2 days to V-Day so start priming. Be different this Thursday. Trackie bum loyalists - give those contours a little exposure! And for those of you who dress to the nines everyday, loosen-up - perhaps an over-sized sweater to curl up by the fireplace might be nice. Dare and declare to be different this valentines day – the results will be smoldering.
Another place to add some jazz for the night is in your valentines day spread. I don’t know about you, but this is where I get really predictable. There is always some kind of overtly gooey chocolate cake. Whilst it tastes great, where is the element of surprise? How about a valentines day filled with the unexpected layer after layer, bite after bite and sip after sip?
Since dessert isn’t my forte, I went to hang out with my friend Fernanda Capobianco, owner of bakery ‘Vegan Diva’ in Manhattan. As we sat giggling away, exchanging notes on how to spike-up the evening, she recommended I make a passion fruit vegan cheesecake. This has to be it! There’s even passion in the name. Fernanda assured me that it wasn’t too complicated (such reassurances are mission critical to me). We headed down to the kitchen to do a trial run. What fun!
Not only will the desert taste great as it is given a finishing touch of raspberry jam, gated by shards of white chocolate, but it also tastes ‘clean’ as it swaps out heavy dairy for vegan ingredients. The cheesecake shuns its back on the traditionally lethargic desert and the sweetness is towed in line with a burst of passion fruit excitement. It will set the tone to what lies ahead.
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Thanks for the great recipe Fernanda along with the other tips and tricks you shared!!
Recipe for Passion Fruit Cheesecake
1 container Tofutti brand cream cheese alternative
12 oz. or one package silken tofu
1/3 cup soymilk
1/3 cup corn starch
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. maple syrup (optional)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup passion fruit puree (frozen section of the supermarket)
3 tsp. egg replacer
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 pre-made vegan piecrust (http://whollywholesome.com/products/pie-shells.phphttp://whollywholesome.com/products/pie-shells.php and available at many health food stores)*also available at WholeFoods
1cup organic raspberry jam
½ cup of white chocolate shavings (picture has thin broken white chocolate sheets but shavings work just as well)
1) Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the egg replacer with the water in a small bowl until smooth and add to blender. Blend together all ingredients, except for oil and crust at medium speed until smooth. Mixture should be thick and creamy. Slowly incorporate oil by pouring in at low speed.
2) Pour into piecrust and bake 45-50 minutes or until just barely firm. The cheesecake will not change color or rise up, but don’t be afraid to take it out of the oven!
3) Allow to cool and refrigerate or freeze slightly before serving and it will firm up to the proper texture.
4) Enjoy your tofu cheesecake! Garnish with organic raspberry jam and .
Saira Malhotra, is of British–Indian descent and is a chef, food writer and cooking instructor based in New York City. Raised in Hounslow, U.K, or rather ‘Little India’, where the air is aromatic with roasted spices, little did Saira know these moments would follow her from being a student in France and Italy to residing in NYC with her husband and kids and parlay themselves unexpectedly in to a culinary career. She is a graduate of the International Culinary Center in New York City. Come visit her at her food blog: www.passportpantry.com where she shares approachable and international recipes