Yep, totally unheard of! Tofu in a cheesecake? Where did that idea even come from?
Well, I send all my gratitude to the “bombogenesis” that we had at the start of the year. I was craving for a good blueberry cheesecake on the day we had that massive winter storm, but was not really in the mood to brave the cold storm. So, I ransacked our pantry cabintets and fridge to see if I can make something to ease my cravings. I know that we still have some blueberries that we froze last summer in our fridge, so I’m not worried about the fruit topping. What I’m worried about was the cheesecake itself. My regular cheesecake recipes often requires about 3-4 cream cheese blocks, but I only had one (and it’s not even real cream cheese, it’s neufchatel cheese). I do have one tub of mascarpone, and I know that I would definitely use that. But still, I felt like I still have to add something to increase the volume I want for the cheesecake. If we only had ricotta cheese in the fridge, I would have definitely used that, but no such luck. That’s when I noticed the unopened soft tofu in the fridge. A bulb suddenly lit in my mind. Tofu is technically a cheese, so I figured why not use that in cheesecake?
Tofu doesn’t have any flavors at all, so it’s a pretty good addition to a lot of things, such as smoothies, soups or even stir-fries. It’s a lot like a blank canvas on which it is up to the painter’s imagination to paint something out of nothing. Tofu is pretty good at absorbing any flavors, not to mention the good kick of protein you could get from it. In this particular case, I merely wanted something to add volume to my cheesecake batter without losing or disrupting the flavors. Tofu is my greatest answer to that.
- 1 dozen waffle ice cream cones
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil/ butter
- 1/4 cup sugar (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract (optional)
- 1 8oz neufchatel or cream cheese
- 1 8oz mascarpone cheese
- about 7-8oz of silken or soft tofu (about 1/2 block of tofu)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup flour/cornstarch
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste/ extract
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste/extract
- about 3 cups blueberry
- 1/2 lemon
- 2 tbsp honey or agave
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 cup water
Preheat oven at 375 degrees F.
Let’s talk about the crust. Unfortunately, one of the main ingredients was missing in our pantry, and that’s the graham crackers. We didn’t even have vanilla wafers for substitution. What we do have was plenty of waffle ice cream cones which were sitting in the pantry cabinet since last summer. And, I thought it should do! It should a make a good substitution to make the crust for the cheesecake. You can certainly use graham crackers or vanilla wafers, if you have them on hand.
So, I’ve got 1 box or 12 pieces of waffle ice cream cones.
Crush all the cones into crumbs. You can do this by food processor, but I prefer doing this by using my most effective kitchen equipment, my hands.
Add about 1/2 cup of coconut oil. I used a refined coconut oil, instead of extra virgin coconut oil, mainly because I want to avoid the strong coconut smell in my crust. Feel free to substitute butter or margarine.
This is completely optional, but I prefer to add vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste into my crust. It just gives it an added aroma and flavor. Sugar is also optional. I don’t want it too sweet what with all the cheesecake batter, frosting and topping , so I figured I’d skip out on sugar in the crust.
Mix everything together.
I used a 10-inch tart pan. Press the cone crumbs on the bottom of the pan.
Using a small shot glass or a measuring cup, tightly press the crumbs on the bottom and sides of the pan.
Bake the crust in the preheated oven for about 8 minutes. Then let cool.
Don’t turn off your oven! Instead, lower the oven’s temperature to 325 degrees F.
And, now it’s time for the cheesecake mixture!
Here’s one 8 oz block of room temperature neufchatel cheese….
then 2 room temperature large eggs, and 1 cup sugar…
then add 1 8-oz tub of mascarpone which is also in room temperature. When everything is in room temperature, it just makes it so easy to mix everything well.
Using a handheld whisk or stand mixer, mix everything together.
Then throw in the tofu. I had the soft tofu which is bit stiffer than silken tofu. I sliced it in medium-sized pieces just so it could be broken up into the mixture easily. Don’t include the water that comes in with tofu block! You only want the tofu. Whisk everything until tofu is well incorporated.
Since I didn’t have a sour cream, I used the juice from 1 lemon for the tangy and sour flavor.
For added wonderful flavor, add about 2 tsp vanilla bean paste or just good vanilla extract. Then about 1/2 cup of heavy cream. And I almost forgot, but you need a thickener, so just add in 1/4 cup of cornstarch or flour.
Mix the cheesecake batter. You want to achieve this smooth and velvety texture. Well, it has some lumps from the tofu, but don’t worry too much about it. It will disappear once baked.
Pour the cheesecake batter into your cooled crust and spread evenly.
Since I was using a tart pan instead of a springform pan which cheesecakes are normally baked, I didn’t think baking them in a waterbath is ideal. So I did this instead. I placed a small baking pan with boiling water inside the oven together with the cheesecake to create some sort of a steam inside. After 30 minutes in the oven, I lowered the temperature to 275 degrees F until it’s finally baked, about 30 minutes to 45 minutes. I would check on it after 30 minutes, though, just to make sure you don’t lose that perfect jiggle in the center. Basically, you want the cheesecake to be set on the sides, but still has that slight jiggle in the center when you move it a little bit. (Geez, I don’t even know if I’m explaining this clearly!)
Let the baked cheesecake sit in room temperature for about half hour or so, then place it in the fridge to cool completely.
While it cools, we can now do the blueberry sauce topping. I’d say that this is the easiest part.
Take about 3 cups of blueberries (if frozen, no need to thaw!).
Add the sweeteners: sugar and honey (mine got crystallized while sitting in the cupboard).
This is completely optional, but I like to have a bit of cinnamon flavor in my blueberry topping. Also add in 2 tbsp cornstarch or flour.
Then pour in about 1/2 cup water. Let it boil using medium heat until the desired consistency is achieved (probably about 7 or so minutes).
I prefer my blueberry sauce as pictured. Not too thick, and just juicy. It will still thickened a little bit once it cools down. If you want yours to thicken more, just let it simmer for a while.
Let the blueberry sauce cool down.
When the blueberry sauce and the cheesecake have cooled, we can now move forward with the frosting. This frosting is completely optional, but boy, does it make really better!
Melt the white chocolate chips in the microwave. You don’t want to burn the white chocolate so make sure to do it in a 30-second intervals.
Mix the white chocolate chips every 30 second.
In my microwave, it took me about 1.5 minutes to melt everything. Let the chocolate cool for about 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently to make sure it won’t harden.
After the chocolate has cooled down a little bit, pour in the heavy cream into that same bowl. Whip until stiff peaks form.
And of course, don’t forget to add in the vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract.
I purposely didn’t add sugar in this frosting because white chocolate is already sweet and I don’t want it to be overwhelmingly sweet.
Pour the frosting to the cheesecake, and very gently spread it evenly on the cheesecake.
Let it sit in the fridge for about 10 minutes or so, just so the frosting can set.
After that, we can now top the cheesecake with our blueberry sauce.
It tasted sooooo goood!! You wouldn’t even know that you sneak in a healthy ingredient in that cheesecake. Calorie-wise, I think this is pretty good. I used a neufchatel cheese, which has lower calories than cream cheese, then tofu and mascarpone. The whipped cream and white chocolate frosting provided a little bit of lightness to the cheesecake. And it’s not too sweet either! I love desserts, but I prefer the flavor of the food to stand out rather than the sugary sweetness.
This, dear readers, is truly tempting me to change how to bake my cheesecake!