COVID has brought many changes to people’s lives, one of which is folks thinking more about their health. Over the past year and a half, a growing trend has been more people turning to veganism, for a variety of reasons.
As someone with a dairy allergy, often our family recipes end up being vegan anyway, but recipes like cheesecake use eggs. Because several extended family members are now vegan, I decided to experiment with making a vegan cheesecake.
Many recipes I found utilized nuts which we cannot have due to allergies, so I went to the very basics which is that a cheesecake is usually cream cheese, sugar, and eggs. So, the issues were twofold: how to bind the cheesecake without using eggs and how to add the liquid which came from eggs.
In the end I used a vegan condensed milk which added both the sweetener and the liquid, and I opted for cornstarch to help bind. The result was a creamy, delicious cheesecake which we all enjoyed.
Vegan Lemon Cheesecake
2 1/4 cups gluten, dairy, nut free gingersnap cookie crumbs (an 8 oz bag of your favorite allergy friendly brand, pulsed into crumbs)
1/4 cup melted vegan butter (use your favorite brand)
Three 8 ounce containers of vegan cream cheese (use your favorite type), at room temperature
11 oz vegan sweetened coconut condensed milk (use your favorite brand)
1/2 cup lemon juice (fresh squeezed in best)
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp lemon extract
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Wrap the outside of a 9 inch springform pan with a couple of layers of aluminum foil, and bring water to a boil for later use.
- Mix together the gingersnap cookie crumbs with the melted butter and evenly spread the crumbs into the springform pan, patting the crumbs into a solid crust.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and allow it to cool.
- Beat the cream cheese until smooth. Scrape down sides frequently.
- Add the sweetened condensed coconut milk, lemon juice, cornstarch and lemon extract, and blend until completely combined and smooth.
- Pour into the springform pan and spread evenly over the cookie crumb crust.
- Place the cheesecake into a pan larger than the springform pan and pour the boiling water into the pan until the water is about halfway up the springform pan.
- Bake the cheesecake for 60 to 65 minutes until the cheesecake is mostly firm and just slightly jiggly in the center. A knife inserted at the edge of the cheesecake will come out clean.
- Turn off the oven, and with the oven door open, let the cheesecake cool for 45 minutes to an hour inside the oven.
- Put the cheesecake in the fridge and allow it to cool for several hours or overnight.
- Once the cheesecake has solidified in the fridge, run a butter knife around the edge to loosen it from the springform pan, and remove the cheesecake.
- Serve plain, with vegan cream, and/or decorated with fruit.