Easy vegan cherry ‘cheesecake’ recipe (nut-free!)

Easy vegan cherry ‘cheesecake’ recipe (nut-free!)

Even though this isn’t a food blog, occasionally I do get so enthusiastic about ‘something food’ that I want to share it. This time it’s a vegan (no-)cheesecake recipe that I made up myself!

Of course, I didn’t invent cheesecakes or vegan varieties thereof, but I did spot the possibility of creating a vegan one without nuts and even with a limited number of ingredients. I tried and tested it several times, and it works! It even gets really delicious. Or in the words of my sister: very convincing.

Why it’s worth telling you about it? Well, vegan versions of cheesecakes are often made with cashew nuts. For someone like me who is vegan and cannot eat nuts, that’s just really discouraging. When searching for recipes to bake, I always have to sift through many of them until I find ‘the one’. Often I end up tweaking it still to work out the nuts.

So I am very happy that I figured this one out! Of course I took inspiration from some other recipes, but none had (the combination of) the spicy Speculoos cookie crust and a cherry soy yogurt filling. So I spotted an opportunity and here we are. 😉

The cookie crust recipe is almost literally taken from Vegan Pie in the Sky by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero, but I chose the specific cookies to bake it with.

Let’s add this one to the internet so more people can play with it! Here goes.

Ingredients:

Quantities for a springform pan/pie plate of ±24,3 cm ≈ 9,5 inch.

For the cookie crust:
250 gr Speculoos cookies (1 package) (or other vegan cookies)
4 Tbsp coconut oil/sunflower oil (+ more for the filling, see below)
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
1 Tbsp soy milk

For the filling:
400 ml coconut milk (1 can)
6 gr or 2,5 teasp agar-agar* (1 small package)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp coconut oil
500 ml Alpro soy yogurt cherry (1 package)
1 teasp vanilla extract or aroma

Optional toppings:
1 can Hak cherry pie fruit topping
vegan whipped cream*

The main ingredients lined up! Vanille aroma, coconut milk, coconut oil, Alpro soy yogurt cherry, Speculoos cookies, agar agar (Agaranta).
Not in the picture: sugar, soy milk, cornstarch, optional toppings

* Agar-agar or just ‘agar’ is a jelly-like substance that is obtained from algae (see Wikipedia for more info). When bought, it is a dry powder. Add it to liquid and bring to a boil to let it become a jelly. You can buy it in organic stores or Asian stores. In Asian stores, make sure you find one without food coloring like carmine/E120 which is not vegetarian or vegan.

Method:

For the pie crust:
To start, line the pie plate with baking/parchment paper and/or grease it with oil.
Preheat the oven to 180°C ≈ 350°F.

Crush the cookies in a food processor until it’s all powder-y or only few large crumbs remain. Alternatively, put the cookies in an airtight bag or in a cloth/towel, and crush them with a rolling pin or any other kitchen tool. The smaller the crumbs, the more even the texture of the pie crust.
If using coconut oil, melt the coconut oil (in a pan or a microwave). Add the oil (4 Tbsp), sugar (2 Tbsp) and the soy milk (1 Tbsp) to the cookie crumbs/powder. Stir with a spoon until it is mixed well.

Then, pour the mixture into the baking tin, use a spoon to distribute over the surface, and to press the mixture against the surface including the sides. Continue doing so until it forms an evenly thick layer of pie crust.

If it’s done, bake the cookie crust in the oven for 8-10 minutes.
Afterwards, take it out and let it cool off while you continue with the filling.

For the filling:
Start with a pouring half of the coconut milk into a saucepan. Add the agar-agar (6 gr or 2,5 teasp) and cornstarch (1 Tbsp) and stir well. Add the other half of the coconut milk and stir again. Bring it to a boil and boil for 2 minutes while continuously stirring.
Lower the heat.
Add the coconut oil (3 Tbsp) and stir again. Make sure the coconut oil melts.
Turn off the heat. Slowly add the soy yogurt and vanille extract/aroma (1 teasp), stir it again so all is evenly mixed.
Pour the filling into the pie crust. Let it sit on the counter for half an hour so it can start to cool off.
After that, store it in the fridge for 3+ hours to set.

Optional toppings:
In the Netherlands we can find ready-made fruity pie toppings in supermarkets: Hak taartfruit. I had never used it before, but thought it was fitting for this one: it’s vegan and there’s one with cherry. It basically consists of cherries, sugar and something (pectin?) to stick it together. If you like, you can pour this on top right before serving.
If you like (vegan) whipped cream, you may add some of that too!

It’s done, enjoy!

I was really excited about the result the first time I made it! For me, the pie is just the right amount of sweet, sour and creamy! The pie is mostly really fresh and light. The filling is basically yogurt with coconut milk, so it’s more of a yogurt pie than a cheesecake. The combination of the sour-y & creamy filling and the sweet, crunchy & spicy cookie crust is just perfect.

I made it first for my birthday in November. Back then I thought of it as a good autumn pie, but now that I’m having it again, I dig the freshness in spring too.

Of course you are free to use other types of cookies and a different type of soy yogurt. I myself am really happy to learn that this one was so easy to make, and that the cherry yogurt made it a cherry pie. I’d be happy to hear how it turns out with other varieties of soy yogurt.

If you choose to use the recipe in one form or another, let me know what you think! If you have any observations or suggestions, let me know. Also, if you discover another great combination or a different way to make a vegan nut-free cheesecake, you are more than welcome to let me know about that too.

Enjoy!

PS I wish I could deliver a more appealing picture of the pie, but I’m just a hobby blogger and this is the best one I got. So you’ll have to bake it to get a better view at it. That’s the true experience anyway!

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