Anyone else ever just get an idea and then let that idea consume them?
That's what this damn cheesecake has done to me.
I started thinking about dessert around 2pm on Monday of last week. That's not unusual, honestly it's just a regular part of most days that I've grown to accept. So I left the office and went to get some fruit from the street cart that is normally parked outside. Luckily the fruit worked, and satisfied my sugar craving.
But then Tuesday came. Same thing, same craving, same insatiable need for sweet treats. But it was still so early in the week, and I was a little busy at work, so I just drank approximately 14 cups of tea to trick my brain into thinking I didn't want dessert. It only kind of worked.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday weren't any different. Just three more days that revolved around my sweet tooth and my constant need for baked goods. Now, adapting a plant based diet has been good to me in many ways. Especially because it requires that I have a little self restraint and only eat desserts that I know are made without any animal products. Things like cookies and cakes that are brought into the office on Fridays are mostly off limits. This is great, because I definitely don't need the people that I work with to know how much cake I am capable of eating in one sitting.
But it's also not great. Because then I'm forced to watch my coworkers eat cake and cookies and candy that I would very much like to be enjoying. This can be torturous for someone lacking in will power, like myself.
I decided pretty early during the week that whatever dessert I decided to make over the weekend had to be decadent. It had to be sweet, rich, beautiful, and it had to satisfy my craving. And thus, a vegan cheesecake was born.
This cheesecake is not like your average vegan cheesecake. None of that "raw" bullshit that so many of my peers enjoy. This is an honest to god cheesecake. With a delicious, crunchy crust made of animal crackers and ice cream cones. And then filled with creamy base made of cashews, coconut cream and vegan cream cheese. It's baked in the oven, and permitted to set in the fridge overnight. Then it's topped with candied lemons, pomegranate jewels and sometimes even some coconut whipped cream, because nothing will ever be enough for me.
And this cheesecake requires some preparation. Let me warn you now, it is not for the feint of heart, and tastes best when you allow the proper amount of time for cooling and setting. But it is SO WORTH IT.
The secret to the delicious fruity flavor is the pomegranate simple syrup. Which is a beautiful thing in it of itself. But even better when allowed to shine against the tart backdrop of lemons. It adds a little extra to an already outstanding cheesecake. It can also be used in beverages, so don't be upset that this recipe makes a little more than you need for the cheesecake. I also topped each serving of cheesecake with a little pour of syrup.
And since we've already gone overboard and basically announced to the entire world that we're maniacs. (Yes, that's a collective "we", you're in this with me now) We're going to also candy some lemons. Because it's a Sunday and we have literally nothing more important to do. I love making candied fruit, because all it really is is just boiling your favorite fruits in sugar water until the entire thing is edible.
Hi, I have a sugar problem.
Once this cheesecake is done you have a few options.
1. You can bring it to work to share with your friends.
2. You can enjoy a single slice of cheesecake, practicing restraint while also allowing yourself to partake in the simple pleasures of life.
3. Eat the entire thing with your hands while standing over the sink.
I'll let you guess which one I decided to go with.
Pomegranate Lemon Cheesecake
Pomegranate Simple Syrup
- 2 cups pomegranate seeds
- 1 teaspoon pomegranate juice
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/2 cups animal crackers
- 3 sugar ice cream cones
- 4-6 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 8 oz vegan cream cheese
- 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 cup pomegranate simple syrup
- zest from one lemon
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 Tablespoon pomegranate juice
- pinch of salt
Begin by preparing the pomegranate simple syrup. Combining all the ingredients in a small pot over high heat. Bring to a boil, and then allow to simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Then strain the seeds off and store the leftover syrup in a small container. Let this sit in the fridge about 5 hours, or over night.
The next day, soak cashews in hot water for about 1 hour. While they are soaking you can prepare the crust. Use a food processor to break up the animal crackers and sugar cones. Then slowly add in the melted coconut oil until you have a mixture that sticks together.
Spray the inside of a spring form pan, and then press the crust mixture evenly all over the bottom, allowing some to come up on the sides as well. Set aside and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a blender, add in the soaked (and drained) cashews, coconut cream, vegan cream cheese, cornstarch, vanilla, maple syrup, pomegranate syrup, lemon zest, lemon juice, pomegranate juice and salt. Blend until smooth and creamy, and then pour onto the crust you have prepared. Drizzle some of the pomegranate simple syrup on top of the cheesecake, and then swirl it around inside the batter to create a lightly marbled effect. Depending on the color of your syrup the actual design will vary.
Bake in the oven for about 55-60 minutes. The outside edges should be cooked, but the middle of the cheesecake should still be jiggly. Let the cheesecake sit out at room temperature, uncovered, until cool. Then move to the refrigerator and let it set overnight, covered.
Cheesecake is best served within 3 days, but will keep in the fridge for about a week.