Last night I remembered that the Iron Chef Challenge was announced earlier that day. I checked it out, saw it was pears and nuts, and started thinking about things I could do. There was the obvious (muffins, salads), so I decided to stick with the whole reason I created this blog: real stick to your ribs vegan food that you could confidently bring to a church potluck and no one would have a clue that you hippiefied it. I summoned up my inner Paula Deen, did a little research (I'm still a little rusty with off the cuff baking), and came up with this little number. At 4:07am.
Asian Pear Streusel Cheesecake with Ginger and Almonds
Rich and sugary enough for the kids, and just weird enough to be hip.
1 8oz pkg tofutti cream cheese
12 oz firm silken tofu
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 vegan shortbread crust (I used a Keebler)
2 medium Asian pears, cored and sliced in thin half-moons.
1 tbsp sugar
1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds (I had slivered left over from yesterday)
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. crystallized ginger
1/3 c. all purpose flour
1/4 cup cold Earth Balance margarine
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350°.
In a food processor, combine the tofu, cheese, and sugar. Process until all the sugar is incorporated and not all grainy in there. It means lots of spoon licking, but the things we must do...
Whisk together the lemon juice, almond extract, and cornstarch. Dump it in the processor and blend it in. Once incorporated, dump the whole thing into your crust. Bake for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool down a little. A couple hours or so. Put a piece of foil over it so your BAD CATS don't paw at it.
Melt a blop of Earth Balance in a large frying pan. Toss the pear slices with the tbsp sugar. Cook the pears slowly, over a low flame until caramelized and golden. Remove from heat, and let cool (I did this step while the cheesecake was baking, so it would be cool to handle).
Preheat oven to 400°.
Make your topping. Put all that stuff in the food processor and process to crumbs. The ginger might take a couple more pulses to really break up, so don't worry about your topping being not crumby enough.
Arrange your cooled pear slices in a tight fan pattern around the top of the cake. Layer some more in the middle. It won't be all high and pointy once it's baked. Sprinkle the topping all over. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on the counter, then in the fridge for a few hours.
By the way, I got impatient and had a piece, but it wasn't fully set up yet and the picture would have sucked, but ohmyfreakinggod it was so good. *patting self on the back*