Jessica Porter’s book, The MILF Diet, has a wonderful section of recipes. The Super-Delicious Mystery “Cheese” Cake totally caught my eye a few weeks ago. It has millet, one of may favorite grains, and I was super curious to see how it would work as filling in cheesecake. A lot of vegan cheesecakes use either tofu or a lot of cashews to get the creamy texture. This recipe has some cashews, but the majority of the filling is the millet. The texture is amazing.
So, I made the dessert for one of our macrobiotic potlucks. I think the recipe is going for the classic New York Cheesecake flavor. It has lemon juice, lemon extract and vanilla. Everyone who tasted the “cheese” cake loved it, but even though the texture was perfect, I was a little disappointed about the flavor. My friend Allison thought it needed more vanilla, but I am not sure if that’s the answer. Plus, when I was eating those sorts of things, New York Cheesecake wasn’t really my favorite, anyway. So, I decided to take the basic concept in a direction more suited to my tastes.
I don’t like to use a lot of cashews and dates. I chose hazelnuts instead. I love the flavor, I have been able to get them to be pretty creamy and they are locally grown in Washington State. I added some decaf espresso because the flavor is dreamy with hazelnuts. For the crust, I replaced the dates with local dried prunes, which add a more distinct flavor, and used hazelnuts here as well. Ceylon cinnamon would be a lovely addition, too, but I haven’t tried that yet.
The original recipe is credited to Laura Taylor and Karen Bryson, Los Angeles whole food cooking instructors, and is in the MILF cookbook by Jessica Porter.
Vegan Hazelnut Espresso Cheesecake
adapted from Super-Delicious Mystery “Cheese” Cake from The MILF Diet by Jessica Porter
3/4 cup hazelnuts, soaked overnight, then try to get as much of the skin off as possible (just do the best you can)
3/4 cup millet, rinsed and soaked in 2 1/2 cups water overnight
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 shots decaf espresso (or regular) plus enough water to equal 1/2 cup
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup toasted and skinned hazelnuts (do the best you can, it’s okay to have some skin)
1 cup lightly toasted rolled oats
3/4 cup dried prunes, chopped into small pieces
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1. Bring the millet to a boil in a medium saucepan. Lower the heat to simmer gently and cook for about 50 minutes. Use a flame tamer if you have one.
2. Make the crust: In a food processor, grind the oats and hazelnuts until coarse. Add the chopped prunes and maple syrup. Grind until the mixture starts coming together, but still has some texture. If it isn’t moist enough to press into a crust, transfer it to a boil and stir in a few tsp of water at a time until it starts to come together. Press into the bottom of an 8″ or 9″ springform pan. Set aside.
3. In a blender, add the hazelnuts, maple syrup, espresso, vanilla and a few pinches of sea salt. Puree until it’s as creamy as you can get it with your blender. Optimal texture is super creamy.
4. When the millet is done cooking, add it to the blender while still hot. It’s important that the millet is still hot so it will be creamy when puréed. I added the millet in stages. This will depend on the size of your blender. Blend until super creamy.
5. Pour on top of the crust and smooth the top. Refrigerate for at least four hours.