This recipe has been on my dessert wish-list since I received a review copy of Veganissimo a year ago. The cookbook's helpful icons reminded me that it's both gluten-free and soy-free, and was thus an ideal dessert for our pizza party.
I've little to report when it comes to the making of this cheesecake - everything came together as instructed without any angst or uncertainty. The base is a slightly sandy mix of flours spiked with ground ginger, but its main role is to support a major dose of crystallised ginger. Over the top goes a cashew-based cheesecake mixture, and in a refreshing departure from the now-ubiquitous raw cakes this one gets baked.
The result is firm and dense rather than fluffy, creamy with a sweet heat. A small slice brings big satisfaction (...particularly when one's belly is already full of pizza).
Ginger cheesecake slice
(from Leigh Drew's Veganissimo!)
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2-1/3 cup olive oil
200g crystallised ginger, roughly chopped
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup almond milk
2.5cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely sliced
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornflour
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cover the cashews for the cheesecake in water and soak them overnight.
Preaheat an oven to 160°C. Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
In a large bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients (buckwheat flour through to ground ginger). Pour over 1/2 cup of the oil and mix it through with a spoon or clean hands. If needed, add more oil a tablespoon at a time until the mixture resembles wet sand. When the texture is right, pour the base mixture into the baking tray and spread it out evenly, smoothing it down with the back of a spoon. Bake the base until it is golden at the edges and beginning to dry out, 10-15 minutes.
While the base is baking, place the almond milk in a small saucepan with the fresh ginger pieces. Simmer the milk over low heat for 10 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow the ginger to infuse into the milk as it cools for a further 10 minutes.
When the milk is cool enough, remove the ginger pieces and pour it into a food processor or blender. Drain the cashews and add them too. Add the remaining cheesecake ingredients and blend them thoroughly until as smooth as possible.
Sprinkle the crystallised ginger pieces over the base. Pour over the cheesecake mixture and smooth over the top. Bake the cheesecake until it is golden on top and firm around the edges, 40-50 minutes. Allow the slice to cool completely before slicing and serving.