get so damned jealous of bloggers who post pictures of stacked cookies, moist and decadent bars, over-the-top cakes; all that dessert porn stuff. I just can’t do it.

Anything involving making a dough or a batter gives me terrible anxiety. It’s way too much pressure to know that I can completely ruin a dish by doing something like say..over-mixing. Don’t even get me started on pancakes. I have literally broken down and cried while making pancakes.

Fortunately, there were only a few tears shed while making this vegan chocolate cheesecake. I did it and I did it well. It’s smooth and creamy, rich and chocolatey with a great added nuttiness from the almond extract. My attempts at baked goods usually grow stale on the counter. This one was gone in a day. That’s gotta say something.

Chocolate Tofu Cheesecake
Adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Dummies

Filling:
1 1/4 lbs. firm tofu
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 oz. (3 squares) semi-sweet baking chocolate
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. almond extract
Pinch of salt

Crust:
1 1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 tb. sugar
1/3 cup margarine

Place the tofu in a clean sink, cover it with waxed paper and a heavy weight (I like to use a full tea kettle), and let it drain for 20 minutes. While the tofu drains, make the crust.

For the crust, combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Melt the margarine in a saucepan over low heat, and then add it to the crumb mixture. Stir until blended, and then press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch nonstick springform pan. Set aside. (Or you can use a ready-made 9-inch graham cracker crust, which holds the same amount as the springform pan)

In a food processor, blend the drained tofu, 1/4-pound at a time, with 1 cup of the sugar, adding 1/4 cup sugar with each addition of tofu. Process until the ingredients are well-blended.

Pour the tofu-sugar mixture into a bowl. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a double boiler or saucepan, melt the chocolate. While the chocolate is melting, place the graham cracker crust in the oven and cook for about 8 minutes; then remove, set aside and let cool.

After the chocolate has melted, add it to the tofu mixture. Stir in the vanilla, almond extract, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Blend well.

Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust and bake for about 40 minutes. When the cake is done, it will be slightly risen on the edges with small cracks on the surface. The middle will not have risen, but it will be springy to the touch and will have a dry, firm appearance. Chill the cheesecake for at least 2 hours after baking.





Apple Enchiladas

19 10 2010

I had the day off from work today. I had no car. I had a giant coffee buzz and this new pair of yoga pants that honestly made me feel like I could conquer the sun. I felt sooooo good. So I opened up all the doors in the house, brought my laptop out into the kitchen, put on a Beatles playlist, and proceeded to make not only apple enchiladas, but the flour tortillas and whipped cream as well. I’m not normally a Beatles/yoga pants kind of person, but it felt good and sometimes I like to embrace those “I’m a million different people from one day to the next”-type moments. Tell me about your favorite cooking music.

You don’t need to act as gung-ho as I did and make flour tortillas. In fact, these are the perfect way to use up any leftover  tortillas you may have kickin’ around from Taco Night. It’s a great recipe, rich & comforting, and further proof that the Hot Damn & Hell Yeah cookbook can do no wrong. Vegan dirty south cookin’. With no sanctimonious attitudes or esoteric ingredients. Plus there’s little cartoon skeletons on every page. Please go check out Microcosm publishing.

Apple Enchiladas
Adapted from Hot Damn & Hell Yeah

6 flour tortillas (recipe below)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup vegan butter/margarine
4 cups apple pie filling:
-4 granny smith apples; peeled, cored and sliced
-3/4 cup white sugar
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. vanilla extract
-Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 175 C/350 F and grease a 20 cm/8 in. square baking pan.

Place a few heaping spoonfuls of filling in each tortilla, then roll the tortillas up and place them in the baking pan, seam-side down.

Heat water, sugars, margarine and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Reduce heat and simmer for a few minutes to let sauce thicken. Remove from heat and pour over tortillas, spreading with a spoon to ensure they are evenly coated.

Bake for 20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown on top.

Flour Tortillas:
(will make 5-10 tortillas depending on how large you make them)
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegan butter/margarine
3/4 cup boiling water

Sift flour and salt together into a large bowl. Rub the butter in by hand until evenly mixed. Make a well in the center and pour the boiling water into it. Mix with a wooden spoon until you’ve got a doughy texture to work with.

Sprinkle a bit of flour on top and knead the dough until it’s a smooth consistency.

Roll pieces of dough into balls about 5 cm/2-inches around, then place on a tray and cover. Leave covered for at least an hour.

Roll the dough balls out on a lightly floured surface til they’re as thick as you want them, then get a skillet warmed up over high heat.

Place a tortilla on the skillet for about 10 seconds. Flip over as soon as you see a bubble or 2 forming on the top. Cook 20-30 seconds then flip back over to cook the other side 15-20 more seconds. Keep a close eye on them. You want tortillas soft with light brown spots, not crispy with dark brown spots.

Stack cooked tortillas on a plate and keep covered with a dish towel to keep soft until you’re ready to use.





Rich Chocolate Cheesecake

10 09 2010

This cake is ridiculous. The texture/taste is a mix between fudge and chocolate gelato. This cake is not fucking around. Usually I’m not really a sweets/dessert/chocolate person. But in the past month or so, I’ve found myself picking up cupcakes on my coffee break at work. Usually anytime this starts to happen, I automatically assume Hell, I’m Pregnant. But since I’m not having sex anymore (wahh), there’s no excuses. Now I’ll just look pregnant. Fuck It.

So I’ll post the recipe how I found it, with some minor changes. What I did differently though was use a food processor for all of the mixing, not use a double boiler to melt the chocolate because I don’t friggin have one, and I used a store-bought Oreo crust. I ended up with some extra batter so you could always do what I did, and fill a couple of ramekins with what’s leftover, bake them with the cake, and then eat them straight from the oven. Because life’s too short.

Rich Chocolate Cheesecake
Adapted from eat me, delicious

Chocolate Crumb Crust
1 1/2 cups Oreo (or similar cookie) crumbs
4 tbs. unsalted butter, melted

Filling
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tbs. natural (not Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
4 eggs, room temp.
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tsps. vanilla
2 tbs. Kahlua

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×3-inch springform pan. Cut an 18 inch square of heavy-duty aluminum foil and wrap the foil around the outside of the pan.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the Oreo crumbs and melted butter. Pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake the crust for 8 minutes, until set.

3. Set the pan on a wire rack and cool the crust completely. Leave the oven on.

4. Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat, leaving the chocolate over the hot water.

5. In the bowl of an electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese at medium-low speed until creamy and lump-free, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Gradually add 1/4 cup of the sugar and beat until blended. Add the cocoa powder and mix until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand.

6. In a clean mixer bowl, using the whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and beat at high speed until tripled in volume, about 2 minutes. Remove the bowl and whisk from the mixer stand and replace them with the bowl containing the cream cheese mixture and the paddle attachment. Mixing at low speed, gradually add the egg mixture to the cream cheese mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary to ensure that the mixture is even-textured. Mix in the melted chocolate. Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and Kahlua (or Cognac) and mix until blended. Remove the bowl from the mixer stand and stir the filling several times to ensure that it is evenly blended.

7. Scrap the filling over the baked crust in the pan. Place the pan in a roasting pan or large baking pan. Place the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough hot water into the pan to come 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Bake the cheesecake in the water bath for 35-40 minutes, until the center of the cake is set but slightly wobbly (the cake will set completely as it cools).

8. Remove the cake pan from the water bath. Place the pan on a wire rack and carefully loosen the foil. Immediately run the tip of a paring knife around the sides of the pan, to prevent the top from cracking. Let the cake cool completely.

9. Refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours before serving.