Monday, March 9, 2015

Vanilla Bean Tofu Cheesecake

This past weekend was so amazing. It was a balmy 30F. I walked the dog in just a fleecy hoodie and I barely shivered. I also felt tremendously productive. I managed to make and document three blog posts' worth of content and I finished reading Gone Girl. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed with how it ended - it was so dramatic throughout that the ending seemed anticlimactic - but it was still a great read. If anyone has any book recommendations, send them my way. I've always been in love with reading but even more so, now that I can download anything I want with the tap of a finger.

That's enough small talk, I think. Let's talk about today's cheesecake. I hadn't made (or eaten) cheesecake in a long time (like years) but then, I watched that episode of Friends where Chandler and Rachel obsess over a cheesecake from Mama's Little Bakery (delivered from Chicago, IL to their apartment instead of Mrs. Braverman's). When Rachel describes the cake she says, "It had a buttery, crumbly, graham cracker crust, with a very rich yet light, cream cheese filling… Wow! My whole mouth just filled with saliva!" It gave me an automatic craving for cheesecake.

I shared a tofu cheesecake recipe three years ago and I thought it was time for an update. Prettier photos, adjusted recipe, you know, the works. You may be thinking, "Tofu? Gross!" But the tofu just adds a lightness to the filling. It's how you achieve that "very rich yet light" texture.
Ingredients [yields 1 regular 8" round, 4 regular 4" mini rounds, 2 thin 8" rounds, or 8 thin 4" mini rounds]:
16 oz. silken tofu, room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 tablespoon orange zest (or lemon zest)
1 vanilla bean, scraped
3 eggs, room temperature
⅔ cup sugar
¼ cup flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8.8 oz. package Biscoff cookies or ½ package Biscoff cookies and ½ package chocolate wafers
¼ cup butter, melted
butter for greasing
*If you plan on making thinner cheesecakes (less cheesecake filling) double the amount of crust
Start by pulsing the cookies in a food processor - or smashing them by hand in a zip top baggie - to small crumbs. If you're using a food processor, make sure to give the whole thing a few good pulses before whizzing it up, otherwise, you're bound to end up with one rogue humongous crumb that just goes for a spin without getting crushed. Or does this only happen to me?
And if you're going for a chocolaty crust, use half Biscoff and half chocolate wafer.
Add melted butter to the crumbs and toss together until all of the crumbs are moistened.
Grease the tins and pour in the cookie crumbs and pat them in. I definitely recommend springform pans for making cheesecakes.
I used the chocolate crumbs in my mini springform pans.
To make the cheesecake filling, zest some orange and scrape the caviar from the vanilla bean.
Add the tofu, orange zest, salt, sugar, cream cheese, flour, eggs, vanilla caviar, and vanilla extract to a blender.
Blend until smooth.
Pour the filling into the pan (or pans) and let them sit for about 10 minutes just to let the larger air bubbles dissipate. I thought I should mention that I made a single batch of cream cheese filling and a double batch of crumbs (one plain, one chocolate) so that I could have super crumby cheesecakes because I love crumbs. I split the filling between one 8" round and four mini 4" rounds. Obviously, if you're normal and making a normal cheesecake, you'll use just one 8" round (or alternately, four mini rounds) and have a thicker amount of filling. I thought I'd just throw that information out there if you started to scroll down and then wondered why my cheesecakes were so thin.
Place the pans in a hot water bath and bake at 325F for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the filling sets. Shake the pan and if the filling doesn't jiggle or slosh, then it's done.
Let the cakes cool and then chill them in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
Run a knife around the edge, just to make sure the cake isn't stuck, and then pop off the springform edge.
And all that's left to do is dig in! The cheesecake filling is just as Rachel (Green) described. It's rich but incredibly light, thanks to the silken tofu, and the crust is super buttery and delicious. And of course, the delicious vanilla bean flecks are gorgeous. If I dropped this on the floor, I would totally crouch down with my fork; yes, it's that good.
Here's the recipe page:

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