Easter has come and gone! Thank goodness because I was counting down the days to a much anticipated Easter brunch with my best girls. This day was to include fancy hats, long dresses, and lots of mimosas. Oh, and making an outstanding brunch of course. We decided that Sarah would make a vegetable mini quiches, Jocelyn would make banana bread, and I would make blueberry cheesecake. These were all vegan too! It was a challenge. I did not get any pictures of the blueberry cheesecake, as it went very quickly. We liked it so much we had some before the quiche and after as dessert.
The day went by faster than I would have liked. It started out at Sarah's with mimosas. We put frozen strawberries on the bottom of our flutes and used a mango-orange juice to kick it up a notch. It was a very striking cocktail. When we ran out (which didn't take long) we switched it up to Absolut Peach with the mango-orange juice plus a bit of soda water. We packed it all in my lovely picnic basket and took the cocktails to Colonial Lake to people watch and hopefully not get in trouble with the cops for drinking in public. In our hats and flowing dresses, we brought the party to the lake. Each person that approached us made a comment on our hats. My favorite was from a homeless man who told us we looked like flowers. We all agreed and tried to pick flower names. Somehow, I ended up being "coon-tail" which is not a flower, nor does that nick name even apply to that day (long story).
More pictures to come.... but until then.. here is the recipe for the blueberry cheesecake.
Blueberry Cheesecake for a Vegan Brunch
16 oz Tofutti Better than Cream Cheese
1 c raw sugar
1/4 c vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
3/4 bag frozen blueberries or about 3 cups fresh
4 tbsp Kuzu Root*
1 package of vanilla snaps
1/2 cup vegan butter
1/2 cup barley or other crunchy cereal/granola (I use Grapenuts)
Blueberry Compote (spoon over cheesecake when serving)
The rest of the frozen blueberries or about a cup of fresh
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp kuzu root*
1/4 c raw sugar
* Kuzu root is a vegan replacement for gelatin that works as a thickener. You should be able to buy it at a health food store or Whole Foods. Try not to use gelatin anyway, it's made from animal bones and horse hooves. Gross.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Begin by combining the butter and sugar in a bowl. Whipping with a hand-held mixer gives the creamiest results. Gradually beat in the cream cheese, one package at a time. In a separate bowl, add 2 tablespoons water for each tablespoon of Kuzu root. Mix in the kuzu, then water, and so on in a separate bowl until it is a white, liquidy mixture. It should be fairly runny. Add the kuzu mixture and beat until smooth. Fold in the blueberries until just combined. Set aside. This can be made in advance and stored in the fridge all day if necessary.
To make the crust, crush the vanilla snaps in a food processor until some pieces are very small and there are a few bigger chunks. I feel this makes for a crunchier crust, but if you like it smaller, feel free to grind away. Melt the butter and combine with the cookies in a bowl. Add the Grapenuts, or whatever you decide to use. You may need a bit more butter, so feel free to ad-lib.
Press crust into a greased springform pan or if you don't have one, a glass brownie pan works great too. Pour in cheesecake mixture and place in center rack in oven for 30-45 minutes, checking it at 30 minutes.
Now in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the extra blueberries and sugar. When the sugar and blueberries melt together a bit, add the coconut milk. You want to just use the thick coconut cream on the top of the can, using only a little liquid from the bottom. It will make for a creamier mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together kuzu root with water. Gradually stir in the kuzu root with a whisk. The mixture should start to thicken after a few minutes. The heat activates the kuzu root, so if you want a thicker mixture, use higher heat- but don't burn it!!!!
Let cheesecake cool overnight for best results. Reheat the blueberry compote and spoon it over the cheesecake before serving. So ridiculously good... I promise. ;)