Quick and Easy Dairy-Free Tofu Cherry Cheesecake

This cheesecake recipe uses tofu as a nondairy replacement for cream cheese used in traditional cheesecake. The cherries add a touch of sweetness and look pretty on top. To save time you can use a ready-made, 9-inch graham cracker crust (which holds the same volume as the 8-inch springform pan used in this recipe).

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: About 30 minutes

Chilling time: 2 hours

Yield: 8 servings (1 pie)

Crust

1-1/4 cups graham cracker crumbs

1 tablespoon sugar

1/3 cup nondairy, trans-fat-free margarine, melted

  1. Combine the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add the melted margarine to the crumb mixture. Stir until blended, and then press the crumbs into the bottom and sides of an 8-inch nonstick springform pan. Set aside.

Filling

1-3/4 12-ounce aseptic boxes (or 1-1/4 pounds water-packed) firm tofu

1-1/2 cups sugar, divided

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

One 15-ounce can cherry pie filling

  1. If using water-packed tofu, place the tofu in a clean sink (or set it on a sheet of waxed paper in the sink), cover it with waxed paper and a heavy weight, and let it drain for 20 minutes. (If you use tofu in aseptic packaging, this step can be omitted.)

  2. In a blender or food processor, blend the tofu, 1/4 pound at a time, with 1 cup of the sugar, adding 1/4 cup sugar with each addition of tofu. Process until the ingredients are well blended.

  3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the tofu-sugar mixture into a bowl. Mix in the vanilla and almond extracts, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Blend well.

  4. Pour the mixture into the graham cracker crust and bake for about 40 minutes. When the cheesecake is done, it will be slightly raised on the edges with small cracks on the surface. The middle will not have risen, but it will be springy to the touch and will have a dry, firm appearance.

  5. Chill the cheesecake for at least 2 hours after baking. Top with canned cherry filling before serving.

You can minimize cracking on the cheesecake surface while protecting against a soggy crust by simply placing a shallow pan filled with 2 to 3 inches of hot water onto the oven rack beneath the cheesecake. The moisture given off by the water helps to keep the cheesecake above it moist, resulting in fewer cracks in the batter as it bakes.

Per serving: Calories 438 (from Fat 133); Fat 15g (Saturated 4g); Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium 215mg; Carbohydrate 67g (Dietary Fiber 2g); Protein 12g.

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