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Monday, February 9, 2015

Cheesecake with Cranberry Sauce for One

This little pie is just the touch of elegance you need with your cuppa on a winter’s night. If you have leftover cranberry sauce, all the better, as making this tiny amount might be silly. I don’t have any trouble using a full batch because I like to use cranberry sauce in my oatmeal, on ice cream, stirred into cookie dough, in sandwiches, stirred into muffin mixture, blopped on top of toast or scones, and—ta-da—on top of cheesecake!

For the Crust:
1 pitted medjool date
2 TBLSP nuts (I like a mix of walnuts, almonds, and peanuts)
A sprinkle of Chinese Five Spice (yes, really)
2 TBLSP shredded coconut
For the Filling:
¼ cup cashews, soaked for four hours or overnight
1 ounce firm tofu (about the size of your thumb)
2 TBLSP vegan cream cheese
2 TBLSP vegan sour cream
4 teaspoons maple syrup
A squirt of lemon juice (about a wedge’s worth)
A slosh of vanilla extract
For the Cranberry Sauce:
4 TBLSP fresh cranberries
2 TBLSP granulated sugar
2 TBLSP water
¼ of an orange’s zest
(If you’re making a full batch, it’s 2 cups of berries, 1 cup each of sugar and water, and the whole orange’s zest.)

To Make the Crust:
  1. Cover the date in water. It doesn’t need to soak long, just a few minutes.
  2. Put the nuts, Chinese five spice, and coconut in a blender or food processor and whirl away while the date is soaking.
  3. When the other ingredients are thoroughly combined, add in the date. Keep whirling in the blender or food processor until it’s a sticky lump.
  4. Press the dough into a 4- or 5-inch pie pan or two ramekins and set aside.

To Make the Filling:
  1. Drain the cashews and put them in the blender or food processor with the tofu, cream cheese, sour cream, maple syrup, lemon juice, and vanilla extract. Pulse and whirl until everything is very smooth, perhaps four minutes.

To Assemble the Pie:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  1. Pour the filling into the prepared crust, spreading it evenly and smoothing the top with a spatula.
  2. Bake for 20 minutes at 350, then turn the oven down to 250 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for another 20 minutes.
  3. Cover with plastic wrap and then let it recline in splendor in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Leave it there as long as you can stand it—overnight is even better. I can never wait that long, though.

To Make the Cranberry Sauce:
(A full-sized batch is 2 cups of cranberries, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, zest of a whole orange. Two cups of cranberries is about what’s in one of those packets they sell all winter in the US.)
  1. In a small sauce pan, combine the berries, sugar, water, and zest and bring it to a boil. The sauce is finished when the berries have burst or turned mushy, about 6-7 minutes.
  2. Take off the heat and let it cool to room temperature.

You can sauce the whole little pie, or if you’re being more delicate about it, serve yourself a slice and sauce that. If you’re being posh, put a smear of the sauce on a plate and settle a slice of the pie into it. Or, if you really like the sauce, set the cake into a puddle of it and then pour more over the top. Yummmy! 

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