Recipe by Sarah Phillips; Food styling and photos by Kelly Hong © 7-17-2015 Sarah Phillips CraftyBaking.com
Who said that vegan desserts can’t be delicious AND fun?
We made these little frozen pink ombre treats with fresh strawberries to delight your palate as well as your senses.
Uber creamy from pureed raw cashews and coconut milk, and naturally sweetened to perfection, you won’t miss the cream.
Plus these are also gluten-free!
FROZEN DESSERTS RECIPE HELP / VEGAN / VEGETARIAN RECIPE HELP
When pureeing strawberries in a blender, run on high it for a few seconds at a time instead of letting the blender run continuously until the fruit is pureed. You don't want to bruise and crush the fruit so much that the result is too watery; you want small bits of fruit surrounded by fluffy strawberry pulp as seen at the sides of the blender in the photo, below.
For the vegan cheesecake:
1 1/2 cups raw cashews; soaked in water for at least 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup COLD full fat coconut milk; chilled for at least 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
1 1/2 cups hulled and quartered strawberries; do not make in advance
For the vegan chocolate ganache: recipe alone
7.5 ounces vegan semi-sweet or dark chocolate, chopped
1 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the garnish:
1 cup toasted almonds, finely chopped and sifted
2 Wilton brownie pop pans
16 heavy striped paper straws and/or paper lollipop sticks- If using straws, you will need lollipop sticks to support the pops until they are fully frozen.
Heavy paper straws and lollipop sticks are available at Michael’s Crafts
Natural food coloring, such as Chefmaster
When measuring the coconut milk after chilling, do not shake the can in advance.
1. Spoon off the top 3/4 cup from the can of coconut milk. This will be thick coconut cream.
2. Refrigerate the remainder to use in recipes or smoothies.
Wash, hull and quarter the strawberries right before using, so they do not get mushy and too juicy from sitting in the refrigerator:
After weighing the amount needed in the recipe, chop the chocolate into small, evenly sized pieces:
After measuring and toasting the almonds, finely chop and then shake them in a fine mesh strainer to get rid of any small powdery bits:
STEP I: PREPARE THE CASHEWS - THE NIGHT BEFORE OR AT LEAST 6 HOURS BEFORE USING
The raw cashews have to be soaked in water at least 6 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.
1. Place the raw cashews in a bowl, and cover them with water.
2. Place the bowl of cashews in the refrigerator overnight.
STEP II: MAKE THE VEGAN CHEESECAKE MIXTURE
1. Drain the cashews.
2. In a blender (not a food processor), place the cashews, lemon juice, melted coconut oil, coconut cream, agave and maple syrups, and vanilla.
3. Blend the ingredients on the highest setting for two minutes.
Taste to see if the mixture is smooth, if not, continue to blend until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy.
4. Pour the mixture into a bowl, scraping out the blender with a rubber spatula.
5. Without needing to rinse the blender, place the quartered strawberries into the same blender and puree them until smooth.
6. Taste the strawberries. If they are tart, add some maple syrup to sweeten.
SARAH SAYS: I added 1 tablespoon.
Pour the puree into a small bowl.
STEP III: MAKE THE OMBRE CHEESECAKE POPS
Make the ombre cheesecake colors:
1. To make the ombre cheesecake colors, you will need 3 small bowls to make the 3 different colors of batter:
Bowl #1: Put in 3/4 cup of the cheesecake mixture.
Bowl #2: Put in 1 cup of the cheesecake mixture.
Bowl #3. Put in the remaining mixture.
2. To create the ombre effect, each bowl will have varying amounts of both strawberry puree AND natural food coloring.
Bowl #1: Add 2 tablespoons strawberry puree plus 1 drop natural food coloring
Bowl #2: Add 3 tablespoons strawberry puree and 4 drops natural food coloring
Bowl #3: Add 5 tablespoons strawberry puree and 8 drops natural food coloring
Stir until the color is uniform. When done, cover each bowl with plastic wrap.
NOTE: If you do not want to bother making the ombre pattern, just add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree to the entire bowl of cheesecake mixture, and add the natural food color until the desired shade is reached.
If you want the pops to be solid pink, you can just fill your pans, chill for 1 1/2 hours, then add the straws/sticks.
Freeze overnight, then garnish them with the chocolate and almonds.
Make the ombre cheesecake pops:
1. Lightly spray the brownie pop pans with nonstick spray.
2. Place the two brownie pop pans on a rimmed baking sheet, for stability.
3. Place a SCANT tablespoon (about 3/4 tablespoon) of the cheesecake mixture from bowl #1(the lightest color) into each of the 16 cavities in the brownie pop pans.
Place the pans, on the baking sheet, into the freezer and freeze for 25 minutes.
4. After 25 minutes, remove the pans from the freezer and add one full tablespoon from bowl #2(the medium pink) into each of the cavities.
Freeze for 30 minutes.
5. After 30 minutes, fill each cavity with the mixture from bowl #3.
Place the pans back into the freezer for an hour.
6. After an hour, remove the pans and place a straw/stick in the center of each pop. DO NOT push the straw/stick all the way down to the bottom of the pan.
If the mixture is still not stiff enough to hold the straw upright, place it back into the freezer until it is.
NOTE: I checked on the pops after 30 minutes to make sure that the straws were still upright, and adjusted the ones that has tilted a bit.
7. Place the pops back in the freezer to chill overnight.
STEP IV: MAKE THE VEGAN CHOCOLATE GANACHE AND GARNISH THE VEGAN CHEESECAKE POPS
Make the Vegan Chocolate Ganache the next day:
1. Place the chopped chocoate in a deep heat proof bowl.
2. Heat the coconut milk in a pan or microwave until it just starts to boil around the edges.
3. Pour the hot milk over the chocolate, making sure all of the chocolate is submerged. Then let it sit, undisturbed for two minutes.
4. After two minutes, stir the mixture rapidly with a small whisk, in one direction, until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny.
5. Add the vanilla and stir it in.
Let the ganache cool to room temperature before you dip the pops.
Garnish the Vegan Cheesecake Pops:
1. Take one pan of pops out of the freezer at a time. You MUST work quickly, because if the pops start to thaw, they will mar as you push them out of the mold.
Push out one pop, by pushing up the bottom of the mold.
2. Dip one side of the pop in the ganache, gently tapping off the excess.
Then sprinkle the chocolate with the chopped almonds.
3. If using STRAWS, push a lollipop stick into a piece of Styrofoam, then slide the straw over the stick, to hold the pop upright.
If using STICKS, you can just push the end of the stick into the Styrofoam to support the finished pop.
4. Continue with the rest of the pops in the pan, then rush the Styrofoam holder to the freezer, and freeze the pops for several hours, until they are fully frozen again.
Repeat the process with the second pan of pops.
When the pops are COMPLETELY frozen, store them in the freezer, in a lidded container, with a piece of plastic wrap between each layer.
Store in the freezer up to a week, if they last that long.