Mont Blanc Cheesecake

Sweetened chestnut puree is gift sent from heaven in my opinion - okay, technically speaking it's from the Ardeche but let's not get bogged down with details right now. This wondrous little ingredient is so perfect for a seasonal cheesecake that simply reeks of festive cheer(I'll be honest, I ain't feeling too cheerful right now but I am trying). Am I delusional to think that you want yet another Christmas inspired recipe? As far as I'm concerned it's still cold out and should you happen to be skiing in the alps they sure as heck would be serving this decadent puree in some form or another. There, I think I've suitably justified this post - to myself anyway. I adore Mont Blanc. The dessert that is. Although the mountain is pretty awesome too. I tried to make Mont Blanc the official Christmas Day dessert a few years back but it never quite replaced the traditional Christmas pudding so I'm back with a new vegan offering that will wow. I could've easily Veganised the traditional Mont Blanc dessert that consists of meringue, sweetened chestnut puree and whipped cream. I'll admit to preferring Nigella's quickly scaled version anyway, which eliminates the meringue entirely but does include some tempting chopped (or in my case grated) dark chocolate - swap the freshly whipped cream for a soya version or indeed whipped coconut cream and et voila you have yourself a vegan Mont Blanc! It's almost too easy.

Me being me though, I had to go one step further and create an entirely new sweet that would incorporate all the best elements of the Mont Blanc and with this cheesecake I really think I've succeeded. The chestnut puree becomes chewy, almost toffee like around the edges and the smooth thin layer of cheesecake is totally irresistible and just enough because believe me this packs a punch in the sweet stakes.

A little digression now. 2011 has gotten off to a great start for me with regards to my blog. I was featured on foodpress, had a great statistics report from wordpress with my Blog-Health-o-Meter currently running at 'wow', I was so pleased and always surprised to get another photo accepted tastespotting and my plans are coming together nicely for the future of peasoupeats. The only slight hitch is be still being on tour when all I want to do is be in my kitchen creating great food and giving my blog the attention it needs. It's time to get serious - the only problem being that I am seriously lacking in time at present! Six more weeks and then I'm free to explore this exciting new future I have envisaged for myself that definitely doesn't involve me being away from home for weeks on end.

The memory of this cheesecake will have to suffice for now. Also, I hope you like the image of my messy kitchen, hehe.

mont blanc cheesecake

1 tub plain vegan cream cheese (I used tofutti)

1 can of sweetened chestnut puree

1 pack gingernut biscuits

juice of 1/2 lemon

splash of vanilla extract

4 tbsp soya butter

to serve:

whipped soya cream (my preference is GranoVita's Organic CremoVita)

grated dark chocolate

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius/390 degrees fahrenheit.

For the crust, blitz the gingernut biscuits in a food processor until you get a fine crumb. Transfer to a bowl. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add to the biscuit crumb and mix thoroughly. Line the bottom of a pie tin with the mixture and press with your fingers until all there are no cracks.

Open the chestnut puree and spread half on top of the crust.

In a large bowl and using a spatula mix the cream cheese, lemon juice, vanilla extract and add the remainder of the puree. The consistency will be fairly thin but don't worry it will set. Pour into pie tin. Gently tap to release any air bubbles. Transfer to oven and bake for at least an hour - I kept mine in for an hour and ten minutes but as I've said before every oven is different so just keep and eye on it.

Allow to cool completely before refrigerating overnight or for a few hours if you're short on time. Whip the soy cream and heap on top of each slice. Finish with a grating of dark chocolate.

dessert, veganAine Carlin