vegan chai cheesecake with earl grey fig sauce

here was my breakfast! emma’s amazing vegan chai cheesecake, it was *eye rolls to the back of my head* amazing. eggpop has a vegan lunch club on saturdays so i'm donating these little cakes to that but saving all of the scraps for my lunch and dinner and probably breakfast tomorrow too. mmm so good.

gosh geez so much has happened since we last spoke:

-the town bakery went up for sale which spurred a medium long, medium serious conversation with eggboy about whether or not we should buy it and turn it into a halva house but ultimately, for a number of reasons, including my subpar people management skills and an aversion to showering on a regular basis, we decided that other people would be way more fit for the job. is it you? would you like a bakery? do you want to move to a town that looks like a snow globe and has a cinnamon scented movie theater?

-book writing is chugging along and i’ve adjusted my sleep schedule for it because i’ve found i like writing more late at night. i’ve been waking up at kelly and michael o’clock and going to bed way past midnight. i kinda like it, but i’ll have to adjust back for photographing days in order to catch the good light.

-i stuck my face in food & wine and brought knoephla, paprikash, halva challah, and pickled eggies! 

-sia came out with a new song

-so did lucius

-and aoife’s new album is streaming

-so it’s been a really strong music week

-also look at this city ballet trailer

-i made a rhubarb sauce because way back in april, i just knew that i would procrastinate testing the rhubarb recipe for my book so i froze some for this very week. the second to last week before my manuscript is due. thank you, self of the past.

-a halva and tahini store opened in chelsea maket! holy heck. that’ll be my first stop in new york next time i’m there. and can someone get me this neon tahini sign??!!!!

-registration opened up for the photography workshop that i’m giving in australia in july with sophie and luisa!!! it’s going to include cake. and i’m gonna pet a koala, and watch our lips are sealed on the plane, and eat lamingtons upon lamingtons, i can’t contain my excitement! will you come? i think spots are jussst about filled, but there may be a few left!

...so it’s all very apropos that i’m sharing a recipe today from one of my very favorite australia (now new zealand!) based bloggers, who i hope i’ll get to see in july!! i met sweet emma at the saveur awards last year where she showed me her beautiful book that is filled with so many colors by way of amazing fresh fruit that i could only dream of having way up here. i’ve been waiting waiting waiting for it to come out in the states, and in the fall it finally did! in the past, her recipes have inspired my tarts and my obsession with tahini fudge (ooh yeah, get on that), and now her book is inspiring me to make things like choux puffs with labneh and strawberry jam and tahini orange coconut muesli, and they’re all gluten free and vegetarian. 

this “cheesecake” is so smooth, creamy, and miles away from your average cream cheese cheesecake. in fact, i’m inclined to say that calling it a cheesecake doesn’t do it enough justice because i know how there are some people who are turned off by a tangy cream cheese cheesecake. josh suggested “silken cashew tarte.” idk. my point is, it’s fantastic and you shouldn't let any preconceived notions of tangy cheesecake get in the way of your decision to make this. i could barely get all of the filling onto the crust because i wanted to eat it all with a spoon. in her book, it’s topped with fresh figs and cut into slices, but fig season is far away and because i didn’t want to give eggpop partially eaten cheesecake to bring to his lunch club, i cut the thing into a bunch of mini cakes and saved the scraps for myself. and i also get all of the leftover fig sauce. it’s a win win win win win situation. make this.


emma’s vegan chai “cheesecake” with earl grey fig sauce

from emma galloway’s my darling lemon thyme

serves 12 or more

ingredients

crust:

1 1/2 c pitted dates, roughly chopped

2/3 c whole raw almonds

1 tb virgin coconut oil

filling:

3 c raw cashews, soaked overnight in cold water and drained

3/4 c virgin coconut oil, melted if solid

1/2 c lemon juice

1/2 c maple syrup

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp fine sea salt

seeds from 20 cardamom pods (3/4 tsp ground)

6 whole cloves (1/2 tsp ground)

1/2 tsp fennel seeds (1/2 tsp ground)

1/2 tsp black peppercorns (just over 1/4 tsp ground)

2 tsp ground ginger

1 tsp ground cinnamon

earl grey fig sauce:

3/4 c boiling water

2 earl grey tea bags

1/2 c firmly packed sliced dried figs

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tb maple syrup

fresh figs, to serve, optional

clues

to make the crust, line the base and side of a 10” loose-bottomed cake pan with parchment paper. place dates, almonds, and coconut oil in a food processor and blend on high until finely ground. press mixture into the base of the tin, using the back of a spoon to pack down firmly.

to make the filling, place the drained cashews, coconut oil, lemon juice, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in a blender and set aside for a minute. finely grind the whole spices with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. add to the blender along with the ground ginger and cinnamon. blend on high until smooth. you may need to help things along a little by stopping occasionally and giving things a stir. pour over the crust and smooth the surface. place in the freezer for 2-3 hours or until set (you can also chill overnight in the fridge if preferred). cheesecake slices will store in a covered container in the freezer for up to 1 month. remove from the freezer 20-30 minutes before serving to allow to soften.

to make early grey fig sauce, combine the boiling water, tea, and figs in a small glass bowl of jug, pressing the figs down to fully submerge, and leave until cool. remove and discard tea bags, squeezing them to extract as much flavor as you can. transfer to a blender, add lemon juice and maple syrup, and blend on high until smooth. serve cheesecake with earl grey fig sauce and fresh figs, if in season.