And by "they" I mean the Reluctant Carnivore, and by "it" I mean vegan cheesecake. RC's point was that there are certain foods that rely on animal products as their main ingredient and to take, for example, the actual cheese out of a cheesecake could only result in an inferior product, if not an outright disaster. But I was undeterred! I'd been wanting to make a vegan cheesecake for awhile, for a few different reasons:
1) Cheesecake is my absolute, all-time favorite dessert, but I hate how guilty I feel after eating it.
2) RC usually can't share in my (pretty rare) indulgences because the lactose bothers him.
3) See above title!
Although I was dying to try the recipe in my new Happy Herbivore cookbook, I decided to go with one from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's The Joy of Vegan Baking. The recipe in the HH cookbook is low-fat, and while I'm happy to forgo the cheese, lowering the fat content leaves even me skeptical. (Don't worry -- I'll try that one next and report back!)
The recipe I finally used was an adaptation of Patrick-Goudreau's lemon cheesecake, with a homemade graham cracker crust. I used Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese as the vegan cream cheese and Red Mill egg replacer. The crust was made from Trader Joe's graham crackers, Earth Balance and good ol' granulated sugar.
The result? Well, consider RC converted! He rated it ***** Meatilicious! The cake was slightly lighter in texture than the regular version, but other than that it had a similar mouthfeel and taste. I added more lemon juice than the recipe called for (after squeezing 2 organic lemons I didn't want to toss any) and the result was delightfully tangy. Also, the graham cracker crust carmelized nicely during baking so that it had an almost candylike flavor. Yum, yum!
P.S. Thanks to my running buddies Leslie and Cathy, and my intrepid neighbor Mudpie, for also being willing guinea-pig taste testers! Either you're all lying to me, or this is one good cheesecake!