Thursday, February 5, 2009

Savory 'Yogurt Cheesecake' with Caramelized Onions

This savory 'cheesecake' makes a fun appetizer to spread over crackers or baguette slices. If you have any leftovers, try spreading it on whole wheat toast for breakfast! Be aware though: you have to start preparation for it the night before.

So, the night before, line a colander with 4 layers of cheesecloth and place the colander in a large bowl. Spoon one (32-ounce) can of plain soy yogurt (such as Silk) into the colander. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 12 hours.

12 hours later, spoon 1 and 3/4 cups of the 'yogurt cheese' into a bowl. Discard any liquid and any leftover yogurt cheese (or you could save the latter for another use - for ideas, see either my 'Yogurt Cheese' or Walnut-'Yogurt' Dip recipes, both from June 2008).

Spoon 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (such as Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese) into a large bowl, and beat with a mixer until smooth. Add the soy yogurt cheese, 1 cup crumbled firm tofu (in place of ricotta cheese), 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper and the equivalent of one egg using egg replacer (such as Ener-G). Beat just until combined; set aside.

Spoon out 1/2 cup all-purpose flour into a measuring cup, leveling with a knife. Place in a food processor along with 1/2 cup cornmeal, 1 teaspoon raw sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt and a dash of black pepper. Pulse about 3 or 4 times until combined.

Add in 2 and 1/2 tablespoons vegan butter (such as Earth Balance), cut into small pieces. Pulse about 4 times, until the mixture is like coarse meal. Add 1/4 cup ice water (which is just water and ice placed together in a bowl, to cool it way down). Process just until moist, but don't let the dough form into a ball.

Pat the cornmeal mixture into the bottom of an 8- or 9-inch springform pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then cool on a wire rack. Once cooled slightly (about 15 minutes), spoon the yogurt mixture over the prepared crust. Return to the oven and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, until almost set. It will continue to set as you cool it on a wire rack.

While all that baking is going on in the oven, prepare the onions: melt a teaspoon of vegan butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 8 cups - yes, 8 - of sliced onion. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in 1 tablespoon raw sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper; now cover and cook for 25 minutes until the onions are browned and tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.

That's it! Come time to serve, cut the 'cheesecake' into 10 wedges, and serve at room temperature. One wedge of 'cheesecake' plus about 2 tablespoons of the caramelized onions is 200 calories.

FYI, this was my first time using a springform pan, and it is fun.

plain soy yogurt $2.69
vegan cream cheese $2.99
firm tofu $1.69
onions $2.99

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The Vegan Pantry

  • Vegan yogurt - Whole Soy
  • Vegan milk - Silk
  • Vegan Feta - Sunergia
  • Vegan Cheese - Galaxy Foods
  • Vegan Eggs - Ener-G
  • Vegan Butter - Earth Balance