• Lara Flanagan

Lemon & Strawberry Cheesecake

Before I got sick and went plant-based, I had a few food obsessions. These were major obsessions. Apple Pie, Nachos, Burgers and Cheesecake. Listing them like that makes me realise that I have a tendency to like supreme comfort food! Tiney once got me two Sara-Lee Apple High Pies for my birthday. The thought of beetroot juice dripping down my wrists from a really good burger will always make me smile. I pursued the perfect Nachos until I nailed it, then Tiney claimed my recipe as her own and those Nachos are still referred to by some as ‘Tiney’s Nachos.’ I had a friend who shared my mutual obsession with cheesecake and we once scoffed a whole Sara-Lee cheesecake in the car with nothing but our car-keys for utensils.

When I first went vegan, I genuinely had no idea. I thought I had to abandon flavour and put up with a life of cheesecloth, hairy armpits, bad incense and stodgy lentils. I am quite happy to admit that I had no idea. After a wake up call which came in the form of a trip to the States I once again began the pursuit of flavour and my favourite obsessions. I am happy to say I have perfected a buttery olive oil pastry which gave me my apple pie. Recently I perfected Nachos (stay tuned) and the kids say that they are the best Nachos in the world. I have been working on the burger for some time, but might have had a break-through thanks to my friend Julie-chan, who has given me some ingredient inspiration.

I am now also happy to say, that after many attempts, I have just nailed cheesecake! (This is for you Annie). My attempt from Tuesday was so close that I thought I almost had it, but after a few tastings I realised it was not quite right and I threw the whole thing in the chook bucket. However it only needed a little tweaking and the end result is this delectable Lemon & Strawberry Cheesecake. The filling is creamy deliciousness combined with a lemony tang, the base is crisp and biscuity and the topping is a sweet fruity sensation.

Happy food place and possibly a cheesecake food coma.

Lemon and Strawberry Cheesecake

Prepare a 9-inch spring form tin by lining base and sides with baking paper.

Pre-heat fan-forced oven to 180 degrees Celsius

Make sure cashew nuts have been soaking for at least 4 hours

Cheesecake Base:

1 ¼ cup plain flour

4 tablespoons caster sugar

½ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon milk

Zest of one lemon

Process all ingredients into a food processor until resembles a biscuity crumb.

Pour into tin and use fingers to press over base evenly.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Strawberry Topping:

500 gram strawberries – stalk removed and thinly sliced

½ cup water

½ cup sugar

¼ teaspoon agar agar powder

Place water, strawberries and sugar in saucepan.

Bring to boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 60 minutes.

Set aside until cheesecake has cooked as you do not add agar-agar powder until you are ready to pour the strawberry topping over the cheesecake.

Once cheesecake has finished baking, return strawberries to heat, add agar-agar powder and stir gently for 2 minutes.

Immediately pour over cheesecake.

Cheesecake filling:

600 gram silken tofu

200 gram raw cashew nuts – soaked for at least 4 hours and then drained

2 tablespoon corn flour

4 tablespoon almond milk

2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup caster sugar

Zest of two lemons

8 tablespoons lemon juice

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until ultra smooth.

Pour over cooked base.

Cook in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius for 60 minutes.

When removed from oven, pour strawberry topping over cooked cheesecake and leave to cool to room temperature.

Leave in refrigerator over night allowing to cool and set.

Serve with additional strawberries.

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