This tart is much more in the style of a cheesecake, with its biscuit base and deep-filled centre. The reason I have refrained from calling it a cheesecake is because I have not used anything resembling a soft cheese flavour. If you want to experiment, then I see no reason why not to use some vegan soft cheese in this recipe. Do try it as it is first though. It has a clean and fruity flavour and holds up beautifully thanks to the agar powder. There is no baking involved at all here, and the only cooking you will need to do is simmer the filling for 5 minutes to allow the agar to work. It still takes a little while because of chilling times, but don’t let that put you off. This dessert really is worth the effort.
The recipe here is not gluten-free because of the biscuit base, but you can easily substitute that for a packet of gluten-free ones. Have in mind that you may then need to add a little sugar to the base if you’re using a less-sweet biscuit to the ginger ones I’ve used here. You can also have this nut-free by omitting the chopped hazelnuts from the base (just add a couple of extra biscuits if you can to make up the lost quantity). I’ve put food colouring in the filling recipe because blueberries can lose their colour a little when cooked. It has no other purpose, so you don’t need to use it if you don’t want to. I’ve used this one, which is both vegan and gluten-free.
You will definitely need a good blender for this recipe. You will also need a 9-inch wide spring-formed cake tin that has a good depth. I got mine from Morrison’s.
Prep time: 30 minutes. Cooking time: 5 minutes. Chill time: A few hours while cooling and can also be left overnight.
Makes 8-10 slices.
For the Base:
250g (1 pack) ginger biscuits (make sure they’re vegan)
60g chopped hazelnuts
50g melted vegan butter, plus extra for greasing
For the Filling:
150g cashew nuts, soaked in hot water for 20 minutes, then drained
300g frozen and fresh blueberries (use half and half)
1 can coconut milk
350ml oat milk
½ tsp ground nutmeg
300g unrefined sugar
4 tbsp coconut nectar (maple syrup is also fine)
1 x 400g block firm tofu, drained
2 ½ tsp agar agar powder
½ – 1 tsp violet food colouring (optional)
For the Topping:
300g frozen blueberries
150g unrefined sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
About 150-200g fresh blueberries to top.
First grease your cake tin with dairy-free butter.
To make the base, put the biscuits in a blender or food processor and whizz until they are just crumbs. Add the hazelnuts and whizz again to break the nuts up a little bit but not completely. Put the biscuit crumbs into a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir until completely combined, then line the base of your cake tin with the biscuit mix, pressing down with the back of a spoon to make sure it is tightly packed. Store in the fridge or freezer to chill completely while you make the rest.
To make the filling, put all the filling ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth. Pour the mix into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, then turn off the heat. You can stir in your food colouring here if you are using it. Allow the mix to cool down to just above room temperature. You will need to whisk it often as it cools to stop a skin from forming on the top. About every 10-15 minutes should do it.
When the mix is cool enough, pour it onto the biscuit base and chill for at least 2 hours, or until fully set. It will wobble but won’t move too much when it is ready.
To make your topping. Put all the topping ingredients, apart from the fresh blueberries, into a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce easily coats the back of a spoon. Give it 10 minutes to cool and then blend it until completely smooth. When it is cool enough to touch, spoon it over the top of your chilled tart and then evenly place the fresh blueberries on top. Chill again until firm, or even leave it overnight to serve the next day. You can also freeze it at this point, just take it out about 90 minutes before you are ready to serve it.