Tofu Fraisier Rare Cheesecake

I have made rare cheesecake with tofu in the past, and fraisier cake in the past, so I figured, why not combine the two? The end result was quite straightforward, being a rare tofu cheesecake that was rippled with strawberry coulis, enrobed with slices of strawberries, and all on top of a crunchy-salty-sweet Triscuit crust. I wanted to keep everything about this on the simpler side, since it’s a relatively straightforward dessert! With a fraisier cake, you have a layer of cake, with cream, and surrounding the edges of the cream are slices or wedges of fresh strawberries. It is a really cute dessert and very popular in both Europe and Asia. With a rare cheesecake, it is a Japanese rendition of a no-bake cheesecake. Some iterations, including this one, uses tofu, which adds a nuttiness that plays off of the cream cheese beautifully, while lending a silky, soft texture to the final dessert. The two combined is a fun play on strawberries and cream, and the visual aesthetic was quite pleasing!

I will be honest, when I was testing this recipe, I used silken tofu. While silken tofu is preferable in most desserts, because of its mild flavor and soft texture, in the case of something where setting agents and the addition of other liquid ingredients are involved, it is the absolute worst iteration of tofu to use. This is because the firmness of tofu is dictated by how much liquid is pressed out of it. In the case of soft silken tofu, there is a lot of water still in the tofu. And that water either requires A LOT of gelatin to contain it, or you will end up with a weird puddle of liquid leeching out of the cheesecake as you let it thaw. This is what happened to my initial batch. So to avoid that, use firm tofu, since the liquid content is mostly pressed out of it, meaning that when we pour in our gelatin-infused simple syrup, that will not thin out the cheesecake mixture too much, and result in a cheesecake that does not resemble granola with soggy strawberry yogurt on top of it. And I get that it seems counterintuitive to use firm tofu in a dessert, but for this particular recipe, it is an absolute must. So long as you do that, the rest of this recipe is pretty straightforward, and just involves a lot of putting things into a 6-inch ring mold.

Makes 2 6-inch cheesecakes:
For the crust:
8oz crushed Triscuits
6oz melted coconut oil or butter
2 tsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Line 2 6-inch ring molds with cooking spray. Mix the ingredients together to form your crust. Divide the mixture between the two ring molds and press down to form a compact crust. Freeze the molds for at least 10 minutes before attempting to add in anything else.

For the strawberry garnish:
2 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp lemon juice
Strawberries, sliced on the thickest setting on a mandolin

In a bowl, dissolve the sugar and salt into the warm water. Mix into that the lemon juice. Toss your strawberry slices into the liquid(make sure when slicing the strawberries to reserve the scraps, since you can use those in the puree!). Line the interior edge of the ring molds with your strawberry slices, and keep the mold cold.

For the strawberry puree:
5oz diced up strawberries
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
a pinch of salt
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp agar

In a pot, heat up the ingredients until the strawberries are completely soft. Pass everything through a sieve to remove any solids. Keep the puree warm for swirling into the cheesecake, reserving at least half of it for garnishing the top of the cheesecakes with.

For the cheesecake base:
14oz firm tofu
16oz cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tbsp gelatin powder + 2 tbsp cold water
1/3 cup water
a pinch of salt

In a food processor or blender, puree the tofu, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth – I usually go for at least 5 minutes of straight puree-ing. In a pot, melt down the other ingredients into a simple syrup and pour into the tofu-cream cheese mixture. Blend again until smooth.

For initial assembly:
Divide the cheesecake base among the two ring molds first, then swirl in half of your strawberry puree between the two cheesecakes as well, using either a skewer, toothpick, or chopstick to create the ripple effect. It’s okay if the cheesecakes don’t 100% fill the ring molds – this is actually preferable, as it will help make pouring the final layer of strawberry puree on the top a much neater and cleaner process actually! Freeze the cheesecakes for at least 1 hour before attempting to pour on the remaining puree on top.

For the remaining puree, reheat it on the stove until it is a fully smooth liquid – don’t be afraid to add 1 to 2 tbsp of water if necessary to help with this. Pour the mixture over the top of the two cheesecakes. Allow the puree to set on top of the cheesecakes, while still in the mold, for another hour before attempting to unmold.

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