Monday, February 11, 2013

Strawberry Cheezecake with Chocolate Crust

Strawberry Cheezecake with Chocolate Crust

Whenever I think of a dessert filled with love, it always has chocolate and strawberries in it.  Strawberry Chocolate Chip Ice Cream that Day and I used to share at Friendly's back in the day, Chocolate Covered Strawberries that I made last Valentine's Day.
  Even our wedding cake was chocolate cake with strawberry filling(and vegan, gluten-free, and the best cake I've ever consumed).  So it's no surprise that when brainstorming of what special dessert I wanted to make for Dayv this Valentine's Day, chocolate and strawberries kept coming to mind.

This cheezecake was made with Dayv's love of cheesecake in mind.  Before going vegan, he loved frozen cheesecake.  On occasion, he would purchase one, keep it in the freezer, and eat one piece every night for dessert(the man has incredible self control).

This strawberry cheezecake got Dayv's seal of appoval tonight, which means it must be good.  He doesn't lie.  I hope you love it, too.

Chocolate Pie Crust
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 cup teff flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp tapioca flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp xanthan gum

Pyrex Glass Pie Plate, 9 1/2" x 1 3/4" (Google Affiliate Ad)

1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of cold Earth Balance, cut into about 8 chunks
1/4 cup ice water(plus more if needed)

In a large bowl, combine flours, cocoa powder, sugar, xanthan gum, and sea salt.  Using a fork or pastry cutter, cut the Earth Balance into the mixture until it becomes evenly crumbly.

Add in the ice water(ice removed), and use a rubber spatula to mix everything together.  After a couple of minutes the dough should be smooth and hold together, and no longer contain any dry spots.  If necessary, add more cold water, one tablespoon at a time until desired texture is achieved, without it becoming wet or sticky.

Form into a ball and then pat into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.  If you are rushed on time, you can place the dough in the freezer for 15 minutes.

After the pie crust has been properly chilled, remove from refrigerator.  Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a standard pie

Roll out crust in between two pieces of parchment into a large circle(do not overwork, otherwise it will get very soft).  Peel off the top piece of parchment and gently flip into the pie dish.  Lightly press the crust into
the dish
and form the edges to your liking.  Use a fork to press several holes all over the crust.  Place dried beans in the bottom.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until crust looks finished baking, but not burnt at all(some parts may still look slightly undone and that's ok).

Remove from oven and allow to cool.  Remove the dried beans from the top of the crust and place in the refrigerator to chill until the filling is ready.

Strawberry Cheezecake
1 cup raw cashews, soaked in filtered water for at least 12 hours
1 1/2 cups of strawberries- washed, hulled, and cut into small pieces
1 can full-fat coconut milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz vegan cream cheese- cut into 1 tbsp chunks
to garnish- 3 strawberries- washed, hulled, and thinly sliced; 1/4 vegan chocolate chips, melted

In a medium sized saucepan over medium heat, combine strawberries, coconut milk, and sugar.  Stir continually and allow mixture to come to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and continue to stir.  Once all of the sugar has been dissolved and the coconut has turned opaque with no areas of white, remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.  Place in blender and blend until the mixture is completely smooth and uniform in color and texture(about 1-2 minutes).  Cover and place mixture in the freezer until it is chilled(place in refrigerator if not rushed for time).

Drain cashews and place in food processor.  Process until completely smooth, scraping the sides down when necessary.  Once a thick and smooth cashew cream has been created, add in the strawberry coconut mixture and process again until it is creamy and uniform in color and texture(make sure there isn't any cashew cream sticking to the bottom).  Lastly, add in vegan cream cheese, and process again until thick, creamy, smooth, and consistent in color and texture.

Pour mixture into prepared pie crust.  Cover and place in freezer for about 12 hours, or until firm.

To garnish, simply place sliced strawberries on top of the chilled cheezecake.  Use a piping bag(if you want to be fancy), or a spoon, to drizzle melted chocolate over top.  

Allow to thaw for about 15 minutes on the counter before cutting slices.  Store in freezer. 


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