Vegan Lemon Cheesecake Tarts {GBBO vegan bake along}

Thursday, October 03, 2019

When I settled down with a cuppa and a biscuit to watch Bake Off Week 4, I was n-e-r-v-o-u-s. Veganising the technical challenges is a daunting task at the best of times but dairy week, I knew would be a massive challenge. As the contestants worked their way through puff pastry, curd cheese and lemon curd, my face dropped as I racked my brain trying to figure out exactly how I was going to tackle these tarts but, low and behold, I did it! Having settled on a cashew cheesecake replacement for curd cheese, I went into this challenge nervous but optimistic and, when I pulled the finished tarts out of the oven, I was nothing short of ecstatic about how well the challenge had gone! I'd actually go so far as to say that these were my most successful Bake Along challenge yet and I can't wait to put my new puff pastry skills to good use in the future!

As always, this Bake Along recipe featured in my #FakeOff series on YouTube so, head over there if you'd like to bake along with me!

You Will Need: 
For the Rough Puff Pastry: 
- 200g plain flour
- Pinch of Salt
- 50g cold, unsalted butter, diced
- 100g unsalted butter, frozen

For the cashew cheesecake:
- 170g Vegan Cream Cheese
- 200g Cashews (soaked overnight) 
- 200ml Almond milk
- 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
- Zest of 2 Lemons 
- 100g Caster Sugar
- 5 Tablespoons Corn Flour

For the Lemon Curd:
- Zest and Juice of 1 Lemon
- 50g Caster Sugar
- 75g Vegan Butter
- 3 Tablespoons Corn Flour
- 50ml Almond Milk

The night before baking, cover your cashews in cold water and place in the fridge to soak overnight – this will just make them easier to blend later on!

Starting with the pastry, mix the flour and salt together and then rub in the chilled butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Gradually add cold water to the flour mixture a few tablespoons at a time until the mixture combines into a dough.

On a floured surface, lightly knead the dough and then roll into a rough rectangle.

Add half of your frozen butter to the bottom half of the rectangle then, fold down the top third, followed by the bottom third, almost like folding a letter.

Rotate the dough and roll into a rectangle again, repeating the process with the other half of your frozen butter. This time, once the dough is folded, place onto a plate and into the fridge to chill for 20 minutes.

Repeat the process of rolling and folding the pastry two more times, leaving in the fridge for 20 minutes each time.

During the rest periods for the pastry, make a start on the cheesecake filling by draining your cashews and adding to your food processor along with the cream cheese, almond milk, lemon zest and maple syrup, blending until smooth.

Once smooth, transfer to a pot, add your cornflour and heat gently until thickened - you're aiming for a similar thickness to a bowl of porridge.

In another pan, put the lemon zest, juice, sugar and butter and heat gently, stirring until the butter has melted. 

Once melted, add your cornflour and remove from the heat, stirring constantly until thickened. 

When the lemon curd has thickened, stir in your almond milk until the mixture is still thick, but also creamy. 

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and, once your pastry has finished chilling, roll out on a floured surface and, using a large cookie cutter or glass, cut out 12 rounds.

Place the rounds into your tray and place a square of baking paper into each pastry case.

To weigh down the pastry, add either baking beans or, if you don't have them, dried pasta, to each pastry round, then blind bake for 20 minutes.

Once blind baked, remove the baking paper and pasta and fill each pastry case with a tablespoon of lemon curd and a tablespoon of cashew filling then place in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes.

Speaking from experience, once baked, allow the tarts to cool before tasting because you will burn your mouth!

Although optional, these tarts taste best when sprinkled with icing sugar and they must be enjoyed alongside your favourite hot drink (which is totally not optional).

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