Saturday, October 11, 2008

Vegan MOFO Day 11 - Iron Chef - Pears and Nuts

I missed yesterday due to travel once again. I am hoping to make up for lost time this weekend. To this end I bring you my contribution to this week's iron chef challenge. This week's ingredients were pears and any type of nuts. Apparently as a hypothyroid sufferer, I am supposed to avoid pears. I don't eat them very often, so I figured why not throw caution to the wind. I found some lovely local organic red bartlett pears at Whole Paycheck. They were so sweet and juicy, it was hard not to eat the plain, but I had a mission.

My original idea was to do something in puff pastry, but I didn't want to wait for it to thaw. Then I thought about taking the super easy route and making a smoothie. Suddenly this adventurous spirit came over me and I decided to do something I had never done before; create my own cheezecake recipe. Honestly I was concerned about screwing up something with lots of expensive ingredients, but what the hell, isn't that what being iron is all about anyway?

I bring you my very first original cheezecake style recipe.

Pear Maple Cheezecake with Toasted Pecan Oat Crust

For Crust

1 C chopped pecan pieces, toasted
1 C quick cooking oats
1 Tablespoon granulated cane sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup Earth balance, melted

In food processor put pecans, oats, and sugar. Process until it resembles a meal. Drizzle melted Earth balance and vanilla over the mixture and blend with a fork.

For Filling

12 oz. package extra-firm silken tofu (preferably organic)
1 8 oz. containter non-hydrogenated toffutti cream cheese
2 Tablespoons light coconut milk
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons brandy
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 Tablespoon dark molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch allspice

Preheat oven to 350. In food processor, crumble tofu. Add cream cheese and blend until smooth. Make a slurry with coconut milk and cornstarch. Add the slurry and the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Make sure to scrape sides a couple of times. Let mixture sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, lighty oil a 9" springform pan. Press crust mixture on bottom. Pour filling on top of crust. Slice unpeeled pears in uniform thin slices. Arrange in a circle, slightly overlapping, starting from the center and working your way out to the edge of the pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes reduce heat to 325 and bake for 30 more minutes until cake only wiggles slightly. Cool to room temperature on a rack then refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.

I haven't cut into it yet, so I am not sure how the recipe turned out. I wanted to type it up before I forgot how I made it. I will post a follow up here tomorrow when we cut into it. The filling pre-baking was really good. I have high hopes for this one!

The results are in. This is a wonderful fall treat. The crust is my favorite part. It is wheat free too! The maple, pecan, pear combination is really good. The texture came out very creamy and rich. I may add a bit more cornstarch to give it a slightly more firm texture, but it really is quite tasty as is. If you try the recipe, let me know how yours came out.


  1. Oh my God. Did you dream about this too?

  2. It's been sitting in my fridge just waiting to be cut. We are going to have it for dessert tonight. I can't wait to see how it turned out. The torture!!!

  3. I am speechless!!
    That looks and sounds amazing!!
    Well done!