When I was younger, I was the girl who listened to exclusively broadway musicals, who didn’t have cable, and who read books like Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights at the age of 10. So, when a friend invited me to a Bare Naked Ladies concert with her (yes, I still managed to have at least some friends), I was surprised to find out that, not only were these “ladies” not at all naked, but that they were actually men.
I guess you could call this recipe the Bare Naked Ladies of key lime cheesecakes. Not only did I not use key limes (just the normal, everyday variety), but I also didn’t use any cheese. Or cheese substitute. And Gennaro was a little thrown off by my initial cheesecake description because he said the texture is somewhere between a key lime pie and a cheesecake. But what was I going to call this, Regular Lime Cheesecake-Like Tofu Thing? Key lime cheesecake was much more simple.
In my last post I mentioned my never-ending (and never accomplished) to-do list. In addition to that, I could have mentioned snaping photos at the Union Square Greenmarket, which wouldn’t exactly be fair, because it has become more of a hobby ( an escape from the to-dos in my life) than anything else. Some of my prints are available on smugmug (I also provided a link in my sidebar). I went to a local art supply store yesterday, which, incidentally, was filled with NYU art students and made me realize that in my next life, I want to be an artist. Anyways, I found out that you can purchase some pretty cheap 8×10″ mattes that fit 5×7 photos. Once my prints were matted, I slipped them into some clear, 8.5×11.25″ clear slips and sealed them (also available at art supply stores or paper supply stores). Before I knew it, I had some professional-looking photos, and that was it for my Christmas shopping. It’s feeling like a homemade gift kind of year…
So, a final word on my Bare Naked Cheesecake. I’ve been working on a cheescake-ish dish for awhile. I discovered the recipe for the perfect crust, and have been tinkering with the filling ever since, which is where things have gotten tricky. You see, my crust calls for 1/2 cup of almond meal, and another 1/4 cup of Earth Balance. That’s 3/4 of a cup of fat-filled ingredients. They may be mostly good fats, but they’re calories nonetheless, which is why it was my goal to stay as low-fat as possible for the filling. While coconut oil and processed dairy-free cream cheese may have made excellent additions here, I went with agar flakes, which provide a firm texture without any added fat or calories. So while this might not taste or feel exactly like a “real” cheesecake (though I think the crust is as close a gluten-free, sugar-free substitute as you can get…) you can rest knowing it’s much, much better for you as well.
I’m also off agave (again) after this dessert, and I tried to go easy on it as it was. You could definitely up the sweetness if you wish, but as a serving suggestion, I recommend making the recupe as-is and drizzing some agave on the top to serve, for those who want it.
The Perfect Cheesecake Crust:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup Trader Joe’s Almond Meal (or similar brand)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup Earth Balance Buttery Spread (cold; tightly packed)
2 tablespoons agave nectar
zest of one lime
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Add all ingredients to a food processor fitted with a sharp, steel blade. Process until the crust is the texture of damp sand. Turn out into a 9″ nonstick springform pan (you may need to pre-grease if not non-stick). Press evenly into the bottom of pan and slightly up the sides of the pan, using the bottom of a measuring cup. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until browned evenly along the edges. Let cool.
I used mango in the filling to add bulk and to enhance the tropical flavor. My mango was barely ripe, so it did not do much to change the texture or sweetness of the dish. The riper the mango you use, the more sweet and dark your cheesecake will likely turn out, and the more the mango flavor will come out (which is not necessarily a bad thing).
1/2 cup water
9 tablespoons fresh squeezed lime juice (requires about 2-3 limes, depending on size and juciness)
1 tablespoon agar-agar flakes
1 16-oz. package firm tofu
1 cup not-too-ripe mango, diced
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup agave nectar
zest of 1 lime
1. In a small saucepan, bring water, lime juice and agar flakes to a boil. Whisk until agar is dissolved. Reduce to a simmer and, using fingers, crumble tofu into saucepan. Stir to combine and heat until tofu is heated through.
2. Pour ingredients from saucepan into a food processor fitted with a sharp, steel blade or a high-speed blender. Process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients and process again until smooth. Pour mixture over pre-baked crust and place in refrigerator. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours or up to 8 hours (the longer, the better, to enhance the flavor) before serving.