My last meal was a gyro at the local diner in New Jersey over thirteen years ago. I don’t remember what the meat tasted like, but I loved the smack of yogurt sauce in the sandwich. It’s been another thirteen years since that meal. I went vegan almost two years ago, after struggling with high cholesterol and a general malaise that I attribute now to the over-abundance of dairy in my diet. So here I am officially beginning my 26th year of life as a happy and healthy vegan. I ended the chaotic year that was age 25 by running my first half-marathon while sick followed by drinks with some friends on my actual birthday. Due to some poor scheduling, I never got to go out and have a piece of cake at one of my favorite places in the city (Curly’s Vegetarian Lunch). I decided to celebrate on my own by making a less traditional dessert to celebrate: a cream cheese tart.
The sweet short paste recipe is easily veganized straight from the book. Simply substitute the butter with your non-dairy substitute (I recommend Earth Balance), and you can choose to use the vegetable shortening or simply add the same quantity of non-dairy butter instead. I don’t keep vegetable shortening on hand, so I substitute each time and have had no issues with the dough.
8″ partially baked pastry shell
Preheat the oven to 375°F
- 1/2lb Toffuti cream cheese
- 1 stick (8tbsp) softened Earth Balance
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 Energ-Egg Replacer eggs, mixed
- Generous pinch of nutmeg
Cream the cheese, Earth Balance, and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add the already mixed Egg Replacer and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly and turn into pastry shell. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The tart will puff and brown while in the oven. I don’t think it will get to a point like the original version where a needle or knife will come out clean. Mine was done in 26 minutes. Let sit and cool. The tart will sink slightly as it cools. The book says that it may be served hot or cold, but when mine came out of the oven it felt jiggly, like a monster was still bubbling under the surface. I recommend letting it cool quite a bit and found that it tastes best served cold out of the fridge.
I have to warn you- mine tasted lemony. I didn’t add any lemon flavor to the tart. Was it the Toffutti? Or the Egg Replacer? I have no idea. It’s not overwhelming, but there is a hint of lemon and I think it’s quite delicious. I am forcing a friend to do a test run to see if it is an issue and if so, I’ll experiment with silken tofu instead of the Egg Replacer. I don’t think that it detracts from the tart, but instead brightens the flavor.