I am not a chocolate fanatic.
Don’t get me wrong. Chocolate’s nice. Nice like potatoes. Nice like misty evenings. Nice like a nap on the bus. I find chocolate hearty. Kind of magical. Somewhat refreshing.
But I’m a simple, savoury-dessert kind of girl. Give me pound cake, cheesecake, snickerdoodles, shortbread (note that I made three batches of the latter in a two week period last month). So I can easily go, say, a year without breaking out the magic beans, or any type of bar or powder derived from such.
Last month, I decided to be a good woman and ask my fella what dessert he thought I should bring to his family’s holiday dinner. He requested chocolate pie. I felt like cheesecake, and had secretly hoped he would think of the same thing so I could both satisfy my craving and feel like a selfless companion. I decided to compromise, make a typical cheesecake, and toss a bit of chocolate in. Sounded pretty foolproof.
It wasn’t. I got overwhelmed googling “chocolate cheesecake” and couldn’t get a firm idea of how much chocolate to add. The only chocolate I could find that was vegan was either:
a. $10 for a very small quantity of fancy (but not specifically organic or fare trade) stuff
b. totally, completely unsweetened
Well. I guess I said I like savoury desserts, I thought to myself, and grabbed the cheap(er, but still not cheap) stuff.
Thus ensued an odd morning of chocolate melting, sad discovery that I’d run out of powdered egg replacer, humiliation at also running out of sugar (sugar, really?) tasting, adjusting, swearing, remelting, and general uncertainty.
On first taste, it really seemed far too chocolatey. I concluded that operation Chocolate Cheesecake was officially a failure, I’d wasted $16-$20 worth of ingredients ($16-$20 I could have spent on a half hour of reflexology or some similarly selfish pursuit). Worse yet, there was, of course, an obscene amount of tasty food at the holiday dinner and just about the whole pie returned home with me. I had a piece, and I sat on fella’s lap (not in a sexy way either), held his nose shut, and crammed a piece down his throat.
I resisted the temptation to throw the whole thing in the trash. Haunted by the $16-$20, I instead divvied it up into slices and shoved it in the back of the freezer under the pumpkin puree and behind a bag of stuff I’m pretty sure I brought with me when I moved in a year ago. I made snide comments to fella about people being too full to eat desserts other people had slaved over. I bitched and whined about my unloved dessert to any that would listen (or read). I weighed down the ears of people would would not. I doubted my ability to make desserts. I rued the $16-$20 and thought about the 3 for $18 underwear or new knee socks I could have bought. I wallowed a lot.
Then came a day when I wanted a sweet treat and thought “eh, why the hell not.” Out came a slice of the much maligned item. I let it thaw on the counter for a couple hours, patted a bit of condensation off, and garnished with a few bits of orange.
Oh. My. So, so, so, so good. Seasoned tofu users (I mean long-time users of tofu, not users of seasoned tofu, and not tofu users who have themselves been seasoned) will know that tofu, when frozen, changes texture from smooth to dense and chewy. When making tasty savoury dishes, this textural change can be wonderful. I was concerned about what freezing would do to my choccy cheesecake.
Absolutely nothing, except yummify it. Somehow, the overwhelming chocolateyness (you may not think such a thing is possible, but remember, to me chocolate is merely nice, not the fount of all pleasure) was tempered and creamified into a smooth, decadent slice of trufflized goodness.
So, in the end, the cheesecake of perpetual wallowing and ongoing grumpiness turned out to be a gift. That’s right, a gift. A gift from overfull family members to, well, me. I ate the rest of that rejected chocolate cheesecake all by myself. I ate responsibly, over the course of several days. Each time it was tastier. And each time, I felt more and more thankful.
And now, for the recipe:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fat (Earth Balance or oil)
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp rum
1 Tbsp flax seeds, whole
1/2 cup water
1 8 oz pack unsweetened baker’s chocolate
1 package Extra Firm Silken Tofu
1 pack Tofutti plain cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 lemons
2 T rum
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 F.
1. Make crust by combining crust ingredients and pressing into a pie plate.
2. Make flax goo by combining flax seeds in water, bringing to a boil, simmering 5-7 minutes, then straining until you are left with 1/4 cup flax goo.
3. Melt chocolate in a double boiler.
4. Blend silken tofu until smooth and creamy.
5. Cream tofutti and 1/4 cup sugar until smooth.
6. Add tofu mixture and cream until combined.
7. Add flax goo, lemon juice and rum.
8. Add 1/4 cup icing sugar, 1 Tbsp flour and baking powder.
9. Add in melted chocolate and combine until smooth.
10. Pour into pie plate and bake at 350 F until set, about 50 minutes to an hour (check at about 35 minutes and adjust if needed).
11. Allow to cool.
Best if enjoyed after rejection and subsequent self-pity. Top with fresh citrus and savour the rejection.