For those difficult times when you can’t decide whether to make an apple pie or a cheesecake, do both! This cheesecake utilizes soy yogurt that is left with pureed almond and non-dairy milk for up to 24 hours so the Lactobacillus
cultures in the yogurt can enhance the flavors of the mixture. In order for this to work as effectively as possible it’s important to use unsweetened non-dairy soy yogurt containing Lactobacillus
and with as little additives and thickeners as possible. Lactobacillus
cultures are bacteria that ferment sugars in the food and produce complex flavors and acids such as lactic acid.
Try to stay away from soy yogurts that contain ingredients ending in starch or gum. These thickeners isolate the activity of the Lactobacillus, making it less effective. This recipe must be used with soy yogurt. Non-soy yogurts such as almond yogurt and coconut yogurt lack sufficient flavor and fermentable materials necessary to develop the tart, dairy-esque flavor we’re looking for. Plus, non-soy yogurts consist of large amounts of starches and gums which often make them more similar to pudding than yogurt.
If you don’t have access to almond flour, 240 grams of whole unsoaked almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, peanuts or even pine nuts will do as long as nuts with skins have their skins removed. Each different type of nut will bring its own distinctive flavor to this cheesecake. Imagine using hazelnuts in a chocolate cheesecake! To use whole nuts, grind them in a food processor or blender until they’re the consistency of fine sand. Then add them to the soy yogurt and blend as directed in the recipe.
Coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt further enhance the yogurt mixture. Caramel and caramelized apples are then folded in, which truly brings this cheesecake to another level. I prefer to bake vegan cheesecakes at lower temperatures for longer periods rather than using thickeners like agar to save time. Thickeners tend to coat flavor molecules in their gel-like suspension which can make flavors draw out longer but less intense. I find that vegan cheesecakes benefit by as much flavor intensity of well balanced flavors as possible. The recipe steps may seem daunting at first but fear not, dear baker. This cheesecake can be prepared in sections leading up to serving day.
2 ½ cups plain, unsweetened soy yogurt
2 cups (240 grams) almond flour, or similar nut flour
½ cup non-dairy milk
1 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
1 Tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
1 pinch salt
½ cup all-purpose flour or rice flour (if you’re making it gluten-free)
Prepare the crust
Spring Form Crust
can be made several days ahead and stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Prepare the cheesecake
Place the soy yogurt, almond flour and non-dairy milk in a blender and blend for 2 minutes on the highest setting. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and leave it out for no more than 24 hours so more flavor can develop. If you don’t have enough time to wait 24 hours, proceed to Step 2.
Preheat your oven to 300F (149C). Transfer the mixture back to the blender and add the sugar, coconut oil, lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt. Blend for 2 more minutes on the highest setting. There should be no noticeable solid particles in the mixture at this point.
Prepare the caramel sauce
Easy Caramel Sauce
can be made several days in advance and stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Prepare the apples
In a medium frying pan or wok, add the apples, sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt. Saute on medium heat for 10 minutes. Set aside.
Assemble the cheesecake and bake
Add 1 ¼ cups of the apple mixture and ⅓ cup of the caramel to a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine. Set aside. Whisk the flour into the cheesecake mixture until well combined. Now fold in the apple caramel mixture until barely combined. Pour the mixture into your prepared spring form crust and bake for 3 hours or until the cheesecake barely jiggles when nudged.
Allow the cheesecake to cool completely then transfer it to the refrigerator for at least a few hours before slicing and serving. Serve cold. Store Vegan Caramel Apple Cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or stored in a plastic freezer bag in the freezer for up to 2 months.