Friday, February 19, 2021


Blueberries are one of those fruits that one would have a difficult time deciding what the best way of enjoying them is. They are marvellous fresh, brilliant in a compote, fantastic in a jam, and of course, delightful in cheesecakes and other desserts.
All adjectives aside, they truly are quite a versatile fruit, and although not typically paired with chocolate, I find that they pair wonderfully with white and extra dark chocolate, especially in this form. Cheesecakes are very adaptable desserts, mainly because their sweet and tangy nature compliments a lot of berries and leaves much room for combining flavours and finding the perfect one.
This cheesecake might come off humble because if its diameter, but there is nothing modest about it. Crumbly chocolate walnut base, rich white chocolate mousse, tangy blueberry jelly, velvety cheesecake layer, and a chocolate topping with a delightful snap.
Whether served chilled or even partially frozen, it pairs perfectly with a glass of white wine and doppio espresso.

For the chocolate walnut base
100 grams vegan chocolate sandwich cookies
100 grams ground toasted walnuts
50 grams vegan block butter, at room temperature
20 millilitres vegan double cream
For the white chocolate mousse
100 grams vegan white chocolate
60 millilitres vegan double cream
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the blueberry gelée layer
150 grams blueberries, fresh or frozen
75 grams light brown sugar
25 grams cornflour
75 millilitres cold water
For the vanilla cheesecake layer
100 grams vegan cream cheese
50 grams icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
100 millilitres vegan double cream
For the dark chocolate topping
100 grams dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
45 grams vegan block butter
20 millilitres vegan double cream

Start by making the white chocolate mousse, as it needs a bit of time to cool down. Chop up the white chocolate finely into a large bowl, pour the cream over it, and place the bowl over a double boiler or a pan of barely simmering water. Keep gently stirring and moving the chocolate and cream until completely melted. Add in the vanilla, and stir it through well. Let the mixture cool down to room temperature, and then place it in the refrigerator for about an hour or so, until completely firm.
Once it is firm, make the base. Finely grind the chocolate cookies, add the ground walnuts, and whisk them together. Add the softened butter and mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated. At that point, the batter will look coarse, even possibly dry, so pour in the cream, and mix and fold until it comes together. It will be soft, but not sticky.
Place a small cake ring (15 cm) on the serving platter and line it with a strip of acetate. Tighten it so it stays in place and add in the cookies and walnut mixture. Press it down as evenly as you can, and set it aside, there is no need to refrigerate it.
Whip the white chocolate and cream until stiff peaks form, and it resembles well-whipped cream. Spread it evenly over the base, and place the platter into the refrigerator.

For the blueberry gelée, place the blueberries into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the sugar, and place it over medium-high heat. Both fresh and frozen blueberries will work well, and if using frozen ones, there is no need to thaw them; just place them into the pan, add sugar, and proceed. While it is heating up, whisk together the cornflour and the cold water in a small bowl. Let the blueberries come to a gentle simmer and bubble away for a few minutes, until they start releasing juice and popping from time to time. Pour in the cornflour and water, and cook, stirring constantly, until the gelée turns very vibrant in colour and the mixture thickens.
Remove from the heat, and transfer it to another bowl, so it cools down quickly. If desired, that bowl can be placed into a bowl of ice water. Stir and fold the gelée mixture as it cools. Once it is cool to the touch, but still soft to spread, remove the cake from the refrigerator, and carefully spread the gelée. This is best done by adding tiny dollops of it all over the surface, and then gently smoothing out. Return the cake to the refrigerator.
To make the cheesecake layer, add the vegan cream cheese into a large bowl, sift in the icing sugar, and mix it together using a spatula. In another bowl, whip the double cream until very soft peaks form. Add in the cream cheese and the vanilla, and whip on high until stiff peaks form. Be careful not to overmix the cream. Once firm, gently spread all over the blueberries, and return the cake into the refrigerator for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
The next day, prepare the dark chocolate topping. Chop up the chocolate and place it into a medium bowl. Pour in the cream, add the butter, and place the bowl over a double boiler or a pan of simmering water. Mix and stir the chocolate until completely melted and smooth. Let it cool down for a minute or two so it does not melt the cheesecake, and generously glaze the top and sides. Once the topping is set, which should take mere minutes, it is ready to be served. Yields 10 servings. © TINA VESIĆ 2021

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