Earth Café Vegan Raw Cheesecake Review and Giveaway

Earth Cafe Raspberry cheesecake

This cheesecake intrigued me.

Making a cheesecake gluten free is easy, just use gluten free cookie or cracker crumbs, or nuts for the crust. 

And I have made many successful dairy free desserts (and more) with silken tofu.

But a vegan and raw cheesecake? No eggs, no baking? How do they do that?

Very well!

Vegetarian Times magazine Foodie Awards 2010 named it a winner in the Best Raw Goodies category.

The “cheese” part is made with soaked nuts, agave, flavorings of lemon, vanilla, and cinnamon. And fresh fruit for the fruit flavors. Ground nuts make an excellent crust. I’ve never met a nut I didn’t like.

The filling was creamy and firm. The crust was crunchy. Our taste buds were happy, so was my tummy. And this is super important to me.

Specifics, please.

We tried five flavors. All came individually packaged in recyclable clamshells.

Nutrition info on the back of the package states there are two servings per package. So we cut each piece in two. And it was a nice ending to a meal. Cheesecake is high calorie whether it is “regular” or vegan or raw. A little piece is just right. Each serving is just shy of 200 calories, around 15 grams of carbohydrates and 15 grams fat.

Earth Café uses organic ingredients whenever possible.

Which did we like best?

Frist up was Who’s Your Daddy Carob Mousse Pie. This was my husband’s favorite and a top seller according to the company. It was light brown, very smooth, and sweet. My husband said it tasted like maple. I found it too sweet, but most people like things sweeter than I do.

Rockin’ Raspberry was my favorite. You can see how beautiful it is in the picture with the layer of whole berries in the middle. Fresh fruit is the first ingredient.  You could smell it and taste it. It wasn’t to sweet for me, and was sweet enough for my husband. A winner.

Find Your Thrill on Blueberry Hill flavor grabs you first with its beautiful color. Fresh Blueberries (first ingredient again) are pureed into the filling. It had blueberry scent and flavor. A hit with both of us again.

Cali Style Lemon had a bit of coconut aroma and tart lemon flavor. I don’t know what Cali style is, but I love lemon. Cashews were the first ingredient here and the filling was beige. Perhaps adding a bit of turmeric could make it a more appealing pale yellow.

Though we would not turn a slice down, Strawberry Fields Forever flavor was our least favorite. Strawberries were the first ingredient again, but we couldn’t taste or smell the berries. They were pureed into the filling, making it a lavender pink color.

You can visit Earth Café for five more flavors. They ship frozen whole cheesecakes in the U.S. for $34.99 plus shipping. Individual clamshells are available at select stores, with suggested retail of $5.29-5.99.

Giveaway

Leave a comment below by March 11 for a chance to win a free cheesecake. Two lucky winners will be randomly selected March 12, 2011.

Tell us which flavor you’d like to try. Will it be raspberry or Life is Sweet Potato Pie? Banana Cream or Cherry Dream?

Disclaimer

My review policy is to only post about products I like, whether I purchase them or they are free. If I don’t like the product, I simply don’t write about it. Earth Café cheesecakes were sent to us free of charge.

Update 3/16/11. The giveaway is now closed. The lucky winners are Nina and Pat. Enjoy!

Silky Tofu Chocolate Pudding aka Chocolate “Moose”

silky tofu chocolate pudding

silky tofu chocolate pudding or mousse photo by vsimon

Pudding,  mousse, or “moose.” Which is it?  

Whayever you want. It is the texture of pudding when it is served right away. It firms to mousse consistency when it is chilled for a few hours. How much liquid you add factors in too.

This recipe is very malleable. The only two constants required are silken tofu and chocolate. Liquid and sweetener choices are yours to make.

Kid friendly or upscale?

Either. Call it pudding or “moose” and serve it unadorned in simple bowls to please the kids. Heck, they can help make it.

Or call it mousse, elevate it in stemmed glassware, and add a fancy garnish. Say, fresh fruit, orange zest, a mint sprig. Now we are talking downtown! Also think Valentine’s Day for your babe. Very easy to make ahead.

Tofu? Isn’t that alien goo?

No, it is not. Tofu is made from soybeans, possibly grown in soil right here in the Midwest. Be sure to use silken tofu. When it is blended, you will not find anything that feels smoother in your mouth.

It comes in several varieties-soft, firm, extra firm, organic, lite. Any kind will work. Add less liquid when using soft tofu, more with extra firm. 

I use extra firm lite because it has fewer calories, something this 50 something body doesn’t need too many of.

Gluten free chocolate.

Several brands come to mind. I favor Ghirardelli semi sweet chocolate chips. There are others too. Read the labels, visit the FAQ sections of company websites. And call them if you have further questions. 

Low lactose? Dairy Free? It can be.

I use strong coffee for the liquid. You could use any kind of milk- soy, almond, hazelnut, hemp, rice. These would all make a dairy free delight.

You could even use cow milk, but then it would not be dairy free. It would still be much lower in lactose than “regular” pudding though.

And be sure to use dairy free chocolate if you need absolutely dairy free chocolate pudding. Enjoy Life is dairy free. Ghirardelli, even the very dark kinds, are not.

Sweetener, any issue can be accommodated.

First- type.

Most will work. Sugar-white, brown, dark brown, palm, date. Honey, maple syrup, agave. Even artificial sweeteners if that is your wish.

Some of these will change the flavor, but they will work.

And liquid sweeteners will thin the mousse a bit. You could cut back on the liquid to make sure you get the consistency you like.

I used dark brown sugar.

Second- amount.

The amount in the recipe is not overly sweet. Some folks may want more.

Make it your own

So mix and match your ingredients, choose the name, and how it is served. Any way, this is a foolproof recipe you will love to make again and again.

Silky Tofu Chocolate Pudding (or whatever you want to call it)

makes 6 servings metric measure
2 cups chocolate chips 300 mg
2-12 oz packages silken tofu, at room temp 700 mg
1/4 to 1/2 cup liquid 60 to 120 ml
1/4 cup sweetener (50 gm dark brown sugar)

In a microwave safe bowl, heat chips at 30 second intervals, stirring until smooth.

Put tofu into blender and process until smooth.

It is important for the tofu to be room temperature here, not chilled. Otherwise the melted chocolate may seize up into tiny, crunchy bits. And you will not achieve silky, satiny enlightenment.

Add melted chocolate, your choice of liquid, and sweetener. Process until smooth.

Serve or save.

Keep refrigerated and be sure to enjoy with in a week.

Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy

(reposted from 2009)

Tasty? Yes. Creamy? Yes. Healthy? Yes. Simple? Yes. 

Missing anything? No.

pumpkin_custard (5)

dairy free pumpkin custard photo by vsimon

You would never guess this creamy pumpkin custard is dairy free. I simply take a standard pumpkin pie filling recipe and substitute firm silken tofu for the evaporated milk in the recipe.

And can you believe it? I did not have the recipe written down. There are hundreds of recipes in my files, and no pumpkin custard recipe. Even though I make it every fall. Apparently, I have been relying on the recipe on the can, and the substitution was in my head. Time to write it down!

Uh oh, I am in trouble.

There was NO canned pumpkin in the store a few weeks ago. There was just a big, sad, bare, spot where the pumpkin usually resides. I could bake a pie pumpkin and use the flesh. But then it would not be a simple, easy recipe.

I am happy to report the store now has cases of canned pumpkin featured on the end caps. Cases and cases. The pile is as tall as I am.

So now we have pumpkin custard. This makes a perfect ending to a gluten free Thanksgiving. Or a pretty nice “on the go” breakfast when you have made it the night before. Protein, fiber, vitamin A.

I admit I have two if it is all I am having for breakfast. 🙂

pumpkin_custard

pumpkin custard, hold the dairy photo by vsimon

Pumpkin Custard, Hold the Dairy

Adapted from Libbey’s Famous Pumpkin Pie recipe. I ditched the crust, subbed tofu for evaporated milk, and increased the sugar a bit. Evaporated milk has some natural sweetness, tofu does not.

Yield: 6 servings metric measures
1 cup dark brown sugar 240 gm
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 3 gm
½ teaspoon ground ginger 1 gm
¼ teaspoon ground cloves .5 gm
½ teaspoon salt 3 gm
2 large eggs 100 gm
1-15 oz can pure pumpkin 425 gm
1-12 oz package firm silken tofu 350 gm
1/4 cup chopped pecans 30 gm

freshly grated nutmeg, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put dark brown sugar, spices, salt, eggs, pumpkin, and tofu in a blender and process until smooth, about a minute.

Place 6 ramekins in a 9×13 baking pan. Add water to the 9×13 pan, until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. This is called a water bath and allows gentle heat to bake the custard. You can bake the custard without it, but it won’t be quite as creamy.

Pour the pumpkin mixture into the ramekins. Bake for 30 minutes.

Allow to cool and remove ramekins from the 9×13 pan. Drain the water. Put the ramekins back in the 9×13 pan and cover with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Garnish with chopped pecans and nutmeg. Enjoy!

Note: you can substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice in place of the cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

11-1-09 These beauties were submitted to the pumpkin packed October issue of Go Ahead Honey, it is Gluten Free. This monthly blogging event was started by Naomi Devlin of Straight into Bed Cakefree and Dried. And hosted in October by Life, Gluten Free. There were over 20 sweet and savory ideas. Very tempting!

11-04-09 Mary Frances Pickett of Gluten Free Cooking School is holding a Thanksgiving blogging event. Head over and share your specialty. All are welcome, you do not need to have a blog.

11-15-09 Bon Appetit magazine is holding a blogger Holiday Bake-Off. I have entered these Pumpkin Custards. There are several categories, including cakes, pies, custards, cookies, more. Add your creations at BA Holiday Bake-Off. And be sure to vote for your favorite in each category.