Vegan Salted Caramel Cheesecake
Can it be creamy, gooey, crunchy, salty, sweet, bitter and sour at the same time? Yes, it definitely can. Umami or not, this salted caramel cheesecake recipe is a bold combination of flavors and textures. It is vegan, gluten-free and mostly raw. The hardest part of making it is actually having to wait for it to set. I made it for a birthday occasion, but you can always incorporate it into your Christmas or New Year's menu. If you ask me, I would find a good excuse to eat it also on a regular day. Did I pique your curiosity yet? No more words needed, let's get to the ingredients list instead.
VEGAN SALTED CARAMEL CHEESECAKE
YIELD: 8 pieces
For the crust
1 cup of walnuts
10 dates (I used Deglet dates which are pretty small)
For the cheese cream layer
3 cups of cashews
1/2 cup of date syrup
1 tsp of vanilla paste
Pinch of salt
1 cup of coconut milk
The juice of one lemon
Agar (use according to the instructions)*
For the caramel layer
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 can of coconut milk (400ml)
1/2 tsp of salt
1 tsp of vanilla paste
1 tbsp of coconut oil
For the decoration
50g of dark chocolate
Couple of walnuts
A drizzle of maple syrup
* Agar is the plant-based equivalent of gelatin. It is used to form a firm jelly consistency of the cheese cream. The instructions of the package tell you how much to use depending on the volume of the cream you want to firm up. Since I ended up using a bit less than necessary, I had to leave my cake in the freezer in order to set properly. Don't worry, even if you do so, it still tastes great! In other words, if you end up not using agar, the cake will still firm up in the freezer. Some recipes call for coconut oil instead of agar, since the oil hardens up in the fridge and gives a hard structure to the cream layer. In my opinion, no matter what the recipe, most of the raw cakes do need to be put in the freezer for a couple of hours in order to set properly.
Start by blending the walnuts and dates for the crust in a food processor. Once a sticky dough is formed, press it into the bottom of a springform pan (15,5 cm diameter). You can place parchment paper on the bottom of the form prior to that. Leave the crust to set in the fridge while moving to the next step.
The best part is making the caramel! In a pan place the brown sugar, coconut milk and salt. Bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to low temperature and let it simmer for around 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. It is ready once the sauce is thick and with a caramel color. It's not going to be as thick as caramel at this point, but it will get there after cooling down. Once you take it off the heat, add the vanilla paste and the coconut oil, stir and set on the side in a jar either on the counter or in the fridge.
The next step is the making of the cheese cream. Combine all of the ingredients but the agar in a high speed blender until creamy smooth consistency. Cook the agar for 2 minutes in a bit of coconut milk and then add it to the cream and stir. Pour on top of the crust and let the cake set in the fridge or freezer. If you use agar, letting it sit overnight in the fridge is enough. If you don't or you are running short on time, let it sit in the freezer for a couple of hours.
Once the cheesecake is firm, pour the caramel layer on top. If the caramel is too hard or was sitting in the fridge, melt it by placing the jar in hot water (not directly on the stove). Stir until it gets runny enough and pour over the cheese layer. Set in the freezer again until it firms up.
Make sure your cake is firm enough and remove the form. Decorate the cake with pomegranate, caramelized walnuts and melted chocolate. Make sure the decoration is not hot when placing it on the cake. To caramelize the walnuts, in a pot on medium heat add some walnut pieces and a drizzle of maple syrup. Stir until the maple syrup evaporates and the walnuts get a dark caramel color. Once decorated, put the cake on a platter and let it set in the freezer.
Take the cake out of the freezer and let it thaw for a bit prior to serving.
Hope you enjoyed this recipe!
Sending you love,