I was at my local Try-n-Save the other day, doing my weekly torture of how little I can buy yet still blow an entire paycheck. I had wanted to make cheesecake for the Crazy Cooking Challenge, so I sauntered over to the dairy section to pick up ricotta for an Italian style cheesecake. In a futile effort to find one with zero calories, I noticed a new brand. Upon looking harder I saw that Tofutti now has a parve version of ricotta. "Wow! Taste me!" it exclaims on the label. Wow! Who could ignore such a raving review? I took a chance and took a container home (after purchasing it, of course).
Tofutti "cream cheese" and "sour cream" are essentially smooth wallpaper paste but with less flavor. But when mixed with other ingredients, they both make decent non-dairy alternatives. At first glance the ricotta style resembled its plastic cousins. With great hesitation I pulled out a spoon and took a tiny taste.
Ya know, it wasn't bad! The slight gritty mouth-feel is virtually the same as store-brand dairy. The taste is a little less so, but definitely not the plastic I was expecting.
Now what do I do with it? Oh, yeah, the challenge. I already had my very own recipe for Italian Cheesecake, but per CCC rules I needed to make and blog about someone else's. Luckily I found Olga's recipe over at Food Geeks. It's crustless (the recipe, not the blog), which removes a couple of steps. I didn't bother with separating the eggs in order to keep this as easy as possible.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a non-dairy dessert, but you can substitute real cheese for a dairy alternative.
The taste? Almost like a tangy sponge-cheesecake, for lack of a better description, but good enough to serve to company without shame. I still had raspberries left over from my great raspberry experiment, so I simply dropped some into a saucepan, stirred in some sugar and a little lemon juice and simmered until the berries broke down a tad. Not a bad pairing. Serve the cheesecake topped with the raspberry sauce, with confectioners' sugar, or both.
Parve Black Raspberry Ricotta Cheesecake
Adapted from Food Geeks
Yield: one cheesecake (about 8-10 polite servings)
1 (16 oz.) container parve ricotta cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. grated lemon zest (about 1/2 a lemon)
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting, optional
Black Raspberry Sauce (see recipe below), optional
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Coat the inside of a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray. Set aside.
Break the eggs into a large mixing bowl; add sugar and beat with an electric mixer on high speed (if using a kitchen-aid or another high powered mixer, use the 8 setting) until pale yellow and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
Pour mixture into prepared pie pan.
Bake until it is deep golden brown+, about 60 minutes. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, run a sharp paring knife around the edge of the pan to separate the cheesecake from the sides of the pan, but leave cheesecake in pan. Place pan to a wire rack and let the cheesecake cool completely. Cover and refrigerate until serving, at least 3 hours, depending upon your fridge, up to a day.
|Didn't bother with the confectioners' sugar.|
Black Raspberry Sauce
Makes 1/2 cup
Can substitute red raspberries
1 cup black raspberries
2 Tbl. granulated sugar
2 Tbl. fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a 1 quart saucepan. Set over medium-low flame and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture starts to boil.
Lower heat and continue to simmer for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, or until raspberries start to break down. Remove from heat and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use, up to 3 days.