Vegan Cheesecake

Anne and I ate at Busboys and Poets recently, and she loves their vegan cheesecake. I claimed I could make one at home, and she accepted the challenge. This recipe is pretty easy, but it requires a bunch of ingredients that I don't normally have on hand, like dates.

I found this recipe here and followed it mostly, making some slight modifications.

1 cup nuts (I used a mixture of pecans and almonds, but you can use walnuts, macadamia nuts etc.)
15 or so dates soaked in water for a few minutes
1 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup cashews (soaked for at least 6 hours)
1/2 cup firm tofu, drained
1/2 cup vegan cream cheese
1/2 cup vegan sour cream
2/3 cup agave
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare the crust first. Blend the nuts, coconut and cinnamon in a food processor.  While running, add the dates one at a time. The mixture is ready when it stops looking crumbly and is a bit stickier (sticky enough that you can form balls with it). Pour the nut/date mixture into a pie dish and press evenly so it comes up the sides and is relatively uniform across the dish.

Clean out the food processor mixing bowl and blade.

Drain the cashews and process all the cheesecake ingredients together until very smooth. Stop occasionally and taste the mixture to make sure the nuts are completely pulverized. It took me quite a few minutes of running the food processor to get the cake batter as smooth as I wanted it.

Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared dish with the crust and smooth out evenly.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350, then lower the temperature to 250 and bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool on a wire wrack for a bit. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge overnight (or for at least 6 hours). This allows the cake to set properly. When you are ready to serve, remove from the fridge for a few moments before cutting. Optional: serve with fruit of choice, i.e. raspberries, strawberries, etc.