• Austin's Vegan Chocolate Blackberry Ricotta  Cheesecake

    In our backyard we have 3 large blackberry vines, and I am always looking for ways to use the fruit before it goes bad. Blackberries ripen around mid to late July, some of the hottest times of the year in the northeast. This Vegan Chocolate Blackberry Ricotta  Cheesecake uses agar agar as a thickener to hold the cheesecake together. Agar or agar-agar is a jelly-like substance, obtained from red algae. Agar has been used as an ingredient in desserts throughout Asia. Once cooked into food, unlike gelatin if holds up well in the heat. 

    INGREDIENTS

     

    CHEESECAKE CRUST

    • 22 double stuffed Oreo cookies
    • a few pinches of fine salt
    • 2 tbsp of coconut oil

    CHEESECAKE

    • 1 cup raw cashews (soaked overnight)
    • 1 cup raw almonds (blanched) or ¾ cup raw almond milk
    • 2 8oz containers of very vanilla silk soymilk (I use the small single serving size so I have no left over milk)
    • 14 ripe blackberry plus 6 to decorate top od cheese cake with
    • 1 block of firm tofu
    • 6 Tbsp spoons of raw sugar
    • Juice of two lemons
    • Dash of cinnamon
    • ½ cup cold water
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 to 5 tsp of agar agar powder

    Topping

    • Dark chocolate chips (vegan)
    • 6 fresh blackberries
    • ¼ cup very vanilla silk soymilk

    Instructions

     

    CHEESECAKE CRUST

    1. The day before  make the cheesecake, grind your cashews, almonds in a food processor until you get a coarse crumb mixture.
    2. Add in ¾ container of the soymilk, add the juice of one lemon add a dash of cinnamon.
    3. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator overnight creating a Ricotta base.  
    4. Line a 9’’ springform pan with parchment paper
    5. In a food processer add the 22 Double  Stuffed Oreo Cookies, and crush to a crumb.
    6. Add in two tablespoons of coconut oil
    7. Add a pinch of salt, pulse in the food processer till mixture comes together.
    8. With a spoon, add to bottom of springform pan, smooth, and press down to form a crust.
    9. Place in refrigerator to allow it to firm up, about 1 hour.

    CHEESECAKE MIXTURE

    1. In a food processer add the tofu, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice. Mix until sugar start to breakdown. Add the 14 ripe blackberries, and mix. Add the Ricotta mixture and mix together until smooth. Once the mixture has come together, measure it in a measuring cup (basic agar agar rule, 1 tsp agar agar power to 1 cup liquid) you want to know how many cups you have. You should about 3 to 3 ½ cups of cheesecake batter. Set aside. 
    2. In ½ cup cold water add the 4 tablespoons of agar agar powder, mix to help dissolve.
    3. In a sauce pan add the second 8oz of soymilk. Add agar agar, over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, use a whisk and stir frequently. This cooking time will take about 15 mins. The last 3 mins add the Ricotta mixture, use a wooden spoon to insure the mixture is not sticking to the bottom of the sauce pan.
    4. As soon as the cheesecake mixture is super smooth, take the spring form tin out of the fridge and pour the cheesecake mixture on top of the set base. Make sure you do it very quickly to get a smooth finish as, like I mentioned before, agar sets very quickly. Gently hit the filled spring form tin against your work surface a few times to get rid of air pockets/bubbles.
    5. You don’t need to put this cheesecake into the freezer as it will set beautifully at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Let is cool and become firm, 4 to 6 hours. Remove from spring form pan and plate the cheesecake. 

    Decorate 

    1. In a sauce pan add ½ bag of dark chocolate chips, add the ¼ cup soymilk creating a ganache, add 1 tsp vanilla extract.
    2. Pour over the top of the cheese cake and tilt the cheesecake to get a smooth glaze on top. Refrigerate again.
    3. Add fresh berries and leaves to finish the look

    NOTES

    *if you have agar agar flakes 3 tsp agar flakes equals 1 tsp agar powder, so for this recipe I would use 2½ tsp of agar powder.

    ** always keep track of liquid to agar agar. The more you add the firmer the cheesecake will be.