Confession time: I’ve been vegan for almost three years and have never made a cheesecake, be it vegan or not. Yesterday I baked the my first cheesecake ever. Ha, that sounded dramatic.
I recently discovered a new German vegan food blog, which had two entries dedicated to cheesecake. Those recipes looked so good that I got an immediate cheesecake craving. I wanted to make one of those recipes, then I remembered that P. used to make us a wonderful cheesecake from one of my vegetarian cookbooks. The original recipe calls for mascarpone, ricotta, and sour cream. It has a crust made from oats and cookies, and a blueberry topping. I had a look at the recipe again and found it easy to veganize.
American type vegan cheesecake recipes often call for vegan cream cheese and sourcream as a substitute for non-vegan cream cheese, while German type cheesecake recipes call for silken or firm tofu and soy creamer as a substitute for quark and cream.
Quark is a kind of soft cheese (or curd cheese) made without rennet, similar to cream cheese but with a thinner consistency. In Germany there are many different kinds of quark used for different kinds of purposes. It is used for baking and cooking, for spreads and desserts, sometimes even for ice cream. There are sweet quark varieties blended with fruits and sweeteners similar to yoghurt and there are the savoury kinds, blended with herbs and salt. They are used as spreads for sandwiches. Plain quark is used in baked goods and especially as a base for cheesecake.
Heldin’s recipe over at vegan-und-lecker calls for strained soy yoghurt as a substitute for quark. I thought this was a wonderful substitute for most kinds of soft dairy cheese. I used her method in my recipe and it worked out perfectly. So here it is, my first cheesecake.
Cheesecake with Oatmeal Crust and Blueberry Topping
For the filling:
175 grams (6.2 oz) “quark” made from 450 g (15.9 oz) soy yoghurt *
225 grams (7.9 oz.) Soyatoo topping cream
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
zest of one small lemon
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
In a large bowl, combine strained soy yoghurt , soyatoo, coconut oil, lemon juice, and zest. Whisk to combine. Add remaining ingredients and whisk until no lumps remain. Set aside.
* I used homemade yoghurt. To make the quark, line a strainer with a double layer of cheesecloth. Pour the yoghurt into the cheesecloth. Now carefully gather the edges of the cheesecloth and press out as much liquid as you can. Then transfer the strained yoghurt to a small bowl and discard the liquid. Probably lots of the strained yoghurt will stick to the cheesecloth, try to scrape off as much as possible. If you don’t end up with 175 g of “quark”, that’s okay. Any amount between 150 g (5.3 oz) and 200 g (7 oz) is fine. Just make sure to adjust the amount of soyatoo. If you combine “quark” and Soyatoo, they should weigh 400 g (14.1 oz) .
For the crust:
156 grams (1 cup) old fashioned oats
120 g (1 cup) light spelt flour
3 tablespoons sugar
60 ml (1/4 cup) coconut oil, melted
80 ml (1/3 cup) soy milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
Grease a 18 cm (7 inch) springform pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 160°C (325°F).
Mix all ingredients until well combined, form into a disk and evenly press into the pan until it lines bottom and sides. Pierce dough several times with a fork, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven, but don’t turn off the heat.
Pour the cheesecake filling into the crust and bake for 60 minutes, until the filling has set completely and looks firm. It should have slightly browned and risen a bit. Let cool for 20 minutes before removing from pan. Let cool completely.
To make the topping:
120 g (2/3 cup) drained, canned blueberries
80 g (1/3 cup) blackthorn jam or blueberry jam
Assemble the blueberries on top of the cake. Heat jam in a small saucepan and pour over the blueberries. Let cool to room temperature. Chill for several hours (or over night) before serving.