Since that nut free Vanilla Raspberry Swirl Cheesecake I made last weekend turned out so good, I decided that this weekend I needed to make a chocolate one for all of you chocolate lovers out there. You know who you are, the people who can never resist anything chocolate, and always choose it over vanilla. Eric (my boyfriend) is like that. In fact, the first dessert I ever made for his Birthday was a raw Mexican chocolate cheesecake. I don’t hate on chocolate just because I usually have a thing for vanilla. In fact this week I have been craving something decadent and chocolaty so it is a win for everyone me making the chocolate cheesecake this weekend.
I didn’t want to make anything that was too difficult either, and vegan cheesecakes are usually pretty straight forward. What mattered to me here was that the cheesecake be rich, decadent and still be healthier than traditional cheesecake. I think I achieved all of that.
For the crust, I my usual go to crust of oats, coconut and dates but with cacao powder this time to make it rich and sort of raw brownie like. It was the perfect base for the richness to come. The filling is a little unusual. Like the other nut free cheesecake I made last weekend, I included chickpeas in this one for the creamy filling instead of my usual go-to cashews. And you know what? You can not even tell the difference once it is all blended up. Once you add in the cacao powder you would never even know that they are in there! Also, this cheesecake is completely fruit sweetened as well as an added bonus, because I used dates this time instead of maple syrup.
Dates are nature’s candy, and I love using them in desserts. Anyways, back to that cheesecake filling…it was delicious even before I poured it into the crust. Like a dreamy chocolate mousse that I could eat out of a bowl. I decided to stir vegan chocolate chips into it to make it even more delicious!
1 sleeve graham crackers (or sub similar gluten-free cracker/cookie)
4 1/2 Tbsp melted vegan butter or coconut oil
12 ounces firm silken tofu (slightly drained and patted dry)
1/2 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter (I like Trader Joe’s brand)
1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or sub honey if not vegan)
1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk OR coconut cream (1 can yields ~1 3/4 cups // chilled overnight // no shaking the can- you want the cream and liquid to remain separate)
CHOCOLATE GANACHE TOPPING
1 cup semisweet dairy-free chocolate chips
1/3 cup non-dairy milk (I used full-fat coconut, but almond milk is fine, too)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and lightly oil a standard glass pie pan (8 inches x 1 1/4 inches // as original recipe is written).
Add graham crackers to a food processor and process until you achieve a semi-fine meal. A little texture is OK, just remove any large pieces that didn’t get ground. Add melted butter and pulse to combine.
Add to greased pie pan and press down with your fingers to flatten. You can lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top when pressing down to ensure a more uniform layer. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool.
Add tofu, peanut butter, maple syrup or agave to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more agave for added sweetness or a pinch of salt if your peanut butter wasn’t very salted.
Next, scoop out the cream of your coconut milk or cream and whip into whipped cream in a large, chilled mixing bowl. Find trouble-shooting tips here. Optional: sweeten with a little powdered sugar and vanilla.
Fold the peanut butter-tofu mixture into the whipped cream.
Pour filling over crust and pop in the freezer to chill. Once it’s fairly chilled and slighty firm (about 1 hour), prepare your ganache.
Add chocolate chips to a bowl and heat your non-dairy milk to a low simmer. Then pour over chocolate chips and don’t touch for 5 minutes to allow it to melt. Then stir gently with a spoon or rubber spatula until a smooth ganache forms. If it doesn’t quite melt, you can also heat it in the microwave in 10 second increments until smooth and melted.
Spoon over the top of the pie and spread in an even layer with a knife or spatula, working quickly as the ganache will get clumpy if it sets too long.
Top with crushed, salted roasted peanuts (optional) and pop back in the freezer to set. 20-30 minutes before serving, remove from freezer and serve. Alternatively, you can chill this in the fridge, but it is much more delicate to slice and serve, but just as delicious.
After the initial chill, make sure you cover the pie with plastic wrap to keep it fresh.