Last week I asked followers of my Facebook page to suggest some naughty foods they wanted to be ‘healthanized’. I always have tonnes of ideas of my own, but figured it would be nice to open up the question to you guys…what indulgent foods would you like a healthier version of? A little guilt free indulgence is good for the soul, right?
A few ideas to work on, but one that stood out to me right away was ‘turtle cheesecake’. Now, I’d never heard of turtle cheesecake over here in the UK (I am just behind the times or is it just a US thing!?) So intrigued by the name I set off to google it…woah! A cheesecake characterised by chocolate caramel and pecans!
The other reason the cheesecake appealed was because I have never actually made a vegan cheesecake (come to think of it I don’t think I even made regular cheesecake back in the day). Most of the recipes I came across were based on a blend of silken tofu and toffutti cream cheese substitute. I don’t have a major issue with either of these products but out of choice I generally prefer to avoid cheese substitutes (since eat a vegan diet on a largely nutritional basis I feel that I may as well have the ‘real thing’ if I would otherwise have a fake manufactured version- but generally I do go for either). So the tofu was fine with me (but I am also investigating a soy free version). I teamed this up with cashew butter, but any mild tasting light coloured nut butter would be fine.
The base of this cheesecake worked really well and was based on my ever popular ‘healthy breakfastcookie’ I simply made the cookie dough without the baking powder, adding some cocoa powder to the mixture, and then pressed this onto the bottom of a cake pan (I used the ones with removal bottoms for easy removal after baking/chilling). The base is not crunchy so if you prefer some ore texture feel free to add extra crushed nuts.
The toppings were the hard part…chocolate caramel and pecans. Pecans no problem- healthy nut fats. For the chocolate I used dark chocolate drops sprinkled axcross the surface of the cake before it went in the oven, I then finished with some dark choc shavings just before serving. Shavings are great because the give the visual impression of there being loads of chocolate but a small square actually goes a long way. Lastly the caramel…I made the healthiest version I could think of, yes it does contain a lot of sugar but it is of the unrefined variety.
So there you have it….a healthy turtle cheesecake!
Challenge One completed…keep the suggestions coming!
You can find more of my indulgent desserts here.
Oh, one last thing- before you scroll down and roll your eyes at the long list of ingredients and instructions… the processes for each element are really super quick and simple… it just reads like a lot! Promise!
Recipe: Turtle cheesecake
Makes one 8” or two 4” pans
Ingredients- cheesecake base
½ cup oats*
¼ cup buckwheat flour (other flours would probably be fine too)
1 tbs ground flax/chia
Ground cinnamon and vanilla extract to taste (optional)
2 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs agave or maple syrup (plus a pinch of stevia for optional extra sweetness)
Approx. ¼ cup vegan yoghurt (or regular yoghurt for non vegan)
1 package of silken tofu (I used Mori Nu)
½ cup cashew butter (or an mild light coloured creamy nut butter)
1/3 cup agave plus ¼ tsp pure stevia (add extra to taste if desired)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs ground chia (I used white chia for a lighter colour but it’s not necessary)
Generous handful of dark choc drops plus extra choc for shavings
Generous handful of pecan pieces
Generous drizzle of caramel sauce (see below)
Ingredients- caramel sauce
½ cup rapadura/sucanat/coconut sugar (I used coconut sugar)
½ cup soy yoghurt
½ tsp carob powder (optional for extra richness)
1 heaped tbs coconut oil
For the base, mix all ingredients together until you have a soft sticky ball of dough. Press the dough into the bottom of a lightly greased cake pan (use one with a removal bottom for ease later on).
For the caramel, add the sugar and half of the yoghurt to a small pan over the stove and then gently melt the sugar over a low heat. Once dissolved, add the remaining yoghurt and carob if using. Whisk well whilst bringing the mixture to a simmer for approx. 3 minutes until you have a smooth rich caramel sauce. Stir through the coconut oil at the end of the cooking time. Pour into a tub and allow to cool until use.
For the cheesecake, blitz all the ingredients together in a blender/food processor (I use my Thermomix) and then pour over the base layer in the cake pan(s). Add the sprinkling of choc chips acorss the top of the batter.
Bake the cheesecakes at 180C for 15-25 minutes depending on the size of the tins (I used two 4” tins and they took just under 20 minutes) Once just golden and a skewer come away clean they are ready- note they may be puffed up when you take them out of the oven (mine were which surprised me!) It’s ok they settle down flat again as they cool.
Chill for a few hours or overnight in the fridge. Once chilled add pecans, drizzle over the caramel sauce and then add chocolate shavings to complete the look. Chill prior to serving (the caramel will firm up a little due to the coconut oil content).
* for further guidance on making gluten free choices please see this post.
For tips and info on recipe measurement conversions, ingredients, substitutions and the methods behind how I do things.... check out my 'baking tips' tab at the top of the page.