Friday was my last day at work before I begin my maternity leave. So yesterday, I decided I wanted to make something sweet and special to celebrate this. Summer 2012 is going to be a pretty special one for me – giving birth to my first baby, turning 31 and moving to Wales with my fiancée. Life is beginning a new chapter.
I decided to combine two of my favourite sweet flavours together – strawberries and dark chocolate – to make a light but decadent ‘cheesecake’. British strawberries are now in season, so it’s a perfect time to embrace them in as many forms as possible!
The thought did cross my mind to name this dish a Celebration ‘Cheesecake’, but I wouldn’t want anyone to think it had anything to do with a certain national Royal celebration taking place this bank holiday. No, this ‘cheesecake’ (vegan of course), is a celebration of summer, new life and new beginnings.
Strawberry and Chocolate ‘Cheesecake’
Preparation/cooking time 40 mins plus cooling time
200g/7 oz vegan digestive biscuits
75g/2¾ oz vegan margarine
350g/12 oz silken tofu
200g/7 oz vegan cream cheese (Tofutti Original Creamy Smooth works well)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1-2 tbsp vanilla syrup or agave syrup
2 tbsp golden or maple syrup
2 tsp cornflour
150g/5½ oz strawberries, washed, topped and halved
25g/1 oz dark chocolate
1. Place biscuits into a food processor and blend into crumbs. If you want to do it by hand, put them in a plastic bag, beat and roll with a rolling-pin.
2. Melt your margarine and mix it into the biscuit crumbs in a medium-sized mixing bowl.
3. Lightly grease a 9″ pop-bottom flan tin, spoon in the biscuit crumb mix, pressing it down evenly all over with a spatula.
4. Pre-heat your oven to 200C/Gas Mark 6, then bake the base for 5 mins.
5. Meanwhile, place all remaining ingredients apart from the strawberries and chocolate in a mixing bowl and blend until smooth using a hand blender. Taste the mixture and see if is sweet enough. Add more of either syrup(s) to taste.
6. Remove base from oven. Pour ‘cheesecake’ mixture over and smooth out.
7. Return cake to the oven and bake for 20-30 mins until it has set. Test by touching the top of it lightly with your finger. It will be lightly golden.
8. Set aside to cool for around 20 mins.
9. Then arrange the strawberries on the top and grate the chocolate directly over it.
10. The ‘cheesecake’ is best served chilled, so refrigerate before eating if you can.