Dessert this year includes the traditional holiday pumpkin, but it comes as part of a vegan, dairy-free cheesecake. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser with its rich, creamy blend of pumpkin and tofu dusted with a crunchy streusel topping. This simple-to-make vegan holiday dessert will satisfy family and friends who love cheesecake with a dense texture and rich pumpkin flavor. Since milk and eggs aren’t used in the recipe, it’s also a natural for those allergic to or intolerant of these two foods.
5 vegan whole-wheat graham crackers
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
11/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon organic brown sugar
2 (12.3-ounce) boxes of silken soft tofu
1 (8-ounce) container of vegan imitation cream cheese (such as Tofutti)
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin
2/3 cup organic brown sugar
11/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
1. To make crust, place graham crackers in a food processor or blender and pulse to form fine crumbs. Combine crumbs, pecans, oil and sugar. Reserve 3 tablespoons of crumb mixture; set aside. Pat remaining crumb mixture into the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan lightly coated with canola oil.
2. To make cheesecake, place a sieve or colander in a bowl. Line sieve with two layers of unbleached paper towel or an unbleached coffee filter. Spoon silken tofu into sieve and cover with a small plate. Add a weight or heavy can to top of plate. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand 30 minutes; drain off liquid.
3. Place drained tofu into a food processor or blender. Add cream cheese and remaining ingredients and puree until smooth. Spoon tofu mixture into crust-lined springform pan and bake at 325 degrees for 70 minutes. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture evenly over top of cheesecake and turn off oven. Cool cheesecake in closed oven for 75 minutes. Remove cheesecake from oven and run a knife between the pan and the cake before removing the top part of the pan. Cool to room temperature. Cover and chill for eight hours or overnight. Cut into 12 wedges and serve.
Yield: 12 servings (1 slice)
Nutrition information PER serving: Calories 206; Protein 5 g; Carbohydrate 23 g; Total fat 11.3 g; Saturated fat 1.9 g; Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 119 mg; Fiber 1.9 g
by Maureen Callahan, RD, Natural Solutions
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