A few weeks ago, I found myself channel surfing and consquently fixated on an episode of Nigellissima, where a Nutella Cheesecake was being born. “Utter brilliance”, I thought. I love chocolate-anything. It was a fairly straight forward recipe and all the ingredients were pre-packaged. As I began to mull over how to make a vegan version of this, I found myself getting a little too carried away and complicating things.
I’ve held back greatly on the many ideas whirring around in my head here – the one thing that I wasn’t going to compromise on, though, was a gluten free base. And one that doesn’t use packaged biscuits – because I’ve done that before. I wanted to try something different, so the base is an adaptation of this recipe – literally the first Google search result for “vegan rice crispy recipe”.
Decadent Choc Hazelnut Cheesecake
4 C Crispy Rice Cereal, NOT soft puffed rice (read the ingredients, most brands list “barley malt” which contains gluten, check your health food aisle rather than the cereal aisle)
1/8 C Flax Meal
1/2 C Agave Nectar
1/3 C Hazelnut Butter/Spread (or other nut butter of your choice – almond or peanut would also be good!)
1 t Vanilla Extract
Vegan margarine, such as Nuttelex
- Lightly grease a 25cm springform pan with vegan margarine, then line with baking paper. You can use a smaller springform tin, but don’t use a larger one.
- Pule 3 C of the crispy rice cereal in a food processor or high speed blender until broken up, but not powdery. Place in a mixing bowl with the remaining 1 C of crispy rice cereal and the flax meal.
- On low heat in a small pot, stir together the agave nectar, hazelnut butter and vanilla extract. Once combined, pour into the mixing bowl and mix, mix, mix! If you’re afraid to get your hands dirty, you can wear gloves.
- Press mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom of the springform pan and leave in the fridge to set for an hour or so.
Because all the vegan chocolate spreads I have access to are allergen-friendly, they’re nut free – which means I had to mix together chocolate spread and hazelnut butter to get the “Nutella” effect. I found this frustrating at first, but later realised that it’s great if you want to change it up and use a different nut (e.g. peanuts or almonds).
300g Dark Chocolate Spread (I used the fair trade Oxfam one, which is available at Woolies)
100g Hazelnut Butter/Spread (or other nut butter of your choice)
2 tubs + 2 TBSP Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese (500g)
3/4 – 1 1/4 C GF Icing Sugar (3/4 C will give you a bittersweet dark chocolate taste, whereas 1 1/4 C will give you a more widely palatable milk chocolate taste)
3 pinches of Salt
- Bring the cream cheese to room temperature, then beat with the chocolate spread and hazelnut butter.
- Sift in the icing sugar and beat until smooth and combined.
- Pour into the springform pan on top of the rice crispy base and leave to set overnight.
- Carefully remove from springform pan and place on a plate or platter.
1 C Strawberries, sliced
2-3 TBSP Hazelnuts (or other nut of your choice)
- Roast the hazelnuts at 150C for about 10 minutes; keep an eye on them. When the skins start to split, remove them from the oven and leave to cool. You can remove the skins the slow/hard way (by hand), or you can rub a handful of them in a clean tea towel. You don’t need to remove all the skins, just the loose ones. Leaving some on will give you some extra texture and a rustic look.
- Roughly chop the hazelnuts.
- Scatter the strawberries on the cake, followed by the chopped hazelnuts, then lightly drizzle some agave on top.
Voilà! A party favourite that will literally get devoured before any other dessert on offer (that’s a tried and true fact).
- Serve this straight from the fridge. If you let it cool or serve it on a hot day, it’ll soften and be more of a mousse-cake than a cheesecake!
- If using peanut butter, make sure you select one that’s natural/doesn’t contain any salt or sugar.