Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Vegan Cheese Parfait, Yummy and Elegant!

Before I was diagnosed with cancer, I had a really amazing non-bake lemon cheesecake recipe that I always make for myself and my friends during special ocassions like birthdays. It never failed to be a crowd pleaser. I have not made that recipe since cancer came calling 2 years ago because I can't eat dairy.

But! The other day, while shopping at WholeFoods here in Chicago, I came across vegan cream cheese! Whoohoo! It's cream cheese made from soy milk. Imagine that! I was really excited and nervous at the same time because now I finally get to relive the wonderful taste and flavor of my lemon cheesecake recipe but I was also totally new to soy milk cheese. I have absolutely no idea how the flavor and texture would turn out.

In order to make my non-bake lemon cheesecake, I also need a gelling agent to create the right texture. My recipe was using gelatin but I can't use that anymore because gelatin is actually made from the collagen found in animal's skin and bones. The all vegetarian, natural and healthier alternative is fruit pectin, commonly used to make homemade jams and jelly. I got the unsweetened one. :) 

Then I thought about the crust. I used to use ready made shortbread pie crust. But I can't eat that anymore because there's butter and preservatives in there. So I thought and I thought as I toured and re-toured the aisles at the supermarket. Where can I get healthy crunch texture for the cheesecake?

Then insipration struck! Yeah! I don't have to confine it to a pie crust. I can serve it in another form of container - a glass, like a parfait! And I can use dry roasted nuts for the crunch! Voila! I converted my original lemon cheesecake recipe into this amazing cheesecake parfait!

The flavor is exactly the same! Gosh....feel so nostalgic all of a sudden. :)

Ingredients (makes about 4 servings):
1. 2 eggs, separated
2. Juice from 1 lemon
3. Zest from 1 lemon
4. 8 oz vegan cream cheese
5. 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
6. 3 teaspoon fruit pectin
7. 6 tablespoon boiling water
8. 5g stevia sweetener
9. ¼ cup roasted and coarsely ground pecan nuts
10. ¼ cup blended raspberries
11. ¼ cup frozen strawberries, thawed
12. ¼ cup frozen blueberries, thawed
13. ¼ cup frozen raspberries, thawed

1. Using an electric beater, beat egg yolks, stevia sweetener and lemon juice over warm water.
2. In a separate mixing bowl, beat vegan cream cheese until smooth.
3. Add the egg mixture into vegan cream cheese and beat well to combine.
4. Split the mixture into 2 portions.
5. In the first portion, add lemon zest and vanilla essence and beat well to combine.
6. In the second portion, add mashed raspberries and beat well to combine.
7. In a small bowl or dish, dissolve 2 teaspoons of pectin in 4 tablespoon of boiling water.
8. Add half of the fruit pectin liquid to one portion and the rest in the other. Stir well to combine.
9. Pour each portion into separate ziploc bags and refrigerate for about 30 mins.
10. In the meantime, using a juice blender, blend strawberries, blueberries and raspberries (same as the bumble berry smoothie recipe).
11. Dissolve the last teaspoon of fruit pectin in 2 tablespoon of boiling water.
12. Add fruit pectin liquid into blended berries. Stir well to combine and pour into a ziploc bag and refrigerate for about 30 mins.

To assemble parfait:
1. In a clear wine glass of your choice, layer bottom of glass with a generous layer of pecan nuts.
2. Remove the lemon cheese mixture from the fridge. Cut a small hole on one corner of the ziploc bag (to make something like a pipping bag) and pipe a quarter of the mixture into each glass.
3. Remove the pink cheese mixure from the fridge. Cut a small hole on one corner of the ziploc bag and pipe a quarter of the mixture into each glass.

4. Remove the bumble berry mixture from the fridge and cut a hole on one of the corners and pipe a quarter of the mixture into each glass.
5. Cover each glass with plastic wrap and place in freezer over night if possible. If not, place in freezer for at least an hour.
6. Switch to normal refrigeration at least 2 hours before serving.

Feel free to use a glass with smaller volume such as a flute glass. This presentation may look half-empty but the serving is quite large, at least for me. My friend finished it in a quick scoop! hahahaha.....

Nutritional value of this recipe
What is even more amazing about this recipe's only 148 calories per serving!! You don't have to short change yourself on an artifically flavored or extremely reduced serving-sized snack. Eat the real thing and feel good about it! Each serving also gives you 25%* of daily required Vitamin C, 3g of fiber and 6g of protein. It also boost a good amount of selenium and manganese.

* based on a 2,000 calories per day diet


YourWonderfulSis said...

u never fail to amaze me.

Kelly said...

;) Really? I wonder if you can find vegan cream cheese in Singapore?